Vienna State Opera Debuts Revamped Subtitle System

By David Salazar

The Vienna State Opera is ramping up its customer service policy by offering now one or two subtitled languages for its productions, but a whopping six.

Instead of just English and German, the company will also be offering Russian, Japanese, Italian, and French.

“For several reasons, after 16 years it was necessary to replace the subtitle system commissioned in September 2001,” said the company in a press release.

The system far exceeds what most other opera houses are offering these days. The Metropolitan Opera recently revamped its system to include English, German, and Spanish. Audiences get Italian for operas of that language, though there are no offerings for Russian or French operas, and much less any Japanese.

Most other opera houses don’t even have individualized subtitle systems, forcing audiences to read subtitles in the country’s native language above the stage. This is the case in such houses as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden where audiences can follow the libretto in English above the stage.

The new system will go into effect today when the company opens its season with “Il Trovatore” starring Yusif Eyvazov and María José Siri as Manrico and Leonora.