German Opera Berlin

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German Opera Berlin
German Opera Berlin.  View from the southeast.jpg
Address: Bismarckstrasse 34-37
City: Berlin-Charlottenburg
Coordinates: 52 ° 30 '46 "  N , 13 ° 18' 30"  E Coordinates: 52 ° 30 '46 "  N , 13 ° 18' 30"  E
Architecture and history
Construction time: 1911-1913
Opened: 1913/1961
Spectator: 1865 places
Architects: Heinrich SeelingFritz Bornemann
Internet presence:

The Deutsche Oper Berlin is the largest of the three opera houses in Berlin . The building at Bismarckstrasse  34–37 in Charlottenburg was opened in 1961 and was a replacement for the Deutsche Oper, which was destroyed in 1943 at the same location in World War II . The Charlottenburger Haus is one of the largest theaters in Germany with 1859 seats .

Together with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden , the Komische Oper , the Staatsballett and the Bühnenservice Berlin, the Deutsche Oper forms the Opera Foundation in Berlin .



German Opera House, 1912
German Opera House, 1936

The initiative for the establishment went back to middle-class circles in the then independent Charlottenburg. As the economic pillar of the state and intellectual pioneers, the residents of the richest city in Prussia wanted an opera house "for themselves" as an alternative to the "frozen" stage of the court opera Unter den Linden .

From 1911 to 1912 the city of Charlottenburg built the German Opera House according to plans by Heinrich Seeling and opened it on November 7, 1912 with Ludwig van Beethoven's Fidelio under the direction of Ignatz Waghalter . With the law on the formation of a new urban community Berlin ( Greater Berlin Law ), Charlottenburg became part of the capital of the Reich in 1920 and the house, which had over 2,300 seats, was renamed the Städtische Oper .

National Socialism and World War II

In 1934, during the Nazi era, the Charlottenburg House, renamed Deutsches Opernhaus, passed into the possession of the Reich and was therefore subject to the Reich Ministry for Public Enlightenment and Propaganda of Joseph Goebbels . As Prime Minister of the Free State of Prussia , on the other hand, Hermann Göring directed the Unter den Linden State Opera , with the houses sometimes competing on behalf of their employers. Under the direction of Paul Baumgarten , a conversion to 2098 seats was carried out in 1935 and, contrary to the original design, a “driver's box” was created with a class-independent auditorium. After the house was destroyed on November 23, 1943, the performances took place in the Admiralspalast in Berlin-Mitte until autumn 1944 .

During the time of National Socialism , the house next to the Bayreuth Festival Hall was considered to be the representative stage of the Nazi regime. As early as the spring of 1933 on the birthday of the artistic director Max von Schillings , the opera books said: “We could pack up, if it wasn't possible, at a place where it was possible to make products of the most alien art Bolshevism palatable to a receptive, influenceable bourgeois audience to naturalize values ​​of a purer, German character again. "

The long-time director Carl Ebert, the conductors Fritz Stiedry and Paul Breisach , and z. B. the singer Alexander Kipnis was driven from the house. After Schillings' death in July 1933, Wilhelm Rode , hero baritone of the house since 1926, was his successor. One played “pleasant works”, that is Wagner , Lortzing , Kienzl etc. Contemporary composers like Weill or “foreign” composers like Offenbach and Meyerbeer were no longer “in demand”.

Staging was suspicious in itself - there was dramaturgy and arrangements. Benno von Arent was often responsible for the equipment . It was about being true to nature down to the smallest sheet of cardboard. Hans Sachs sang under buzzers and the Meistersinger Festival came straight from a Leni Riefenstahl film . Siegfried rode up on horseback, on his shield the (S) S - Rune . After all, with a Traviata 1935 one hesitantly continued on the path of the director's theater .

In the middle of the Second World War , the director Rode was replaced by the successful Hamburg conductor Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt in the summer of 1943 . With Günther Rennert and Leopold Ludwig , he brought two young artists into his management team who already point to the artistic departure of post-war theater. In the increasing turmoil and destruction of the war, however, her work hardly found any resonance. Così fan tutte was Rennert's first director in autumn 1943 - it was rated as “easy, funny, imaginative”. Two weeks later, on November 23, 1943, the house was bombed , and shortly afterwards all theaters were closed by the regime.

Post-war until today

Berlin special stamp from 1965

After the end of the war, the Städtische Oper again used the building of the Theater des Westens near the Berlin Zoo station as the Städtisches Opernhaus Berlin for performances , until the new building with 1865 seats built by Fritz Bornemann from 1957 to 1961 on September 24, 1961 with Mozart's Don Giovanni could be opened; the new building had cost 27.5 million marks (adjusted for purchasing power in today's currency: around 62.5 million euros). In 1961, at the suggestion of Ferenc Fricsay, as a reaction to the building of the wall , the name was changed to the current name Deutsche Oper Berlin . In 1959 the municipal opera was awarded the German Critics' Prize.

In the period from the opening of the new building, the Deutsche Oper, contrary to its original purpose, grew into the role of the representative house of the State of Berlin (West), as the State Opera Unter den Linden, which traditionally played this role in Berlin, including the eastern part Berlin and the GDR were sealed off.

In order to avoid confusion with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the opera house Unter den Linden was given its pre-war name Staatsoper Unter den Linden again after German reunification in the 1990s . During the GDR era it was renamed the German State Opera for the first time in order to underline the importance of the GDR as an independent German state.

On the initiative of Götz Friedrich in 1986 in New York , the Foundation The American Berlin Opera Foundation founded.

Idomeneo controversy 2006

The decision to cancel a resumption of the production of Mozart's Idomeneo (directed by Hans Neuenfels ), which was planned for November 2006, met with a strong response, even beyond those interested in opera . In it, as an aftermath added by the director at the end of the opera, the severed head of the Islamic prophet Mohammed (next to the bloody heads of Jesus , Buddhas and Poseidon ) was shown to make it clear that the submission of man by and in religions must be overcome ( with which Neuenfels, however, took over the figure perspective of Idomeneos, who repeatedly complained throughout the entire opera to Neptune's rigorous demand for a promise). The reason for the dismissal were concerns with the Berlin Senator for the Interior and the State Criminal Police Office . They considered "violent actions" possible, which they pointed out to the directors. The then Federal Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble , intervened and found the dismissal to be unacceptable, what was freedom of expression worth if it had to be restricted out of fear. So argued other politicians. If concern about protests “leads to self-censorship”, free speech is in danger, said the then Minister of State for Culture Bernd Neumann . Art and media have to name opposites in a society. This requires tolerance "also towards uncomfortable opinions". After criticism of the dismissal from culture and politics, the warning was relativized and the production was staged again in December 2006.

Water disaster 2017

On the morning of December 24, 2017, the water spray extinguishing system completely flooded the main stage of the Deutsche Oper. The water damage affected the upper and lower machinery, lighting technology as well as communication and data technology. For this reason, the planned opera and ballet performances on December 25, 26 and 27, 2017 had to be canceled. From December 28, 2017, the performances ran again according to the schedule, some productions were still presented in a scenically adapted manner due to the given technical restrictions. The stage technology can be fully used again since the beginning of the 2018/2019 season.

Artistic profile

With 1859 seats, the Deutsche Oper Berlin is by far the largest opera house in Berlin today. It alone offers around 42 percent of the seats in the three Berlin opera houses. This is why the house with its opera performances has the most visitors, in 2017 a total of 241,000, of the three Berlin opera houses.

The task of the Deutsche Oper Berlin is therefore to maintain the “great” repertoire of the 19th century with key points such as Richard Strauss , Richard Wagner , Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi . In the past, this is where the great directing successes of Götz Friedrich , Hans Neuenfels , Achim Freyer and in recent years such as B. The Mastersingers of Nuremberg and Tristan and Isolde by Richard Wagner. The successful rediscoveries at the Deutsche Oper in the last few seasons included u. a. Scenes from the life of St. Johanna by Walter Braunfels and Colonel Chabert by Hermann Wolfgang von Waltershausen , The Miracle of Heliane by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Il viaggio a Reims by Gioachino Rossini .

The Charlottenburg Opera Orchestra is praised above all for its special versatility and its Wagnerian play, which is why the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper is one of the largest sources of recruitment for the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra . In the house on Bismarckstrasse, Richard Wagner's Parsifal had its German premiere outside Bayreuth in 1914 after the term of protection had expired . Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen in the production by Götz Friedrich is regarded as an epoch-making directorial work.

The house is also closely associated with the Bayreuth Wagner Festival. Festival director Katharina Wagner staged Giacomo Puccini's Ilertrico at the Deutsche Oper Berlin . And: if the Wagner family does not agree on the replacement of the head of the Bayreuth Festival, the Board of Trustees of the Festival has to consult a council of opera directors according to its statutes, and first of all the director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. General Music Director Donald Runnicles continues this tradition as a Wagner and Strauss specialist (also experienced in Bayreuth).

The house is also committed to the work of Hans Werner Henze , of whom numerous works have been performed and premiered here. Last but not least, maintaining the repertoire of Leoš Janáček is of great importance to the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Some of the recordings made by the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper are considered “reference recordings”. a. Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg under Eugen Jochum with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau , Catarina Ligendza , Christa Ludwig , Plácido Domingo ; Verdi's Macbeth under Giuseppe Sinopoli with Renato Bruson , Mara Zampieri, James Morris and Orff's Carmina Burana under Eugen Jochum with Gundula Janowitz and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

The choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin has also recently made a name for itself. Three times in a row, in 2008, 2009 and 2010, the ensemble won the title "Choir of the Year", which the magazine opernwelt awards through a survey of leading critics. In 2012 the choir was awarded the European Choir Prize of the European Cultural Foundation “Pro Europa”. The ensemble's success was also attributed to the continuous work of the first choir director William Spaulding, who had been in office since the 2007/2008 season. Since February 2012 the former Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker has been an honorary member of the choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

The artistic director of Kirsten Harms from 2004 to 2011 relied on the rediscovery and re-questioning of works from the first half of the 20th century that had disappeared from the repertoire, such as Der Traumgörge by Alexander von Zemlinsky , Cassandra by Vittorio Gnecchi, Germania by , to raise the profile of the house Alberto Franchetti and Walter Braunfels ' Jeanne d'Arc - Scenes from the Life of Saint Johanna . For the last two works, the opera was honored with the award “Rediscovery of the year” in the critics' survey of the magazine Opernwelt in 2007 and 2008 .

General music director Donald Runnicles , opera director Christoph Seuferle and managing director Thomas Fehrle took over the provisional management in the 2011/2012 season . Dietmar Schwarz has been Artistic Director since August 1, 2012, and his contract has now been extended to 2022. The contracts with Managing Director Thomas Fehrle and General Music Director Donald Runnicles have also been extended until 2022.

The opera building

Main facade to Bismarckstrasse and metal sculpture by Hans Uhlmann
The auditorium
View to the side facade

Sober (to the point of being “dusty”, as critics say), monumental and imposing in the opinion of others is the architectural concept of the new building for Berlin's largest opera from the 1960s. The architect Fritz Bornemann (incidentally, in the 1930s equipment assistant at the previous house in the same place) designed a massive outer wall facing the six-lane Bismarckstrasse, on which the building is located. The wall completely protects the theater hall from street noise. The supporting effect of this main facade makes side facades made of bare glass and column-free stairwells possible, which is aimed at lightness and transparency. Stairwells and foyers are popular for films and commercials because of this spatial effect as a backdrop.

In historical theater buildings, foyers and break rooms were usually built in afterwards, because the boxes were used for sitting, including eating and talking during the performance, while the other rooms were unadorned and the parquet flooring was empty. In contrast, the foyers of the Deutsche Oper were planned as important and prominent architectural elements from the start. That is why they are not tucked away in mezzanines or basements, but assert their almost equal importance next to the auditorium in terms of size and visibility. They themselves are designed for width and transparency, which in the decor is determined by the simplicity and reduction typical of the time. Due to their size, parts of the foyers can be divided off and used for theater performances and lectures as well as festivities. Otherwise they offer “panoramic views” to east and west during the breaks because of the glass facade.

The auditorium is not a theater U in the shape of a horseshoe, but rather wide and only slightly curved, with self-supporting balconies. From every seat you can see the wide stage in full. The acoustics are the best of all Berlin music theater stages (only German and Komische Oper play opera performances in Berlin without an electronic sound system for acoustics optimization). The architecture of the auditorium of the Deutsche Oper offers a diametrical alternative to the Paulick Hall of the State Opera Unter den Linden, which is only six years older . The simple wall cladding of the hall made of tropical precious woods, the color scheme and the targeted lighting should focus on the stage in the hall and make it clear that the focus is on the performance and not on representation. The hall has no classic boxes. Almost all presentations are given with surtitles for a better understanding of the text. As an important theater architecture of the 20th century, the building is a listed building .

Carpentry venue

The carpentry venue of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

The joinery is the second venue of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. It is located at the rear of the Deutsche Oper Berlin building. The former workshop of the carpenters was converted into a theater space in 2012, since then there have been around ten premieres, guest performances and revivals per season. There are also various concert series. The venue is architecturally an open space without an orchestra pit , stage tower, side or back stage. A grandstand can be used flexibly. The program focuses on premieres: commissioned compositions, piece developments and adaptations of older works. The joinery sees itself as a workshop for the musical theater of the 21st century, for both young and adult audiences. Singers and musicians from the Deutsche Oper Berlin meet artists from the Berlin and international independent scene in the carpentry - from the avant-garde , pop, visual arts , dance and performance .

Children's choir

The children's choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin has become an important part of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since it was founded in 2008. His first major task was the Carmen premiere on March 8, 2009. Since then, the children's choir of the Deutsche Oper Berlin has taken on all opera performances in which children's choir parts are. These include and include Tosca , Falstaff , Die Frau ohne Schatten , Carmina Burana , La Bohème , Hansel and Gretel , Jeanne d'Arc - Scenes from the life of St. Joan , Otello , Turandot , Iannis Xenakis ' Oresteia and the boy solos in Tosca and Macbeth .

The children's choir of the Deutsche Oper organizes its own Christmas concerts every year at Christmas time, which sing about and play on the theme of Christmas in a very special and exquisite way.

The children's choir of the Deutsche Oper shows its own profile in its own performances and concerts on the main stage of the Deutsche Oper, in the chamber music hall of the Philharmonie or at other events. He strikes a musical arc from the baroque to the modern and also likes to go into the field of pop and light music. The members of the children's choir of the Deutsche Oper study works from all areas of contemporary music with enthusiasm and high standards.

Children dance for children

Offers for children and young people have a permanent place at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The children's ballet “Children dance for children”, which the dancer and choreographer Felicitas Binder has launched since 1997, plays an important role in this offer. The pieces, around one-hour versions of the most famous narrative ballets of the classical ballet repertoire, are intended to introduce children and young people to the great works of classical ballet and offer the audience a suitable introduction to the world of dance. The special thing about it: The dancers on stage are hardly older than the audience in the hall. This makes the impression that they then take home and into their everyday lives all the more lasting. The children's ballet, based at the Deutsche Oper, now includes around 80 children between the ages of 6 and 17. The young dancers have now worked on six major projects with Felicitas Binder and perform regularly with great success at the Deutsche Oper as well as in the Berlin Urania , in the FEZ - An der Wuhlheide and in the Fontane Haus. At Christmas 2011 they created the “Dream on Christmas Eve” in the Berlin Philharmonic under the direction of Igor Budinstein and the Berlin Symphony Orchestra. To give the young audience access to art and culture is and remains the declared aim of “Children dance for children”. Big and small dancers are united by the joy of dancing, which for many is the beginning of a lifelong love. The project is under the patronage of Kirsten Harms (director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin until 2011) and André Schmitz (former State Secretary for Cultural Affairs).

Since January 1, 2014, the children's ballet has been part of the education program “Dance is CLASS!” Of the Berlin State Ballet and is called “Dance is CLASS!” - Children dance ”.

World premieres

Municipal Opera Berlin

Municipal Opera House Berlin

German Opera Berlin






2005/2006 (selection)

  • 0September 7, 2005: Isabel Mundry: One Breath - Odyssey (production: Reinhild Hoffmann )
  • March 22, 2006: Vincenzo Bellini: La sonnambula (production: John Dew)

2006/2007 (selection)

2007/2008 (selection)

2008/2009 (selection)

2009/2010 (selection)

2010/2011 (selection)

  • October 16, 2010: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Don Giovanni (Production: Roland Schwab)
  • 0December 5, 2010: Hector Berlioz : Les Troyens (Director: David Pountney)
  • January 23, 2011: Richard Strauss: Die Liebe der Danae (production: Kirsten Harms)
  • March 13, 2011: Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde (Staging: Graham Vick )

2011/2012 (selection)

  • October 23, 2011: Giuseppe Verdi: Don Carlo (production: Marco Arturo Marelli)
  • January 22, 2012: Gioacchino Rossini: Tancredi (Production: Pier Luigi Pizzi )
  • 0March 4, 2012: Leoš Janáček: Jenufa (production: Christof Loy )










The directors of the Deutsche Oper Berlin:

General Music Directors (GMD) / chief conductors and important guest conductors

In its almost 100-year history, the Deutsche Oper Berlin has seen numerous guest conductors on the podium. However, some were so important that they themselves promoted the importance of the opera house (e.g. Wilhelm Furtwängler), and decades of collaboration with others also had a lasting impact on the orchestra (e.g. Karl Böhm). For the meaning of the artists, reference is made to the links to avoid duplication:

Karl Bohm ; Daniel Barenboim ; Semyon Bychkov ;
Andris Nelsons ; Alberto Zedda ; Fabio Luisi ; Heinrich Schiff ;
Max von Schillings ; Fritz Busch ; Wilhelm Furtwängler ;
Herbert von Karajan ; Claudio Abbado ; Zubin Mehta ; Eugen Jochum ;
James Levine ; Giuseppe Sinopoli ; Peter Schneider ;
Horst Stein ; Marc Albrecht ; Fritz Stiedry ; Arturo Toscanini ;
Marcello Viotti ; Ulf Schirmer

An honorary member of the orchestra was the humorist Vicco von Bülow, who died in 2011 .


On the history of the Deutsches Opernhaus / Städtische Oper Berlin / Deutsche Oper Berlin:

  • Werner Bollert: 50 years of the Deutsche Oper Berlin . Hessling, Berlin 1962 (is considered the first comprehensive account of the history of this opera house)
  • Max W. Busch: The Deutsche Oper Berlin - the house in Bismarckstrasse and its predecessors. Press and Information Office, Berlin 1986 (Berliner Forum. 1986, 1)
  • Max W. Busch, Gisela Huwe (eds.). The Deutsche Oper Berlin. Quadriga-Verlag Berlin 1984. ISBN 978-3-88679-111-8
  • Deutsche Oper Berlin (Ed.): Thirty Years of the Deutsche Oper Berlin 1961–1991. Berlin 1991. (Contributions to Music Theater, Volume 10.) ISSN  0938-7692
  • Horst Goerges: Deutsche Oper Berlin. Stapp, Berlin 1964
  • Erich Köhrer (ed.): Yearbook of the German Opera House in Charlottenburg. Berlin 1919–1922. The years 1919/1920, 1921/1922 and 1922/1923 were published
  • Erich Köhrer (Ed.): Yearbook of the Städtische Oper Berlin 1925/26. Deutsche Verlags-AG, Berlin 1925
  • Götz Friedrich (Ed.): Deutsche Oper Berlin. Contributions to music theater , Berlin 1982–2001.
  • Detlef Meyer zu Heringdorf: The Charlottenburg Opera House from 1912 to 1961. From the privately run citizens' opera to the subsidized Berlin Municipal Opera. Deutsche Oper, Berlin 1988 (dissertation). ISBN 978-3-926412-07-2
  • Rengha Rodewill , Eva Strittmatter : interlude - poetry, photography. Plöttner Verlag . Leipzig 2010. ISBN 978-3-86211-005-6
  • Andreas KW Meyer (Ed.): Seven Year Book. The Deutsche Oper Berlin from 2004 to 2011. (On behalf of the Deutsche Oper Berlin). Berlin 2011, ISBN 978-3-89479-669-3 .

About orchestras, general music directors and guest conductors:


Web links

Commons : Deutsche Oper Berlin  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Opera in Berlin
  2. Deutsche Oper Berlin. In: Zeit Reisen , accessed on November 14, 2017.
  3. Performances canceled - water damage in the German Opera. At: on December 25, 2017, accessed on May 24, 2018
  4. Despite the water damage, there are New Year's Eve performances. At: BR-Klassik , December 27, 2017; accessed on May 24, 2018
  5. The Deutsche Oper is almost dry again. In: BZ , June 12, 2018
  6. ^ Greetings from Secretary of State for Culture André Schmitz on the occasion of the award ceremony ( memento of April 11, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 22 kB)
  7. Teamwork or: What remains of 2009/2010? Stephan Mösch in opernwelt , 2010 yearbook, p. 116
  8. [1]
  9. [2]
  10. Contract extension with Donald Runnicles
  11. Carpentry
  12. ^ Opening of the "Tischlerei" in the Deutsche Oper