German Opera on the Rhine

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German Opera on the Rhine
Logo Deutsche Oper am Rhein
Address: Heinrich-Heine-Allee 16a
City: Dusseldorf
Coordinates: 51 ° 13 '38.5 "  N , 6 ° 46' 40.4"  E Coordinates: 51 ° 13 '38.5 "  N , 6 ° 46' 40.4"  E
Architecture and history
Internet presence:

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg gGmbH is a theater community of the cities of Düsseldorf and Duisburg , which has a long tradition of cooperation between the two major cities and, in addition to opera and operetta / musical, also performs ballet . It has the largest opera ensemble in Germany and - unique in Germany - two main stages, the Düsseldorf Opera House and the Duisburg Theater , and two symphony orchestras, the Duisburg Philharmonic and the Düsseldorf Symphony . Christoph Meyer has been General Director since 2012 . Axel Kober has been General Music Director since 2012 . The company is a horizontally mixed public company .

In 1955, the neighboring cities signed a contract for the formation of the opera. The theater community began on September 28, 1956 with the 1956/1957 season. Her first General intendant was Hermann Juch .


The Duisburg Theater (2009)
The Düsseldorf Opera House (1959)

In 1873 the construction of the local theater , the first opera in Düsseldorf, began according to the plans of building officer Ernst Giese . On November 28, 1875, before the construction was even completed, the theater began operating in the half-finished theater. The costs, which far exceeded the budget, and the pressure from private entrepreneurs who wanted to maintain the theater business led to this decision by the city of Düsseldorf, which owned the building.

On November 13, 1887, Carl Maria von Weber's “Preziosa” was the inauguration of the Duisburg Tonhalle , which was built thanks to the great donation of the Duisburg citizens. A decision was made in Duisburg for a theater community with Düsseldorf.

In addition to the Tonhalle, construction of a new theater began in Duisburg in 1911, which was inaugurated on November 7, 1912. Due to the turmoil of the First World War , the establishment of an own ensemble could not begin until 1919 . With the new ensemble of its own, it was decided in Duisburg to cancel the contract with Düsseldorf. The last performance as part of the theater community with Düsseldorf was on June 21, 1921 with Richard Wagner's “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”. The Duisburg Opera was founded on September 25, 1921. Now they entered into a theater marriage with the city of Bochum . The drama performances of the Schauspielhaus Bochum were taken over to Duisburg and at the same time musical performances of the Duisburg Opera were taken over to Bochum. Saladin Schmitt became general manager of both houses . At the end of the 1934/35 season, the theater community with Bochum ended. Successor to Saladin Schmitt was the opera director Rudolf Scheel .

After the dissolution of the first theater community with Duisburg, the city of Düsseldorf took over the operations and renamed the theater building in Düsseldorf the " Opera House ". Between 1929 and 1933 Jascha Horenstein worked as music director in this house. He was hired by Walter Bruno Iltz , who was general manager from 1927 to 1937.

In 1942, immediately after a performance of " Tannhauser ", the Duisburg house was badly hit by an air raid and almost completely destroyed. However, the performances continued. The Mercator-Filmpalast and the Thyssen-Casino in Duisburg as well as the town halls in Mülheim an der Ruhr and Rheinhausen served as replacements .

In 1943 the Düsseldorf Opera House was destroyed by bombs, hastily rebuilt in a short time due to instructions from the Reich Theater Chamber and reopened on May 1, 1944 with the opera “ Fidelio ”.

In September 1943, the Reich Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels ordered the Duisburg Opera to be evacuated to Prague, where the German Opera House and the Estates Theater continued to operate until mid-1944. This also marked the end of the Duisburg Opera. Due to the turmoil of the war, all theaters in Germany were closed on September 1, 1944.

With the opera “ Tosca ” the performance on the Düsseldorf stage began again on October 9, 1945. The opera house now also served as a theater for the theater. Gustaf Gründgens took over the management of all theaters in Düsseldorf.

The Düsseldorf Opera House served as the conference venue for the first session of the North Rhine-Westphalia state parliament on October 2, 1946. Representatives appointed by the British occupying forces began the parliamentary life of the newly founded state of North Rhine-Westphalia here .

After the reconstruction at the end of the 1940s, the Duisburg house was reopened on October 1, 1950 with the play " Emilia Galotti " by the ensemble of the Schauspielhaus in Bochum . At first they did not have their own cast and performed guest performances of musical works and plays in theaters in Bochum, Düsseldorf, Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Cologne, Rheydt and Wuppertal. Until the completion of the stage house in 1952, the performances took place on a front stage.

The Düsseldorf city council brought 1951 Walter Bruno Iltz to Dusseldorf, he was "stage Dusseldorf Municipal" appointed general manager who, when Gustaf was limited in 1951 with the foundation of the "new drama-Gesellschaft mbH" in spoken theater and director of the Düsseldorf Theater was . On April 6, 1951, the contract was signed with Bruno Walter Iltz as General Director of the Städtische Bühnen. In 1956 Walter Bruno Iltz withdrew from the theater after reaching the age limit, but also because of attacks on his program. This made a general reorganization of the music theater and ballet area in Düsseldorf possible, which led to the establishment of a two-city partnership between Düsseldorf and Duisburg for these areas under Hermann Juch in the same year.

After two years of reconstruction work led by Paul Bonatz , the Düsseldorf Opera House reopened on April 22, 1956 with a performance of Fidelio .

After the founding of the Düsseldorf-Duisburg theater community, the first season of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein started in Düsseldorf with the opera " Elektra " on September 29, 1956 and in Duisburg on September 30 with " Falstaff ". In the 1964/65 season, Grischa Barfuss began his general management , which had lasted for over 20 years. He was replaced in 1986 by Kurt Horres as the third general manager of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Tobias Richter became fourth general manager in the 1996/97 season. At the beginning of this season, the Opera Society opened a ballet school in Düsseldorf-Oberkassel for up-and-coming talents aged eight to 16 years. The contact with the established ballet ensemble at the two venues was considered advantageous.

The theater workshop of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein is now located in the Duisburg district of Wanheim . The American John Fiore has been chief conductor of the theater community since the 1999/2000 season . One season later, he also took over the post of General Music Director (GMD) of the Düsseldorf Symphony Orchestra , who play in the local gGmbH. In the northern neighboring city, the Duisburg Philharmonic has provided the opera orchestra, with the Dane Giordano Bellincampi as GMD since the 2012/13 season .

In 2006, intensive renovation work began on the Düsseldorf house. The theater business continued in a mobile makeshift theater ( Rome -RheinOperMobil) at the Düsseldorf television tower. The renovated opera house was originally scheduled to reopen on April 7, 2007 with a performance of La Traviata. However, the city of Düsseldorf canceled the construction contract due to additional claims amounting to millions and commissioned another construction company to continue the work. The return to the parent company on Heinrich-Heine-Allee took place on August 18, 2007 with the resumption of La traviata . The renovation costs amounted to around EUR 30 million. Renovation work that was not originally planned was also carried out in the interior, such as the renewal of the seating.

The Rhine Opera celebrated its 50th anniversary in the 2006/2007 season (“Golden Wedding”).

Due to the tight budget situation in the city of Duisburg, there was controversial discussion as an austerity measure to terminate the collaboration with the Düsseldorf Opera House and only allow guest performances to take place in the Duisburg House. On June 25, 2012, the Duisburg city council voted with a majority of the SPD and the Greens in favor of maintaining the cooperation of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein between the cities of Duisburg and Düsseldorf. Previously, around 53,100 signatories had supported a petition to keep both houses. From 2014 the Rhine Opera will have to save around one million euros.

In May 2013, a Tannhäuser production was stopped due to public protests . Some scenes, including a realistically portrayed shooting scene, caused psychological and physical stress for many visitors and a subsequent medical treatment. The director Burkhard C. Kosminski didn't want to make any changes. The Wagner opera is thus given in concert form. The FAZ wrote:

“But that an artistic director has an opera brought out in his house, which is about redemption, guilt, sin and forgiveness, earthly and heavenly love, in short about a man between two women, between Venus and Elisabeth, sex and flowers , who at the end of the Pope in Rome gets a penitent's cap - and that the intendant with seeing eyes lets a brush of ideas like Kosminski degrade the evening star to evening nonsense, therein lies the real scandal. Which is now expanding into a spectator-supported censorship case. Because now the master of the house suddenly wants nothing more to do with what he has done in it and only wants to present Tannhauser in concert and guaranteed without concentration camps. But why did n't Meyer say, at the earliest at the first conceptual discussion, but at the latest at the first run-through: “ Kosminski , you've probably got a wheel off” (optionally: “a screw loose”), and didn't even let the thing on the boards? Déformation professionnelle as cowardice in front of the director's turnip through which something rushes through? More courage, you directors! But please right away, not afterwards. "

- G.St. : Abendquatsch , in: FAZ No. 108 of May 11, 2013, p. 31


Artistic directors since 1964

General music directors since 1965

Ballet directors

Managing directors


The theater community includes the following two stages:

  • Opernhaus Düsseldorf
    Heinrich-Heine-Allee 16a
    40213 Düsseldorf
  • Theater Duisburg
    Neckarstrasse 1
    47051 Duisburg


  • Otto zur Nedden (Ed.): The Duisburger Theaterfrage 1953. Three lectures . Society of Theater Friends, Duisburg 1953.

Web links

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

Individual evidence

  2. ^ A b Wolfgang Horn, Rolf Willhardt, Rheinische Symphonie: 700 Years of Music in Düsseldorf. G. Horn, 1987
  3. ^ Hans Hubert Schieffer, Hermann-Josef Müller, Jutta Scholl, New Music in Düsseldorf since 1945, a contribution to the history of music and the musical life of the city. Music library of the Düsseldorf city libraries, 1998
  4. Düsseldorfer Stadtchronik 1951
  8. ^ Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf Duisburg: Wagner's "Tannhäuser" from May 9th in concert at the Düsseldorf Opera House , accessed on May 9, 2013