Concierge.com's insider take:
Few cities can rival Vienna's crammed calendar of operas, concerts, and plays, its network of historic theaters, or the dedication of its fans. Tickets to any of the season's prime operas, concerts, and plays can be hard to come by: Bargains are rare, and you should nab your opera tickets as soon as the Staatsoper's calendar goes online (www.staatsoper.at). But reduced same-day tickets do go on sale at each theater's box office, usually an hour before the performance.
The neo-classical Musikverein is one of the world's acoustical marvels. Ionic columns and a sandstone facade grace the outside, while the interior features a fantasia of golden caryatids. The greatest international orchestras, chamber musicians, and soloists perform here nightly, and the Vienna Philharmonic's Sunday morning concert is a pillar of Viennese social life (6 Karlsplatz; 43-1505-8190; www.musikverein.at). Less formal but just as popular is the Volksoper Wien in the ninth district, which is known for its productions of traditional Viennese operetta, light opera, and musicals (78 Währingerstrasse; 43-1514-4430; www.volksoper.at). The city's truest musical showpiece, though, is the Baroque Staatsoper, and for many the Vienna State Opera is reason enough to visit the city. Some 50 operas are performed here per season—far more than any other opera company in the world. It also hosts the Vienna Opera Ball, a highlight of the Viennese ball season (2 Opernring; 43-15144-42280; www.wiener-staatsoper.at).
Established in 1741, the Burgtheater offers world-class, German-language productions of contemporary plays, Shakespeare, and experimental theater. As a bonus, the entrance-hall ceilings were painted by Gustav Klimt, and you can grab a drink or dinner at Vestibül on the left side of the theater—once the emperor's marble coatroom and now an ambitious restaurant featuring Austrian cuisine (2 Dr. Karl-Lueger-Ring; 43-15144-44140; www.burgtheater.at). For English-language productions, try the International Theatre Vienna, a robust and versatile company of 12 actors. Previous productions have included classics by Eugene O'Neill, George Bernard Shaw, and Tennessee Williams (8 Porzellangasse; 43-1319-6272; www.internationaltheatre.at).