Municipal theaters Frankfurt

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Opera and Drama Theater (2014)
Front at Night (2007)

The Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt are the municipal theater companies in Frankfurt am Main and the largest in Hesse . They are divided into the two artistically independent areas of Oper Frankfurt and Schauspiel Frankfurt .

The spectacle Frankfurt serves the division of spoken theater , under the direction of since the season 2017/18 Anselm Weber stands. The musical theater division is served by the Frankfurt Opera . The Frankfurt Opera was named “Opera House of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine in 1995, 2003, 2015 and 2018 . Bernd Loebe has been artistic director of the Frankfurt Opera since 2002/2003 , Sebastian Weigle has been general music director since 2008 .


The most important and largest venue is the opera and theater, which opened in 1963, the so-called double theater . at Willy-Brandt-Platz (until 1992 “Theaterplatz”) opposite the Eurotower . The opera house has 1,369 seats, the theater 689; Another stage used by the drama is the Kammerspiel with 187 seats.

As an additional venue, opera and drama regularly use the Bockenheimer Depot , a former maintenance hall for trams in the western part of Bockenheim .


Former playhouse
The “gold cloud” sculpture in the foyer

In 1782 the Frankfurt Comoedienhaus on Roßmarkt was the first city theater to open. For a long time it was the only venue until the Alte Oper at Bockenheimer Tor was added in 1880 . The Comoedienhaus was then initially used for the theater. Both branches were run as the "United City Theater" under the direction of General Manager Emil Claar .

When the old house finally became too small for the growing number of theater-goers. In 1899 it was decided to build a new, large theater . As with the opera, the facility ring was also chosen as the location. In terms of size, the building was to exceed everything that had existed before and was given an Art Nouveau facade . It was opened in 1902.

Alongside the Berlin theater, it became one of the most important stages in Germany and experienced a particular heyday in the twenties . From 1919/20, the United City Theaters were referred to as "Municipal Theaters".

After the seizure of power by the National Socialists and the Municipal Theater were brought into line . Numerous Jewish artists were driven out of their offices, including the director of the New Theater founded in 1911 in Mainzer Landstrasse , Arthur Hellmer . His private theater was incorporated into the municipal theaters in 1934 as the “Small House”. During this time, the stages experienced an artistic decline and a significant drop in visitor numbers.

During the Second World War , the opera house and the new theater were destroyed in the air raids on Frankfurt am Main , and the theater was badly damaged. In the post-war period, the performances therefore took place in the hall of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange . Since a reconstruction of the opera house was initially out of the question, it was decided to restore the former theater as the “Great House of the Municipal Theaters”. For this purpose, the house was extensively rebuilt from 1950 to 1951. The stage building, which was then the largest revolving stage in Europe, was completely rebuilt. In 1954 it was decided to completely rebuild the building again and to add a second large stage for the theater to the stage, which is now mainly used for the opera. This created the double theater system that is still in use today. Construction work began in 1959. The renovation was managed by Otto Apel's office (since 1961 ABB Architects: Otto Apel , Hannsgeorg Beckert , Gilbert Becker ). The Art Nouveau facade of the old theater was completely removed. The building got a new facade, the glass foyer, which connects the two areas of opera and theater to Willy-Brandt-Platz. Even if the building complex looks like a completely new post-war building from the square, it still contains numerous components from 1902 in the area of ​​the opera; In an inner courtyard you can still see an original facade of the original theater.

Marc Chagall (1887–1985) painted the painting Commedia dell'Arte for the foyer in 1959 on behalf of the city . The sculpture Goldwolken by the Hungarian artist Zoltán Kemény (1907–1965) hangs under the ceiling of the foyer - across the entire width of the building .

The house was completed in 1963. On November 12, 1987, the stage tower of the large house burned down completely in a fire caused by a homeless person. During the time when the house was destroyed, the opera was located in the neighboring theater, the theater in turn in the Bockenheimer Depot . The opera was rebuilt in unchanged form and opened again in 1991. In January 2020, the city council of Frankfurt decided to demolish the double theater system and to rebuild the two stages at an as yet unknown location. The decision to demolish, however, met with protests. In May 2020, the Hessian State Office for the Preservation of Monuments published an expert opinion that confirms the monument value, in particular of the foyer with Kemény's gold clouds, and thus the public interest in the preservation of the building with its works of art.

Until 1972, the city stages were managed by a general manager, since then the divisions have been artistically independent and are technically operated and managed by the stage service. The Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main were converted into an independent GmbH in 2004. The two artistic directors Bernd Loebe and Anselm Weber act as managing directors. The city of Frankfurt am Main is 100% shareholder .

From 1995 until its closure in 2004, the Theater am Turm was also part of the municipal theaters. Also in 2004 the ballet division , the Frankfurt Ballet , was closed. William Forsythe , who had been artistic director of the ballet since 1984 , continued his program from April 2005 with The Forsythe Company . The company was renamed DresdenFrankfurtDanceCompany in 2015 and is now managed by Jacopo Godani.

The ruins of the opera house on Opernplatz , which was destroyed in World War II , was not rebuilt until 1976 to 1981. Since then, it has served as a concert and guest theater under the name of Alte Oper . It is operated by the Stadtische Alte Oper Frankfurt Konzert- und Kongresszentrum GmbH and has no organizational or artistic ties with the Städtische Bühnen.

Honorary members

The following people are honorary members of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt:

  • Arthur Bauer, actor (1895-1927)
  • Harry Buckwitz, General Director (1951–68)
  • Hans Peter Doll, General Manager (1990–1993)
  • Christoph von Dohnanyi, General Music Director (1968–1977)
  • Mathilde Einzig, actress (1902-1933)
  • Wilfried Elste, actor (1972-2004)
  • Peter Eschberg, acting director (1991–2001)
  • William Forsythe, choreographer and ballet director (1984–2004)
  • Josef (Jupp) Gareis, singer (1905–1935)
  • Michael Gielen (honorary conductor), opera director and general music director (1977–1987)
  • John glasses, opera singer (1917–1940)
  • Chamber singer Heinz Hagenau (1963–1994)
  • Anny Hannewald, actress (1935–67)
  • Alfred Hauck, opera and operetta singer (1886–1916)
  • Helga Heil, dancer, choreographer, ballet master (1950–1994)
  • Arthur Hellmer, actor (1905 1910), then head (and owner) of the New Theater (1911–1934)
  • Toni Impekoven, actor, author (1914–1944) and theater director (1945–47)
  • Clare Kaiser, actress (1934–1979)
  • Heinrich Koch, acting director (1957–1968)
  • Karl Kremer, chief répétiteur and head of stage music (1908–1947)
  • Karl Luley, actor (1919–1966)
  • Anita Mey, actress (1936–1972)
  • Bernhard Minetti, actor (1951–1956)
  • Peter Palitzsch, acting director (1972–1980)
  • Mathieu Pfeil, actor (1907-1934)
  • Hans Pfitzner, composer
  • Günther Rühle, acting director (1985–1990)
  • Alexander Sander, Administrative Director (1945–1951)
  • Robert von Scheidt, opera singer (1912–39)
  • Chamber singer Anny Schlemm, opera singer (1952–1994)
  • Hermann Schramm, singer (1899–1933)
  • Georg Solti, General Music Director (1952–61)
  • Hans Wilhelm Steinberg, General Music Director (1929–1933)
  • Jean Stern, opera singer (1923–53)
  • Maximillian Freiherr von Vequel – Westernach, Technical Director (1951–54 and 1963–1989)
  • Max Walther, set designer (1880–1926)
  • Richard Weichert, director and acting director (1919–1929 and 1947–1952)
  • Hans-Dieter Zeidler, actor (1957-67)

Web links

Commons : Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Frankfurt: Cloud foyer is to be saved. May 22, 2020, accessed June 7, 2020 .
  2. Planning of the new building of the Frankfurt double system for opera and drama is supported by the State Office for Monument Preservation. May 20, 2020, accessed June 7, 2020 .
  3. Honorary members of the Städtische Bühnen on , accessed on October 28, 2015.

Coordinates: 50 ° 6 ′ 31 ″  N , 8 ° 40 ′ 27 ″  E