Culture galore – opera, theatre, musicals and dancing

We love travelling and we love culture, just like you do. Our wings miss the opera, theatre performances, musicals, dancing and more. Think about the first city you’ll head to for a cultural adventure when you can travel again. We’ve made a list of places worth dreaming of now and visiting when the world is back on track. Find inspiration and let your imagination take you to those beautiful evenings that make your heart sing with joy.

Vienna, Austria

Classical music lovers most certainly dream of visiting the opera houses of Vienna for a night with Mozart and Johann Strauss. Such figures as Luciano Pavarotti and Maria Callas have walked the stage at the Staatsoper, and even Tom Cruise made an appearance there during a movie shoot. Operas and ballet performances are staged there almost 300 days a year!

The story of the building is a spectacle in itself – it was built in 1869 and is an example of the renaissance architecture. During World War II, the building was bombed; while the renovations were going on, all the bustle was moved to the Volksoper, which still stages operettas and musicals. Those with the keenest eye must watch the film The Living Daylights in anticipation of the trip; it features a very brave James Bond, and the Volksoper building.

Image from the Volksoper website. Georg Soulek

Theater an der Wien will guarantee an unforgettable night; this is where Beethoven’s Fidelio premiered in 1806. After the spectacle, head to Blaue Bar in one of the city’s fanciest hotels. The interior will match your outfit – the walls are covered in navy blue brocade, and the chandeliers are pure crystal. The velvet couch will make you feel like a prima donna!

Image from the Theater an der Wien website. Peter M Mayr

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London, Great Britain

Almost everyone knows that a night at the theatre is a must when in London – this expression of culture is deeply rooted in the hearts of the locals.

The first theatre was built in the second half of the 16th century – the Theatre staged Shakespeare’s plays then. Although the building burned down, the salvaged timber was used to build the Globe Theatre, which now bears Shakespeare’s name. Is there a better place for watching the love story of Romeo and Juliet?

The London Palladium is one of the most famous theatres; many plays are filmed for the television, and Elton John has performed there on numerous occasions.

The Young Vic has a modern vibe – there, innovative and provocative plays are staged. Fans of the classics will love the National Theatre that stages more than 20 spectacular plays and musicals every year in its three halls.

Refreshments or a hearty meal are nearby too – Foyer Cafe serves simple cakes and sandwiches, while the restaurant Afternoon Tea serves food inspired by popular plays – One Man, Sweeney Todd and Amadeus. Make sure to get tickets well in advance, even a year in advance; actually, this is the right moment to make plans!

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Hamburg, Germany

Welcome to the capital of musicals! Although this German city plays second fiddle to New York and London in terms of its love for musicals, choosing just one theatre to attend in Hamburg will be an impossible feat. The concert halls Elbphilharmonie and Laeiszhalle have three things in common: great music, modernity and a common artistic direction.

Here’s a hint for you: kids will love Disney’s musical The Lion King at the Theater im Hafen.

As it is located on a peninsula, getting there on a ferry is an adventure in itself! It has a marvellous view to the city, with lights catching reflections in the water. When 400 artists in bright costumes appear on the stage, almost indistinguishable from real zebras and elephants, even the adults will feel star struck.

Romantic culture aficionados can shed a tear while watching the musical Pretty Woman, which is a story of the unusual couple we first met on cinema screens 30 years ago.

If you only have a few days to spare, you must see The St. Pauli Musical, staged at the Schmidts TIVOLI theatre. It’s located on the main street of the red lights district and is surrounded by cosy cafes and bars, perfect for a drink or two after the performance. Don’t worry about the performance being in German, it’s a feast for the eyes too – 9 actors take on 50 different roles to unfold the story of how people meet at Heiße Ecke bar. Can you imagine the hectic outfit changes? You could spend every night in Hamburg in one of the dark halls, as there’s still Mamma Mia! and the Harry Potter musical to see! What can you do except return for more?

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Madrid, Spain

Seeing this fiery dance makes the heart beat faster and feet move to the rhythm of the music. If you hear a mix of singing, guitar strings and dance steps from afar, head there immediately. The city has the best flamenco schools and the most passionate dancers, so be ready for something special. Make sure to learn the word tablao – this is where flamenco shows take place.

Las Carboneras and Villa-Rosa are fantastic, but Corral de la Moreria is one of the oldest flamenco places – dancing started there in the 50s, and special shows are often hosted after midnight. This spot is so popular that even George Bush, Nicole Kidman and Natalie Portman have visited it.

Cardamomo is located in the very heart of Madrid, and New York Times has named it the best tablao in the city.

Image from the Cardamomo website

A flamenco tour is impossible without a good meal – have some cheese, cured meat and tapas before the show, and don’t forget a glass of wine. The next day, treat yourself to a shopping spree – fashionistas will love the shoe boutiques that sell flamenco-inspired shoes with a hard round toe and a nice heel, and voluminous, bright skirts.

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