On September 24, 1961 the Opernhaus that had been inaugurated in 1912 and destroyed during the War was reopened as Deutsche Oper Berlin. Ever since it has been Berlin´s largest and Germany´s second largest music theatre, featuring among the most modern institutions in Europe. The straightforward and elegant building that was realized by architect Fritz Bornemann (he also conceived the America Memorial Library and the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, a. o.) seats 1.859 and guarantees a maximum viewing and hearing experience for every visitor.
The Deutsche Oper Berlin in a virtual tour with views of the costume tailoring, the fundus, the chorus and orchestra hall, with views on the stage and in the carpentry
Alternative: A virtual tour of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
Dietmar Schwarz was born in Biberach an der Riss and studied literature and drama in Munich and the Sorbonne before working at the Theater Freiburg, Bremer Theater and Oper Frankfurt. In 1994 he returned as Head Dramatic Consultant for musical theatre at the Bremer Theater under the directorship of Klaus Pierwoß. He became Opera Director at the Nationaltheater Mannheim in 1998 and occupied the same post at the Theater Basel between 2006 and 2012. In a survey of critics in “Opernwelt” magazine the Basel venue was twice voted “Opera House of the Year” under his administration (2009 and 2010).
In the summer of 2012 Dietmar Schwarz was appointed Intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, opening his tenure with Helmut Lachenmann’s “The Little Match Girl”, an indication of his interest in presenting contemporary musical theatre. Subsequent seasons have seen productions of works by Mauricio Kagel, Iannis Xenakis and Georg Friedrich Haas, while music has also been commissioned from Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini, Aribert Reimann, Detlev Glanert and Chaya Czernowin.
Alongside innovative productions of classic works by directors such as Christof Loy, Robert Carsen, Christian Spuck and Benedikt von Peter there has also been a focus on French grand opéra with new productions of major works by Giacomo Meyerbeer and Hector Berlioz. Dietmar Schwarz is also presiding over the presentation of Benjamin Britten pieces by General Music Director Donald Runnicles.
The new TISCHLEREI performance space (opened in November 2012) is the ideal setting in which to experiment with new forms of musical theatre, present the premieres of children’s operas and also pursue projects for youngsters - a special area of interest for Dietmar Schwarz.
He is a member of the jury of intendants that bestows the Ring Award on the winner of the International Competition for Stage Direction and Design in Graz. He is also a member of the think tank on the future of theatre in Lucerne, organised by the Theater Werk Luzern, and a member of the German Academy of Performing Arts.
Donald Runnicles, who comes from Scotland, has been General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2009. Since 2006 he has also directed the Grand Teton Music Festival and is Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. From 2009 to 2016 he was also Principal Conductor of the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and has been its "Conductor Emeritus" ever since.
He made his debut at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1989 with Verdi's IL TROVATORE. In 2007 he made a name for himself with the brilliant conducting of two cycles of the RING DES NIBELUNGEN. Since his inauguration as General Music Director, he has directed the premieres of LES TROYENS, TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, DON CARLO, JENUFA, LOHENGRIN, PARSIFAL, PETER GRIMES, FALSTAFF, BILLY BUDD, FAUSTS VERDAMMNIS, LADY MACBETH VON MZENSK, ROMEO UND JULIETTE, DIE SACHE MAKROPULOS, DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL, COSI FAN TUTTE, TOD IN VENEDIG, DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER, L'INVISIBLE, OCEANE and performances of HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, MANON LESCAUT, DER ROSENKAVALIER, OTELLO, TANNHÄUSER, PELLEAS UND MELISANDE, DON GIOVANNI, TOSCA, DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG or DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN.
Mr. Runnicles enjoys close and enduring relationships with several of the most significant opera companies and symphony orchestras, and is especially celebrated for his interpretations of Romantic and post-Romantic symphonic and opera repertoire which are core to his musical identity.
Recent and upcoming highlights include guest conducting engagements with the Chicago Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra (Washington, DC), Tonhalle Orchester, and Staatskapelle Dresden.
2020, Donald Runnicles has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. In doing so, the Queen honours the services that Sir Donald has rendered for the world of international music.
Thomas Fehrle grew up in Hamburg and completed his Business studies in Lüneburg in 1989. He then took up a traineeship in the commercial administration department of the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg. From 1990 to 1991 he was sales manager at Kampnagel e.V. Hamburg. In 1992 he returned to the Deutsches Schauspielhaus in Hamburg, heading the general administration department there until the spring of 1994, when he moved to Stralsund/Greifswald to take up the posts of Intendant, Administrative Director and Managing Director at the Vorpommersches Theater und Sinfonieorchester.
He has been Administrative Director at the Staatstheater Braunschweig since 1998 and also its Deputy Intendant since 2004. Thomas Fehrle sits on the board of the German Stage Association (northern federation) and serves as an assessor at the Stage Arbitration Tribunal in Hamburg. He is also Vice Chairman of the Staatstheater Braunschweig Foundation.
Since 1st August 2011 Thomas Fehrle has been Executive Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Would you like to organise an event for your clients or employees in the exclusive atmosphere of the foyer of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and round off the day with a visit to the opera? The combination of the technical potential, capacities and architecture of the most modern and largest opera house in Berlin predestines Deutsche Oper Berlin to host a wide variety of major events: from banquets, congresses, shareholder meetings, product presentations and stage shows to concerts and other events. opera or ballet guest performances.
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It was almost like a miniature cultural revolution – when the citizens of Berlin dared to found the Deutsche Oper in 1912 in the (at that time) still independent town of Charlottenburg. The city’s own opera house, specifically dedicated to the modern musical theater of Richard Wagner – it was a clear counter to the venerable Unter den Linden Court Opera. And what’s more: the building on Bismarckstraße wasn’t just larger than all the other theaters in the city; by doing away with private boxes, it embodied the ideal of a “democratic” opera house, in which every seat offered a full view of the stage.
Fritz Bornemann’s reconstruction of the building, opened in 1961, also remained true to the tradition of an opera for the people, without pomp and circumstance. Even today, its excellent sightlines and acoustics set the stage for exceptional musical theater, with room for almost 2,000 audience members each night. The generous foyers, whose architectural elegance is being re-evaluated in the present day, remain a central cultural gathering ground for the capital.
The great vocalists of the last century, including Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Luciano Pavarotti, Christa Ludwig, and Julia Varady, conductors like Ferenc Fricsay, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Christian Thielemann, and directors like Götz Friedrich and Hans Neuenfels have helped write the history of the building and bring an international flair to the Deutsche Oper.
The opera house continues this tradition into the present: the breadth of works staged at the Deutsche Oper Berlin ranges from the classic / naturalist TOSCA from 1969 to a directorial concept involving film in RIENZI (directed by Philipp Stölzl) to productions like RIGOLETTO (directed by Jan Bosse), FALSTAFF (directed by Christof Loy), AIDA (directed by Benedikt von Peter) or SALOME (directed by Claus Guth), which reflect more recent developments at the theater. A rich repertoire of performances includes international star singers and first-class ensembles alike. Modern examinations of the great classics, from Mozart to Verdi and Wagner, to Strauss and Puccini, also play a key role at the theater. So do modern operas – such as Helmut Lachenmann’s DAS MÄDCHEN MIT DEN SCHWEFELHÖLZERN, Iannis Xenakis’ ORESTEIA, Georg Friedrich Haas‘ MORGEN UND ABEND or, for the 2016/2017 season, the inaugural performance of Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini’s EDWARD II, for 2017/2018 Aribert Reimann's L'INVISIBLE, for 2018/2019 Detlev Glanert's OCEANE and now, in November 2019, the world premiere of Chaya Czernowin's HEART CHAMBER will take place. In June 2023, IL TEOREMA DI PASOLINI by Giorgio Battistelli celebrated its world premiere.
Besides modern works, the Deutsche Oper Berlin has a clear focus on composers whose life’s work is underrepresented in current repertoires. Under the leadership of General Musical Director Donald Runnicles, the opera on Bismarckstraße has staged Leos Janácek with productions of DAS SCHLAUE FÜCHSLEIN (directed by Katharina Thalbach), JENUFA (directed by Christof Loy, available for purchase as a Grammy-nominated DVD), and DIE SACHE MAKROPULOS (directed by David Hermann).
It is also working on a Benjamin Britten cycle with PETER GRIMES and BILLY BUDD (directed by David Alden), THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA (directed by Fiona Shaw) and DEATH IN VENICE (directed by Graham Vick).
In the upcoming season, one special artistic treat will be a presentation of the operatic works of Giacomo Meyerbeer, who was once among the greatest Berlin composers but is now almost forgotten.Works by the composer that have either already been performed or are in the planning stages include: DINORAH ODER DIE WALLFAHRT NACH PLOËRMEL (concertante, CD-publication planned for 2016), VASCO DA GAMA (directed by Vera Nemirova), DIE HUGENOTTEN (2016, directed by David Alden), and DER PROPHET (2017, directed by Olivier Py).
In the following seasons, central works of the repertoire were repeatedly presented to our audiences in new signatures: be it Verdi's AIDA (2015, director: Benedikt von Peter) or LA FORZA DEL DESTINO (2019, director: Frank Castorf), Richard Strauss' SALOME (2016, director: Claus Guth), Wagner's DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER (2017, director: Christian Spuck), Mozart's DIE ENTFÜHRUNG AUS DEM SERAIL (2016, director: Rodrigo García) or COSI FAN TUTTE (2016, directed by Robert Borgmann), be it Bizet's CARMEN (20018, directed by Ole Anders Tandberg), Bellini's LA SONNAMBULA (2019, directed by: Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito) or Offenbach's LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN (2018, directed by Laurent Pelly), Rossini's IL VIAGGIO A REIMS (2018, directed by Jan Bosse) or Massenet's DON QUICHOTTE (2019, directed by Jakop Ahlbom). In 2020 and 2021, the new production of the RING DES NIBELUNGEN was created in the staging of Stefan Herheim and under the musical direction of Sir Donald Runnicles, which is now available on DVD and Blu-ray, as is the MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRBERG, newly staged by Jossi Wieler, Sergio Morabito and Anna Viebrock. From 2023 onwards, a new Strauss cycle "Szenen einer Ehe" (Scenes of a Marriage) will also be created under the direction of Tobias Kratzer with the premieres ARABELLA (2023), INTERMEZZO (2024) and DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN (2025).
The orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, under General Music Director Donald Runnicles, ranks among the most outstanding musical ensembles in the country. Besides opera evenings, audiences can enjoy the orchestra during the Musikfest Berlin, at gala concerts in the Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, and at the BBC Prom. The renowned chorus has been named “Chorus of the Year” multiple times in the past for its outstanding achievements.
Since the 2012 season, when Dietmar Schwarz took over artistic direction, the Deutsche Oper Berlin has also had a second stage: the Tischlerei. As the name indicates: it was once a woodworking shop, but today young artists are developing new forms of opera and musical theater within its high workshop hall. Since the space was opened, approximately 9 premiers, revivals, and guest performances have taken place there each season. The architecturally open, flexible room determines the contour of the stage, encouraging performers to create musical theater that goes beyond the standard showcase. The space focuses exclusively on what’s new: inaugural performances of commissioned pieces, newly developed works, and new takes on older works. Productions for young people are a primary focus of the Tischlerei. Each year, it puts on at least one new opera for children and youth. Participatory projects, workshops, or presentations by the “Young Opera” (Junge Deutsche Oper) are a major priority. This arrangement, then, houses the musical theater of the 21st century under the same roof as the greatest operatic stage in Berlin. The orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin also offers two concert series: the Tischlerei concerts and the series “Jazz & Lyrics.”