The Theater an der Wien was completed in 1801. It has hosted the premieres of many celebrated works of theatre, opera, and symphonic music. Since 2006, it has served primarily as an opera house, hosting its own company.
The theatre was the brainchild of the Viennese theatrical impresario Emanuel Schikaneder, who is best known as Mozart’s librettist and collaborator on the opera The Magic Flute (1791).
From 1945 to 1955, it was one of the temporary homes of the Vienna State Opera, whose own building had been destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II. However, in 1955, the theatre was closed for safety reasons. It languished unused for several years, and by the early 1960s, the threat had emerged that it would be converted to a parking garage.
Despite its focus on operettas and musicals, the theatre still served as a venue for occasional opera productions, especially during the Vienna Festival seasons, and sometimes co-produced with the Vienna State Opera.