Zurich Opera House: What goes on behind the scenes

posted on | updated on | by Zuri Girl

opera house awards night 1 copyZuri Girl was given the unique privilege to tour behind the scenes at the Opernhaus Zürich (Zurich Opera House) and so can you during their Open Day in September. Here are some unique facts that we found out about the opera house. We’re sure there is plenty more to discover while watching ballerinas practice, listening to the Zurich philharmonic, or watching the technic show during Open Day.

A member of the opera house team said it best, “Opera is the soul on stage” and therefore has many aspects (music, sets, performers, orchestra, etc.) to coordinate compared to other kinds of performances.

Check out our unique facts and go behind the scenes yourself on September 12th, a franc savvy free day to see Opera House performances, costumes, make up artists and more…there’s fun kids activities too.

Enjoy gals!


Unique Fact #1: They plan ahead – like way ahead! The 2020 season is currently being worked on. First they schedule in world renowned star performers and then work other performances and special talks or workshops around that schedule. The opera house sets annual goals on how many new and “revival” shows they want to run. “Revivals” are past performances they store in their warehouse and reuse from time to time.

Zuri Girl Inside Scoop: There are over 20 complete revival sets (including plastic trees and robot chickens) at the opera’s warehouse in Oerlikon.

Unique Fact #2: Sets for new shows began to be built one year in advance. Before rehearsals begin, employees of the opera are invited to attend a concept presentation of the show. It’s here that the leading team explains more about the idea behind the production, to show the costumes, stage design, etc. Sets are installed three weeks before shows start to allow for on stage rehearsals. That’s a lot of prep time for just 8-11 shows of a single performance!

Unique Fact #3: Auditions are held when there is an opening based on the needs of the upcoming performances and the opera house has their own singing ensemble, ballet and junior ballet companies, junior opera companies (International Opera Studio), and orchestra (Philharmonia Zürich) and orchestra academy. Performers often join the junior company/academy before having the chance to earn a spot in the official company/academy. Because of the international background of performers, the working language is English.


Ashley_Set-Sails-150x150Article Contributed by Zuri Girl Ashley…Ashley regularly contributes fun and insightful articles about life in Switzerland. She might even know more about the country than her Swiss husband! Ashley splits her working life between an international school and Set Sails Media. In her spare time this California native likes to stay active by going to the gym, sewing, traveling, and cooking with/for friends. She also can’t say no to a good book.