When the burghers of Berlin took the audacious step, over a century ago, of founding the Deutsche Oper in Charlottenburg, then a city just outside Berlin, the move was tantamount to a cultural revolution. This opera house of their own, expressly dedicated to the thoroughly modern musical theatre of Richard Wagner, was conceived as a stark antidote to the venerable Hofoper Unter den Linden. Moreover, the venue on Bismarckstrasse not only accommodated more than 2,000 operagoers, making it the biggest theatre in or around Berlin, but also dispensed with individual boxes, following the precept of a “democratic” opera house that could boast unobstructed lines of sight to the stage from every corner of the auditorium. This tradition of a no-frills citizens’ opera was retained by Fritz Bornemann, whose reincarnated opera house opened in 1961. The excellent views and acoustics continue to provide the setting for exceptional experiences to be had by almost 2,000 opera enthusiasts on any given evening. The elegant and spacious foyers, too, today the subject of a resurgent architectural interest, have never ceased to be one of Berlin’s key cultural backdrops for gatherings and meet-ups.
Directors of the stature of Götz Friedrich and Hans Neuenfels, conductors of the likes of Ferenc Fricsay, Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christian Thielemann, and legendary singers such as Dietrich-Fischer¬Dieskau, Christa Ludwig and Julia Varady have all left their mark on the opera house and contributed to the international standing of the Deutsche Oper. And this tradition of supreme quality continues to this day, with global stars and a top-notch ensemble performing works from a bulging repertoire of masterpieces. Modern treatments of great classics ranging from Mozart to Strauss and Puccini via Verdi and Wagner feature no less prominently on the programme than contemporary works of opera, which have included Helmut Lachenmann’s “The Little Match Girl”, Iannis Xenakis’ “Oresteia”, Aribert Reimann’s “L’Invisible” and Detlev Glanert’s multi award-winning “Oceane”. The orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, under the baton of its General Music Director Donald Runnicles, is one of the leading ensembles in the country and has performed in the Philharmonie as part of Musikfest Berlin, in gala concerts at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival. The much-vaunted chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin has been voted “Chorus of the Year” on a number of occasions.
Productions encompass such diverse works as a classical, naturalistic 1969 version of “Tosca”, “Rienzi” with an auteur’s touch, using video technology (dir.: Philipp Stölzl) and Ole Anders Tandberg’s “Carmen” or Claus Guth’s “Salome”, both of which reflect recent developments in theatre. Alongside established directors like Claus Guth, Christof Loy and Graham Vick, the Deutsche Oper Berlin is also airing productions by a new generation of directors that have included the hotly debated and hugely applauded “Aida” by Benedikt von Peter and Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio”, which was Argentinian Rodrigo García’s musical-theatre debut. And with work well underway on a brand-new production of THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG, General Music Director Donald Runnicles and Stefan Herheim, one of the most exciting directors of musical theatre operating today, are looking to live up to expectations.
Inaugurated in November 2012, the Deutsche Oper’s TISCHLEREI performance space is the ideal setting for experimentation with new forms of musical theatre, world premieres, contemporary reworkings of historical works, regular collaborations with the Hanns Eisler School of Music for the NEW SCENES series, children’s opera and projects by the youth section, which are a special focus for Artistic Director Dietmar Schwarz.
Deutsche Oper Berlin
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