Sometimes the “touristy” thing to do is more authentic than you might think, particularly when it comes to a concert at Schönbrunn Palace.
Historically, the nobility and aristocracy often put on musical events for private audiences in their Vienna palaces. This was certainly the case at the summer home to the Habsburg imperial family. And one enterprising company has reestablished this concert tradition.
- Historic 18th-century venues in the orangery or palace itself
- Typically performances of the best of Strauss and Mozart
- Other classical entertainment may be available, too
- See also: Other concert venues | Schönbrunn tickets and visitor info
The concert venue
(Johann Hieronymus Löschenkohl (publishing house); A spring party on a winter’s day in the Schönbrunn Orangerie on February 6th, 1785; Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 179092, reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
Sometime in the mid-18th century, someone decided that what the massive Habsburg summer palace needed was a place to grow oranges (we’ve all felt the same at one time or another).
And so they built the Schönbrunn orangery.
This was no small greenhouse, either, with its glassed arches stretching along a length of 189m (and 10m wide). Given the beautiful vaulted interior and warmth, the Orangerie also made a wonderful venue to hold parties.
Of course, your average imperial party needed music. Mozart’s opera The Impresario (German: Der Schauspieldirektor) premiered, for example, at one such festivity under Emperor Joseph II in 1786.
Well over 200 years later, and Mozart’s music drifts across the (fully-restored) orangery once again.
Concerts feature highlights from his repertoire of operatic and other compositions, combined with the best that Strauss has to offer…all performed by the Schönbrunn orchestra or ensemble and accompanied by singers and ballet dancers.
Given the special times we are living through, the organisers recently switched to a broader repertoire. At the time of writing, you have a choice between a Mozart/Strauss option or an evening of more traditional Viennese music.
Most concerts take place in the Orangerie. In the past, though, they’ve held the occasional special concert in the palace proper – in the Great Gallery (once used for Imperial balls) or one of the White-and-Gold rooms (not normally accessible to casual visitors).
Indeed, the organisers recently announced that all July 2021 concerts will be in the Great Gallery, with a return to the Orangerie from August.
Tickets & visitor tips
Tickets and packages for the Schönbrunn concerts are available, for example, online from the official website (see below) or specialists like Tiqets*.
Schönbrunn does have another concert option, which happens to be free to attend. Unfortunately, the summer night concert by the world-famous Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra only takes place once a year.
The Schönbrunn complex offers, of course, much more than just a concert venue. Consider the palace tour (pick the Grand alternative), the gardens and park, the zoo and a whole host of other sights and entertainments…even one of my favourite stops for refreshments. You can make a day of it there.
How to get to Schönbrunn
See the detailed article on How to get to Schönbrunn. Reaching the orangery is very easy.
Once you leave the subway at the U4 station called Schönbrunn (the clue is in the name), take the western exit, which is the direction of the train if you’re coming from the centre of town. You come out pretty much opposite the orangery entrance.
Address: Schönbrunner Schlossstraße 47, 1130 Vienna | Website (for concerts)