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Über das Haus - Deutsche Oper Berlin

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

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Alternative: A virtual tour of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

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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. 

Over the course of a career spanning 45 years, Sir Donald Runnicles has built his reputation on enduring relationships with major symphonic and operatic institutions. Focusing on depth over breadth, he has held chief artistic leadership positions at the Deutsche Oper Berlin (since 2009), Grand Teton Music Festival (since 2005), San Francisco Opera (1992-2008), BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra (2009-2016), and Orchestra of St. Luke’s (2001-2007). Sir Donald was also Principal Guest Conductor of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for more than two decades (2001-2023), and he is the first ever Principal Guest Conductor of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (since 2019). In February 2024, Runnicles was appointed as Chief Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic, which will begin with the 2025/26 season.

Known as a consummate Wagnerian and conductor of German Romantic repertoire, Maestro Runnicles leads the DOB this season in a new production of the Richard Strauss rarity, INTERMEZZO, directed by Tobias Kratzer, as well as revival performances of PARSIFAL and two full cycles of Wagner’s RING DES NIBELUNGEN. At the Metropolitan Opera, he conducted eight performances of the Otto Schenk production of TANNHÄUSER. Other 2023/24 appearances include the Dresden Philharmonic, Dallas Symphony, Cincinnati Symphony, and Utah Symphony, where he led the world premiere of a new concerto written and performed by Sir Stephen Hough.

Mr. Runnicles spends his summers at the Grand Teton Music Festival in Jackson, Wyoming.  This eight-week festival of symphonic and chamber music, five of which are programmed, planned, and conducted by Runnicles as music director, takes place amid the breathtaking beauty of Grand Teton National Park. Summer 2024 GTMF festival highlights include a semi-staged THE MAGIC FLUTE, concerts with Augustin Hadelich and Yo-Yo Ma, and two fifth symphonies by Mahler and Vaughan Williams.

Runnicles’ 24/25 season opens with a 70th birthday celebratory concert closing the Edinburgh Festival with Bruckner 9th symphony, after which he opens the Dresden Philharmonic season and then continues to Berlin for a concert with the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchester as part of the Berlin Festival. Runnicles’ 2024/25 DOB season includes a new production of Richard Strauss’s DIE FRAU OHNE SCHATTEN and revivals of the Zemlinsky one-act opera DER ZWERG (The Dwarf), ARABELLA, INTERMEZZO, TRISTAN UND ISOLDE, and Verdi’s DON CARLO. He returns twice to Sydney Symphony over the course of the season and makes guest appearances in Chicago, Houston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, and Cincinnati.

Runnicles tours regularly with the DOB to destinations such as the Edinburgh International Festival, the London Proms, and Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman. He has joined the Philadelphia Orchestra on tours to China, summer residencies at Bravo! Vail Music Festival in Colorado, and annual subscription concerts. A frequent guest conductor with the Chicago Symphony, Runnicles’ performance history dates back to 1997. Over a decade-long relationship with the Vienna State Opera, he led new productions of PARSIFAL, Britten’s BILLY BUDD, and PETER GRIMES, as well as core repertoire pieces.

Mr. Runnicles' extensive discography includes recordings of Wagner’s TRISTAN AND ISOLDE, Mozart’s “Requiem”, Orff’s “Carmina Burana”, Britten’s BILLY BUDD, Humperdinck’s HANSEL AND GRETEL, Bellini’s I CAPULETI E I MONTECCHI, and Aribert Reimann’s L’INVISIBLE. His recording of Wagner arias with Jonas Kaufmann and the Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin won the 2013 Gramophone prize for Best Vocal Recording, and his recording of Janáček's JENŮFA with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin was nominated for a 2016 GRAMMY award for Best Opera Recording.

Sir Donald Runnicles was born and raised in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was appointed OBE in 2004, and was made a Knight Bachelor in 2020. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, and the San Francisco Conservatory of 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.

Since 1998, he has been Administrative Director of the Braunschweig State Theatre and, from 2004, also Deputy General Director of the State Theatre.
Since 1 August 2011, Thomas Fehrle has been Managing Director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Managing Director of Deutsche Oper Berlin Vermarktungs-GmbH. He is a member of the board of the Stiftung Oper in Berlin and a member of the board of the Stiftung für die Deutsche Oper Berlin, which was founded in November 2016.

Thomas Fehrle is 1st Chairman of the Berlin Stage Association.

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.

Contact and Information

Jessica Biehle
Assistent of the Executive Director
Telephone: +49 (0)30 34384 199
Fax: +49 (0)30 34384 682

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.”

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