The Austrian Theater Museum is found in the delightfully Baroque Lobkowitz Palace, steps away from the Schloss Schönbrunn, and is part of the Kunsthistorischen museums complex. Dating from the late 1690s, the Lobkowitz was one of the first urban palaces built in Vienna after the Imperial Family made the city its main home. It was here that Beethoven premiered his ‘Third Symphony’ and here that many glittering society balls were held over the years.
During its Imperial years, Vienna was packed with theaters, many of which – such as the Burgtheater and the Volkstheater – are still going strong. Being avid collectors of just about anything, the Habsburg emperors began to hoard theater artifacts back in the 18th century. Today these are artfully brought together among the gilt, stucco and delicate ceiling frescoes of the Lobkowitz Palace; an unrivalled collection of hundreds of stage sets, props and costumes from across three centuries as well as more than 70,000 theatrical images dating from the early 20th century onwards. Great names such as Oskar Kokoschka and Pablo Picasso had a hand in designing some of the costumes, there are flyers for concerts played in 1713 and autographs from famous musicians such as Wagner, Strauss, Mähler and of course, Beethoven.
Classical concerts are held in the Eroica Hall and summer sees the cultural action move outside to the courtyard of the Lobkowitz Palace; tickets for these events always sell out fast so book well ahead of time.