The Deutsche Oper Berlin is an opera company located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. The resident building is the country's second largest opera house and also home to the Berlin State Ballet.
Since 2004 the Deutsche Oper Berlin, like the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin State Opera), the Komische Oper Berlin, the Berlin State Ballet, and the Bühnenservice Berlin (Stage and Costume Design), has been a member of the Berlin Opera Foundation.
The present opera house
|Design and construction|
The company's history goes back to the Deutsches Opernhaus built by the then independent city of Charlottenburg—the "richest town of Prussia"—according to plans designed by Heinrich Seeling from 1911. It opened on November 7, 1912 with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Ignatz Waghalter. In 1925, after the incorporation of Charlottenburg by the 1920 Greater Berlin Act, the name of the resident building was changed to Städtische Oper (Municipal Opera).
With the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, the opera was under control of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Minister Joseph Goebbels had the name changed back to Deutsches Opernhaus, competing with the Berlin State Opera in Mitte controlled by his rival, the Prussian minister-president Hermann Göring. In 1935, the building was remodeled by Paul Baumgarten and the seating reduced from 2300 to 2098. Carl Ebert, the pre-World War II general manager, chose to emigrate from Germany rather than endorse the Nazi view of music, and went on to co-found the Glyndebourne opera festival in England. He was replaced by Max von Schillings, who acceded to enact works of "unalloyed German character". Several artists, like the conductor Fritz Stiedry and the singer Alexander Kipnis, followed Ebert into emigration. The opera house was destroyed by a RAF air raid on 23 November 1943. Performances continued at the Admiralspalast in Mitte until 1945. Ebert returned as general manager after the war.
After the war, in what was now West Berlin, the company, again called Städtische Oper, used the nearby Theater des Westens; its opening production was Fidelio, on 4 September 1945. Its home was finally rebuilt in 1961 but to a much-changed, sober design by Fritz Bornemann. The opening production of the newly named Deutsche Oper, on 24 September, was Mozart's Don Giovanni.
Past Generalmusikdirektoren (GMD, general music directors) have included Bruno Walter, Kurt Adler, Ferenc Fricsay, Lorin Maazel, Gerd Albrecht, Jesús López-Cobos, and Christian Thielemann. In October 2005, the Italian conductor Renato Palumbo was appointed GMD as of the 2006/2007 season. In October 2007, the Deutsche Oper announced the appointment of Donald Runnicles as their next Generalmusikdirektor, effective August 2009, for an initial contract of five years. Simultaneously, Palumbo and the Deutsche Oper mutually agreed to terminate his contract, effective November 2007.
On the evening of 2 June 1967, Benno Ohnesorg, a student taking part in the German student movement, was shot in the streets around the opera house. He had been protesting against the visit to Germany by the Shah of Iran, who was attending a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute.
In 1986 the American Berlin Opera Foundation was founded.
In September 2006, the Deutsche Oper's Intendantin (general manager) Kirsten Harms drew criticism after she cancelled the production of Mozart's opera Idomeneo by Hans Neuenfels, because of fears that a scene in it featuring the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad would offend Muslims, and that the opera house's security might come under threat if violent protests took place. Critics of the decision include German Ministers and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The reaction from Muslims has been mixed — the leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the decision, whilst a leader of Germany's Turkish community, criticising the decision, said:
This is about art, not about politics ... We should not make art dependent on religion — then we are back in the Middle Ages.
At the end of October 2006, the opera house announced that performances of Mozart's opera Idomeneo would then proceed. Kirsten Harms, after announcing in 2009 that she would not renew her contract beyond 2011, was bid farewell in July of that year.
Alkmene (Alcmene), op. 36, is an opera in three acts, with music and libretto by Giselher Klebe. Klebe based the libretto on Amphitryon by Heinrich von Kleist, which in turn was based on Molière's play of the same name. The composer dedicated the work to his mother, the violinist Gertrud Klebe.
The opera was commissioned for the opening of the current building of the Deutsche Oper Berlin where it premiered on 25 September 1961, the second production in that house.Andión Fernández
Andiòn Fernàndez is a Spanish Filipina operatic soprano, born in Manila.
A soloist of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2001, she graduated with honors from the Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, and has studied voice with Karan Armstrong and Ira Hartmann, and contemporary music with Aribert Reimann. She is a prizewinner of Operalia International Opera Competition (Plácido Domingo World Opera Contest, Hamburg) and the Cardiff Singer of the World competition. The major international opera houses she has sung in include the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, the Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, the Nuremberg Opera, the Gulbenkian Auditorium in Lisbon, the Festwochen Herrenhausen in Hannover, the Schloß Sanssouci in Potsdam, the Kallang Theatre and Victoria Theatre in Singapore, the Festspielhaus in Baden Baden, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. Among her major roles are Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Niklausse (Les contes d'Hoffmann), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Micaela (Carmen), Fox (The Cunning Little Vixen), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). She has worked with many distinguished conductors, including Alberto Zedda, Christian Thielemann, Marcello Viotti, Kent Nagano, Christopher Hogwood, Leopold Hager, and Mikhail Jurowski. As Agnes in Mikhail Jurowski’s world premiere recording of Emil von Reznicek’s Ritter Blaubart she received rave reviews. She is married to the composer Jeffrey Ching, and sang the solo part in his Symphony No. 5, "Kunstkammer" at its world premiere under Mikhail Jurowski in March 2006. She will sing the title role in Ching's new opera The Orphan, commissioned by Theater Erfurt, Germany, for its 2009-2010 season.Artur Rother
Artur Martin Rother (12 October 1885 – 22 September 1972) was a German conductor who worked mainly in the opera house.
He was born in Stettin, Pomerania (now Szczecin, Poland). His father was an organist and music teacher. He studied under Hugo Kaun and other teachers. By the age of 20, in 1906, he was conducting in Wiesbaden, and was assistant conductor for the Bayreuth Festival 1907-14. He was Generalmusikdirektor in Dessau 1927-34.
After the Nazis came to power in Germany, Rother joined the Militant League for German Culture (Kampfbund für deutsche Kultur) 1933 for one year, but was not a member of the Nazi Party.
From 1934 he conducted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, succeeding Bruno Walter, and was appointed Generalmusikdirektor there in 1937. In 1941, he brought out his own edition of Mozart's Idomeneo. Hans Schmidt-Isserstedt succeeded him. From 1946 to 1949 he was chief conductor of the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, based in East Berlin. Subsequently, he was a guest conductor of the RIAS Symphony Orchestra and the Städtische Oper Berlin. He was guest conductor with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1960-61, and an honorary member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1965. Between 1935 and 1964, he conducted 41 concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic(and also concerts in Paris and Spain.)
He died in Aschau im Chiemgau in 1972, aged 86.Barbara Scherler
Barbara Scherler (born 20 January 1933) is a German classical mezzo-soprano and contralto singer in opera and concert. She was a member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and active in performances and recordings of operas of the 20th century.Berlin State Ballet
The Berlin State Ballet (German Staatsballett Berlin) is the principal ballet company in the German capital of Berlin. It was created in 2004 through a merger of the separate ballet companies of the city's three opera houses at a time when the city was going through a financial crisis. It is one of the largest ballet companies in Western Europe with approximately 90 dancers.
Since 2004, the Berlin State Ballet, alongside the Berlin State Opera, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Komische Oper Berlin comprise the Berlin Opera Foundation. The Berlin State Ballet inaugural general and artistic director, dancer and choreographer Vladimir Malakhov, was a director of the ballet of the Berlin Opera before the companies merged to form the Berlin State Ballet. He led the company for ten years, creating a mixed repertoire of classical titles and contemporary choreography. A star dancer himself, Malakhov was not only managing, but also performing with the company.In 2014, Nacho Duato became general and artistic director at the Berlin State Ballet with an initial five years term. He created new choreography for the company, and oversaw restagings of some of his signature ballets, created in Madrid, St. Petersburg and Munich, in Berlin. In 2016, Michael Mueller, Mayor of Berlin, announced that the city will not extend Duato's contract with the company when it expires in 2019. Sasha Waltz and Johannes Ohman are to succeed him as joint artistic directors of the Berlin State Ballet.Catherine Gayer
Catherine Gayer (born February 11, 1937) is an American coloratura soprano, violinist, musicologist, and academic voice teacher. She made a career in Germany. A member of the Deutsche Oper Berlin for more than four decades, she is known for her performance in premieres of contemporary operas, such as Luigi Nono's Intolleranza 1960 at La Fenice in Venice, the title role in Aribert Reimann's Melusine at the Schwetzingen Festival, and Josef Tal's Die Versuchung at the Bavarian State Opera.Christian Thielemann
Christian Thielemann (born 1 April 1959 in West Berlin) is a German conductor. He is Chief Conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Director of the Salzburg Easter Festival.Claus H. Henneberg
Claus H. Henneberg (4 February 1936 – 22 February 1998) was a German librettist and translator. He worked as dramaturge for the Cologne Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin. In the 1976/77 season, he was the Intendant of the Opernhaus Kiel.Das Schloß (opera)
Das Schloß (The Castle, literally: The palace) is a 1992 German-language opera by Aribert Reimann. He wrote his own libretto based on Kafka's novel and its dramatization by Max Brod. It premiered on 2 September 1992 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, staged by Willy Decker and conducted by Michael Boder.Deutsche Oper (Berlin U-Bahn)
Deutsche Oper is a station of the Berlin U-Bahn located in the Charlottenburg district on the U 2 line. It is named after the Deutsche Oper Berlin.Enrique Mazzola
Enrique Mazzola is a Spanish-born Italian conductor. He studied at the Giuseppe Verdi Milan Conservatory.Renowned as an expert interpreter and champion of bel canto opera and a specialist in French repertoire, Enrique Mazzola is in demand worldwide as both an operatic and symphonic conductor. He is Artistic & Music Director of the Orchestre National d'Île de France (from the 2012/13 season) and Principal Guest Conductor at Deutsche Oper Berlin (from the 2018/19 season). In October 2018 he was made a Chevalier de l’ordre des Arts et des Lettres reflecting his significant contribution to musical life in France.
Between 1999 and 2003 he was the Artistic & Music Director of the Cantiere Internazionale d’Arte in Montepulciano.
General Management: Askonas Holt Ltd., Mrs. Rona Eastwood.Eva Johansson
Eva Johansson (25 February 1958) is a Danish operatic soprano.
Born in Copenhagen and educated at Ingrid Jespersens School, Johansson studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Music and then the Copenhagen Opera Academy as well as privately with Oren Brown (New York City) and Susanna Eken (Copenhagen).
She made her debut at the Danish Royal Theater in 1982 as the Countess in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, subsequently singing Elektra, Salome and Donna Anna in Mozart's Don Giovanni.
In 1988, Götz Friedrich invited her to perform at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and she has been closely identified with that company ever since. During the period 1988–1993, she sang at the Bayreuth Festival: Elsa in Lohengrin and Freia in Das Rheingold, returning in 2004 to sing Sieglinde in Die Walküre. She made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1998 as Eva in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. In 2000, she appeared at the Los Angeles Opera as Sieglinde. Other engagements have been in Israel, Spain, France, Austria, England, and Japan, working with conductors such as Claudio Abbado, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Daniel Barenboim, Christian Thielemann, Valery Gergiyev, Simon Rattle and Christoph von Dohnanyi.
As a dramatic soprano, Johansson has concentrated on the operas of Wagner and Strauss, notably Senta in The Flying Dutchman, Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, Isolde in Tristan und Isolde, Brünhilde in both Die Walküre and Götterdämmerung, the Empress in Die Frau ohne Schatten and the title roles of Elektra, Salome and Ariadne auf Naxos.
In 2001, she was made a Berlin Kammersängerin. She has been married to Herwig Oswalder, a viola player with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, since 1994.Giacomo Sagripanti
Giacomo Sagripanti is an Italian conductor.
Sagripanti was born in Abruzzo, and his parents come from a town near Ancona.In 2013, he made his US debut, conducting La Cenerentola with Seattle Opera.In 2016, Sagripanti won "Young Conductor of the Year" at the International Opera Awards.Sagripanti has conducted the Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Philharmonic Orchestra of St. Petersburg, Glyndebourne Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opéra de Monaco.He is married to Czech soprano, Zuzana Marková, and lives in Montegiorgio, Italy.John Chest
John Chest (born July 6, 1985) is an American baritone opera singer performing with leading opera companies around the world.Reinhard Peters
Reinhard Peters (1926 – 4 June 2008) was a German operatic conductor, violinist and an academic teacher at the Folkwangschule Essen. He was the Generalmusikdirektor for the opera companies Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Theater Münster
and Deutsche Oper Berlin. He premiered music in opera and concert, such as Giselher Klebe's Die tödlichen Wünsche, Aribert Reimann's Melusine, Nicolas Nabokov's Love's Labour's Lost, and Wilhelm Killmayer's song cycle Tre Canti di Leopardi.Rudolf Sellner
Rudolf Sellner, born Gustav Rudolf Sellner, (25 May 1905 – 18 May 1990) was a German actor, dramaturge, stage director and intendant. He represented in the 1950s a radical Instrumentales Theater (instrumental theatre). After decades of acting and directing plays, he turned to staging operas, and was a long-time intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1961, when the Berlin Wall was built. He staged notable world premieres, including Ernst Barlach's play Der Graf von Ratzeburg in 1951, Ionesco's Mörder ohne Bezahlung in 1958, Giselher Klebe's Alkmene in 1961 for the opening of the Deutsche Oper, and Aribert Reimanns opera Melusine in 1971.Sam Roberts-Smith
Sam Roberts-Smith (born 30 December 1985) is an Australian opera baritone who has performed with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Opera Australia and other opera companies in Australia and other countries.Tatjana Gsovsky
Tatjana Gsovsky (Татьяна Васильевна Гзовская/Tatjana Wassiljewna Gsowskaja, born Issatschenko Исаченко; 18 March 1901 – 29 September 1993) was an internationally known ballet dancer and choreographer who was ballet mistress of the Berlin State Opera, Teatro Colón, Deutsche Oper Berlin and Oper Frankfurt. An influential teacher, she is remembered for first choreographies of works by contemporary composers including Boris Blacher, Werner Egk, Hans Werner Henze, Giselher Klebe, Luigi Nono and Carl Orff.Uwe Köller
Uwe Köller (born 1964 in Neuss, West Germany) is a German trumpeter. His career began as a solo trumpeter in the Berlin Symphony Orchestra; after 1991 he was at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. Beginning in 1995, he has been a permanent member of the group "German Brass". Beginning in 1997, Köller taught as a visiting professor to the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz. In 1999, he then left the German Opera Berlin to become a professor of trumpet at Graz.