Repertoire system

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Theaters that have a permanently engaged ensemble with which they can keep several in-house productions in their repertoire for months or years have a repertoire system (also known as an ensemble system ) . Such theaters are called repertory theaters . As a rule, the casts remain the same, only in individual cases are casts changed (e.g. in the case of leading roles with guests or if an actor is ill). The opposite of this is the en-suite system .

International situation

In the English-speaking world, where the program of many stages consists of a single piece played as long as possible, theaters with a repertoire system are called repertory theater or rep for short ; in the United States , it is called stock theater . In the classic American stock theater of the time before the Second World War , at least one new piece was rehearsed and brought out every week (premiere theater ). Many larger theaters (for example on New York's Broadway ), on the other hand, are not institutions that are in permanent operation, but often only buildings that can be rented when required.


Many important European theaters, for example the Vienna Burgtheater , the Bavarian State Theater in Munich, the Nationaltheater Mannheim and Nationaltheater Weimar , the Comédie-Française in Paris or the Kungliga Dramatiska Teatern ( Dramaten ) in Stockholm have a repertoire system. It is considered the standard in Central and Northern Europe. Houses with en-suite gaming operations , as is almost exclusively the case in the Anglo-Saxon region, but also in Italy and the other Romanic countries, are rather rare here . The en-suite system in theaters is the opposite of the repertoire system.

Opera houses

Opera houses can also operate a repertoire. This means that many different works can be performed each season, including perhaps six new productions, but the majority of them are revivals of older productions. This requires an orchestra that has numerous works in its repertoire that can be played with little or no rehearsals. The choir must meet the same requirements. The technology in the houses must be able to constantly set up and dismantle the stage sets, for example by working shifts with the stage technicians . In addition, there must be a singing ensemble that is suitable for the roles of a wide variety of operas. In the big houses this is made possible by the engagement of a large number of guest singers. Overall, the repertoire system is very complex and requires a corresponding financial basis. Smaller theaters usually only offer a limited selection of operas, which run for about one season after being rehearsed.

The opposite of the repertory system in the field of opera is the Stagionesystem . Opera houses with a classical repertoire system are seldom found today. Big houses no longer keep their pieces in their repertoire all year round, but instead offer a series of performances of each repertoire production per season. This is called semi-stagione operation . The Vienna Volksoper or the Komische Oper Berlin, on the other hand, work according to the traditional model, which is now usually reserved for spoken theaters.

Intermediate solutions can be found in houses such as La Scala in Milan , the Paris Opera or the Royal Opera House in London . Their way of working lies somewhere between repertoire and stage houses. On the one hand they only offer a limited number of plays per season, on the other hand they also take up older productions, sometimes over many years or even decades. They also have their own orchestra and choir.

Well-known opera houses with a large repertoire


  • Isolde Schmid-Reiter (ed.): Repertoire and program design (publications of the European Music Theater Academy, Vol. 5), Salzburg: Müller-Speiser 1999