Zurich Opera House

Opernhaus Zürich (Zurich Opera House) is an opera house in the Swiss city of Zurich. It has been the home of the Zurich Opera since 1891.


The first permanent theatre, the Aktientheater, was built in 1834 and it became the focus of Richard Wagner’s activities during his period of "exile" from Germany.

The Aktientheater burnt down in 1890, and the company then moved to the re-built theatre, named the Stadttheater Zurich. Existing as the city’s main performance space for drama, opera, and musical events until 1925, this theatre was renamed as the Opernhaus Zürich and a separate playhouse was built.

By the 1970s, the Opernhaus was badly in need of major renovations; when some considered it not worth restoring, a new theatre was proposed for the site. However, between 1982 and 1984, rebuilding took place but not without huge local opposition which was expressed in street riots. The rebuilt theatre was inaugurated with Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and the world première of Rudolf Kelterborn’s Chekhov opera Der Kirschgarten.

As restored, the theatre is an ornate building with a neo-classical façade of white and grey stone adorned with busts of Weber, Wagner, and Mozart. Additionally, busts of Schiller, Shakespeare, and Goethe are to be found. The auditorium is built in the rococo style and seats approximately 1200 people.

Building Activity

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