The history of Zurich Opera House begins with the “Actien-Theater” (shares theatre), which opened in 1834 with Mozart’s “Zauberflöte”.
Zurich’s first permanent theatre, it was established in the form of a joint stock company by theatre-loving citizens. The joint stock company (today known as Opernhaus Zürich AG) still runs the institution, and celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2009. The Canton of Zurich has been the main subsidiser since 1995. The old “Actien-Theater” burnt down in 1890 and was replaced by a new building designed by Fellner and Helmer.
This theatre, located not far from Bellevue on Lake Zurich, was financed almost entirely by private means. It was inaugurated with Wagner’s “Lohengrin” under the name of “Stadttheater” (town theatre) in 1891. Musical theatre and drama have gone their separate ways in Zurich since 1921. The old “Stadttheater” has been known as the Opera House since 1964. Now with a seating capacity for approximately 1,100, the theatre was renovated entirely between 1982 and 1984, and an extension was added on Uto-Quai to accommodate a second, studio stage.
In 1985 the opera orchestra was separated from the Tonhalle Orchestra, thus bringing the Zurich Opera Orchestra into being. Zurich Opera has had its own baroque ensemble (“La Scintilla”) since 1995, formed by members of the opera orchestra.