The Vienna Volksoper is a major opera house in Vienna, Austria. It produces three hundred performances of twenty-five German language productions during an annual season which runs from September through June.
Volksoper Vienna was built in 1898 as the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater (Kaiser's Jubilee Civic Theatre), originally producing only plays. Because of the very brief construction period (10 months) the first director Adam Müller-Gutenbrunn had to start with debts of 160,000 gulden. After this inauspicious startup the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater had to declare bankruptcy five years later in 1903.
On 1 September 1903 Rainer Simons took over the house and renamed it the Kaiserjubiläum-Stadttheater - Volksoper (public opera). His intention was to continue the production of plays but also establish series of opera and operetta. The first Viennese performances of Tosca and Salome were given at the Volksoper in 1907 and 1910 respectively. World-famous singers such as Maria Jeritza, Leo Slezak and Richard Tauber appeared there; the conductor Alexander Zemlinsky became the first bandmaster in 1906.
In the years up to and through the First World War the Volksoper attained a position as Vienna's second prestige opera house. In 1919, Felix Weingartner became Artistic Director and Principal Conductor. He was followed as Director by Hugo Gruder-Guntram. After 1929, it focused on light opera, and under Gruder-Guntram undertook a number of summer tours to Abbazia in 1935, Cairo and Alexandria in 1937 and throughout Italy in 1938, with guest appearances from Richard Tauber. After the Second World War, the Vienna Volksoper became the alternative venue to the devastated Vienna State Opera. In 1955 the Volksoper returned to its former role of presenting opera, operetta, and musicals.
From September 1991 to June 1996 the Vienna Volksoper was under a collective leadership with the Vienna State Opera. In 1999 the Volksoper became a 100% subsidiary of the Bundestheater-Holding. Since 1 September 2007 Robert Meyer has headed the Volksoper as artistic director together with the business manager Christoph Ladstätter. Each season includes about 25 productions, a total of approximately 300 performances—a performance almost every day. In addition to opera, operetta, musicals and ballet, there are special performances and children's programs.