Emotional music is her elixir of life. Otherwise the 89 year old Cuban Omara Portuondo wouldn't have the hardships of intercontinental flights next to her. In summer the time has finally come again: the greatest interpreter of the Cuban genre "Filin" (feeling) will finally guest again at the Vienna State Opera as part of her farewell tour, where she last performed with the pianist Chucho Valdes in 2011.


Portuondo's art is all on the blowing side of Cuban music. This also includes the highly melancholic boleros, which bear witness to the aberrations of the "Alma Sensual". Portuondo has preserved her sensitive soul into old age. It still happens to her that she is so touched when she sings that she bursts into tears. This could already be observed in Vienna with wonderful sentimental songs like "Esta Tarde Vi Llover" or "Dos Gardenias".


Born in Havana in 1930, the singer began her career in 1945 at the famous Club Tropicana, initially as a dancer. In 1952 she founded the Cuarteto las d´Aida with her sister Haydee and two other colleagues. For the first time she tasted the supra-regional success. In the USA they toured together with Crooner Nat King Cole. In 1959 Omara Portuondo recorded her first solo album with "Magia Negra". While her sister Haydee emigrated to the USA, Omara stayed in Cuba. As a regime-loyal artist she could also travel all over the world during the reign of Fidel Castro.


This was especially necessary from 1997 onwards. At that time, Omara Portuondo was the only woman to take part in the worldwide success "Buena Vista Social Club" produced by Ry Cooder. With late albums like "Flor De Amor" (2004) and "Gracias" (2008) she proved what a sensitive singer she is even in her advanced age. In 2009 she received her first and only Grammy. Even at an advanced age Omara Portuondo communicates the possibilities of melancholy with virtuosity.


Program and cast

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July 2019

Vienna State Opera

Public Transport

Subway lines: U1, U2, U4
Trams: 1, 2, D, J, 62, 65
Buses: 59A
Local Railway: Badner Bahn
Stops: Karlsplatz / Opera

Taxi stands are available nearby.


Parking is only € 6, - for eight hours!

The Wiener Staatsoper and the ÖPARK Kärntner Ring Garage on Mahlerstraße 8, under the “Ringstraßengalerien”, offer the patrons of the Vienna State Opera a new, reduced parking fee. You can park in the Kärntner Ring Garage for up to 8 hours and pay only a flat fee of € 6, -. Just validate your ticket at one of the discount machines inside the Wiener Staatsoper. The normal rate will be charged for parking time greater than 8 hours. The validation machines can be found at the following coat checks: Operngasse, Herbert von Karajan-Platz, and the right and left and balcony galleries.

Important: In order to get the discount, please draw a ticket and do not use your credit card when entering the garage!

After devaluing your ticket in the Wiener Staatsoper you can pay comfortably by credit card or cash at the vending machines.

The machines accept coins and bills up to 50.- Euro. Parking time longer than 8 hours will be charged at the normal rate.


The structure of the opera house was planned by the Viennese architect August Sicard von Sicardsburg, while the inside was designed by interior decorator Eduard van der Nüll. It was also impacted by other major artists such as Moritz von Schwind, who painted the frescoes in the foyer, and the famous "Zauberflöten" (“Magic Flute”) series of frescoes on the veranda. Neither of the architects survived to see the opening of ‘their’ opera house: the sensitive van der Nüll committed suicide, and his friend Sicardsburg died of a stroke soon afterwards.


On May 25, 1869, the opera house solemnly opened with Mozart's Don Giovanni in the presence of Emperor Franz Joseph and Empress Elisabeth.
The popularity of the building grew under the artistic influence of the first directors: Franz von Dingelstedt, Johann Herbeck, Franz Jauner, and Wilhelm Jahn. The Vienna opera experienced its first high point under the direction of Gustav Mahler. He completely transformed the outdated performance system, increased the precision and timing of the performances, and also utilized the experience of other noteworthy artists, such as Alfred Roller, for the formation of new stage aesthetics.


The years 1938 to 1945 were a dark chapter in the history of the opera house. Under the Nazis, many members of the house were driven out, pursued, and killed, and many works were not allowed to be played.


On March 12, 1945, the opera house was devastated during a bombing, but on May 1, 1945, the “State Opera in the Volksoper” opened with a performance of Mozart's THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO. On October 6, 1945, the hastily restored “Theaters an der Wien” reopened with Beethoven's FIDELIO. For the next ten years the Vienna State Opera operated in two venues while the true headquarters was being rebuilt at a great expense.


The Secretary of State for Public Works, Julius Raab, announced on May 24, 1945, that reconstruction of the Vienna State Opera would begin immediately. Only the main facade, the grand staircase, and the Schwind Foyer had been spared from the bombs. On November 5, 1955, the Vienna State Opera reopened with a new auditorium and modernized technology. Under the direction of Karl Böhm, Beethoven’s FIDELIO was brilliantly performed, and the opening ceremonies were broadcast by Austrian television. The whole world understood that life was beginning again for this country that had just regained its independence.


Today, the Vienna State Opera is considered one of the most important opera houses in the world; in particular, it is the house with the largest repertoire. It has been under the direction of Dominique Meyer since September 1, 2010.

© Bwag/Commons
© Omara Portuondo
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