VIENNA (AFP) — Forget the Three Tenors and the World Cup. Football and opera really don't match, the Vienna State Opera said Tuesday.
While Euro 2008 co-hosts Austria were battling it out Monday evening with arch-rivals Germany in Ernst Happel stadium on the other side of town, audience numbers at the world-famous opera house fell to their lowest level this season, the Wiener Staatsoper said in a statement.
Not because opera lovers preferred to stay at home to watch the match. They were genuinely scared to come into town where they would risk running into the hordes of football fans crowding the city centre, the statement said.
At Monday's performance of Verdi's "La forza del destino" (The Force of Destiny), only 71 percent of seats were filled, a near-disastrous showing for a house that regularly sells up to 99 percent of its seats on most evenings.
Indeed, the opera house said it had even decided to cancel a ballet performance (La Bayadere) scheduled for June 29, the day of the Euro 2008 final in Vienna.
Furthermore, ticket sales were dragging for performances on the days that quarter-finals were being played in the Austrian capital, namely June 20 (Verdi's "La forza del destino") and June 22 (Tchaikovsky's "Pique Dame"), with tickets still available in all categories, from 10-178 euros (15-275 dollars), the State Opera said.
In the run-up to the Euro 2008 soccer championships being held in Switzerland and Austria, the State Opera had predicted that performances were unlikely to be affected, since opera-goers were not interested in football.
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