The Burgtheater is Europe’s second-oldest extant theater and one of the most important venues for theater in the German-speaking world. Born in 1741 under the instructions of Empress Maria Theresa, the famed venue was home to the first performances of three Mozart operas–as well as Beethoven’s 1st Symphony on April 2, 1800.
The building itself traces its roots back two hundred years earlier, when it was used for games during the reign of Emperor Ferdinand I (1503-1564). While fitted for theatrical productions upon its opening in 1741, it wasn’t until 1743 that major renovation of structure was undertaken to begin to transform the Burgtheater building to the look we know today. Further additions and embellishments would be made starting in the 1770s and continuing through the end of the 18th century. Further revisions would be made in 1870s. Taken in combination, the Burgtheater’s design evolved to keep up with the times and remained ornate and deliciously ostentatious.
Allied bombs leveled much of the Burgtheater in March 1945. A month later, fire destroyed the rest. After the war, the Austrian government began a nationwide program of reconstruction. The Burgtheater was redesigned and rebuilt, careful consideration paid to every detail. The new modern facility recalled the original but was better in many ways.
The Vienna State Opera facility, now beloved by Austrians, had a troubled and controversial start.
Designed by August Sicard von Sicardsburg and his associate Eduard van der Nüll, the ornate renaissance-style building went into production beginning in 1861.
Construction proceeded for eight years but, unfortunately public reaction to building was hostile. Some claimed that Sicardsburg and Nüll’s creation was overshadowed by the nearby Heinrichshof, a massive six-story building erected in 1861-1863. The public’s hostility so depressed Nüll that the 56-year-old architect took his own life by hanging. Two months later, Sicardbsurg succumbed to tuberculosis. Neither man saw the completion of their signature accomplishment.
Those present for the Opera’s opening witnessed the premiere of Mozart’s Don Giovanni.
The Opera would remain a focal point in Viennese nightlife for more than 75 years.
Unfortunately, the grand old building was also not spared from the destructive power of World War II (nor was the adjacent Henrichshof). Allied bombardment razed the structure on the evening of March 12, 1945.
Reconstruction of the Vienna Opera began in earnest in 1950 and, after nearly five years of work, the Vienna State Opera was born anew on November 5, 1955 when enthusiastic audiences lined up for another classic performance, Karl Böhm’s treatment of Beethoven’s Fidelio.
The 2005 Reopening of the Burgtheater 10 Euro Silver Coin celebrates the glorious return of two beloved Austrian institutions. The coin is legal tender in Austria at its face value and was struck in 0.925 silver. This collectible Euro coin was released in three finishes: uncirculated, special uncirculated, and proof.
The special uncirculated version was issued in a limited-edition bi-fold card, which houses the coin in a blister pack. Proofs were issued in numbered editions, contained in a plastic capsule and housed in a burgundy box.
Specifications: Metal: 0.925 Silver | Weight: 17.3 grams | size: 32mm
Designer: Helmut Andexlinger
The façades of the Vienna State Opera (forefront, bottom) and the Burgtheater (recessed, top). The denomination 10 EURO in located on the left adjacent to the rim at the 9 o’clock position. A curved line extending to the left from the opera house divides the date 2005 from the inscription REPUBLIK ÖSTERREICH.
Designer: Herbert Wähner
The masks of Melpomene and Thalia–more simply known as the masks of Comedy and Tragedy. Ribbons flow down from their hair, the artist’s signature “H. WÄHNER” appears on a ribbon closest to the rim on the right. In the background, the rounded stage opening of the Burgtheater, the Gules and Azure tinctures of the Austrian Coat of Arms, which traces its origins back to the time of Duke Frederick II (1211-1246), sits centered at the top. Encircling the top three-quarters of the coin is the inscription WIEDERERÖFFNUNG VON BURG UND OPER 1955.
Coin Distribution and Market Value