This beautiful building from the early 18th century continues a long musical association that dates back to the days of Mozart and beyond; Palais Auersperg is one of Vienna’s Baroque jewels.
- Originally built in 1710
- Prestigious event location for balls, congresses, etc.
- A venue for classical concerts over 230 years after new works by Mozart played there
- See also:
A baroque palace
(Queueing for a concert)
Palais Auersperg began life around 1710 as Palais Rofrano. The change in name came about toward the end of the same century following the building’s purchase by Prince Johann Adam Auersperg.
At one point, the palais fell into disrepair, but we can thank a former owner for a massive refurbishment effort.
Coffee magnate Alfred Weiss (subject of a 2022/2023 exhibition at the Jewish Museum) bought the premises in the mid-1900s and had them turned back into an architectural delight and society hotspot.
Today, the palais is one of many gorgeous historical buildings in Vienna not open to the public as such. Instead, it’s a prestigious private event location used for congresses, fairs, balls, galas and more, including regular classical concerts.
(Palais Rofrano as Palais Auersperg was then known, around 1725; Salomon Kleiner (drawer), Johann August Corvinus (copper engraver), Johann Andreas d. Ä. Pfeffel (publisher); Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 15694; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
Mozart, Gluck, and WWII
Like many city townhouses, Palais Auersperg played its part in Austrian history.
Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth danced here, for example, and one of the leading groups in the Austrian freedom fighter movement met inside as World War II drew to a close.
On the music side, a former occupant – Field Marshall Joseph von Sachsen-Hildburghausen (1702 – 1787) – was a patron of Christoph Willibald Gluck.
The Field Marshall employed Gluck as Kapellmeister (musical director) for several years. And we know that in 1786, for example, Palais Auersperg hosted at least one performance of Mozart’s opera, Idomeneo.
We can’t be sure, but it seems very likely that Mozart would have graced the occasion with his presence. It’s more certain, however, that he made alterations to the work specifically for the palais production.
Those were the days when formal concert venues like the Musikverein did not exist. Instead, musical performances often took place in the private homes of the rich and aristocratic. A little like Beyoncé penning a new song and then turning up at your house to give a rendition.
The Mozart connection continues today: one of the event rooms bears the name, Idomeneo Saal, and (at the time of writing) the Vienna Residence Orchestra often performs there.
They also say one of the main characters in Richard Strauss’s opera, Der Rosenkavalier, took its inspiration from the family who first built Palais Auersperg. Another event room – the Rosenkavaliersaal – pays tribute with its name.
How to find Palais Auersperg
Subway: the nearest station is Volkstheater on the U2 and U3 lines. Take the station exit leading away from the city centre and walk up Museumstraße
Tram/bus: the Auerspergstraße tram stop sits more or less at one end of the building and is served by the 46 tram line.
Address: Auerspergstraße 1, 1080 Vienna | Website