Zürich Opera House Tour

It’s hard to miss the Zürich Opera IMG_1195House. One has unobstructed views of it from Sechseläutenplatz or from the lake. Of the grand World Opera Houses, this one is the smallest, seating around 1,100.

This particular building was constructed in 1890-91 on the same spot where the previous theater had burned to the ground in 1889 on New Year’s Eve. Until 1964 it was called the Stadttheater (City Theater), and even though it is the opera house, it showcases ballet, theater, and concerts, as well, with over 340 events per year.

The foyer is a bright rococo and though it looks expensive, the statues are plaster, and the marble on the walls is painted on.

The theater itself is lovely, and we got this view from the stage (skirting the many people working).

On the day of our tour, we saw many, many people working throughout the building, on stage, in the props room, costumes, making us a rather intrusive group, but the people there seemed to think this was pretty usual.

Here is the hat-making room


We were not allowed to photograph anything relating to an upcoming show, but in the costume room (where women were sewing by hand and machine for the 300 costumes required for each opera), but I took this photo of a collage of a past show.


This young woman was just finishing up her apprenticeship in the furniture department. It’s tough work!


Some of the props in a hallway


You can’t even begin to imagine all the shoes! In fact, there are so many costumes that they store many of them off-site, and once a year or so they have a sale to make room for more costumes.


After seeing what it takes to create a production, one begins to understand why tickets cost so much.

Toi, toi, toi! (Pronounced “toy”) Means Good Luck before a show.



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