Seven questions to ... Martin Muehle

In Tchaikovsky’s THE QUEEN OF SPADES Martin Muehle sings Herman, the besotted and addicted gambler. We put three questions to the German-Brazilian tenor

Herman hasn’t met the object of his affections yet, but he’s already head over heels in love with her. Have you ever been in love at several removes?
Oh, very often, yes! I was pretty shy in my teens and quite lovesick a number of times. And Tchaikovsky’s music conveys that bitter-sweet feeling of romantic suffering.

How much room for irrationality is there in love?
A lot. I don’t mean the pathological sort of craziness but in a salutary sense of being able to give free rein to your fantasy and breach moral boundaries. With the proviso that both parties are of one mind.

In THE QUEEN OF SPADES you sing in Russian. What aspect of that was the hardest thing for you?
The languages I sing in are usually ones that I can speak: German, Italian, French, Spanish. And because I don’t know Russian, I’ve got to learn the sound of the language as well as what the words mean. For over a year now I’ve been working on the role with language tutors and singing coaches! It takes time and application. Russian is lovely to sing. It has very open vowels, like Italian does, and it fits Tchaikovsky’s music beautifully.

How does a singer convey the madness of a character?
Tchaikovsky uses his music to depict madness. Everything is there in the music: potency, romance, power… I don’t need a lot of imagination to portray Herman. And anyway, I prefer singing broken characters; they’re more human. Many of the tenor roles involve people who are heroic and noble and almost superhuman. Doing Herman is about immersing yourself in human possibility.

Why does madness crop up so much in opera?
I’m guessing those characters have conflicting sides to their characters and are just more interesting. But in real life, too, there are probably more mentally sick people out there than we think. I wonder what has to happen for someone to end up in a situation like Herman’s. I know opera singers who were addicted to gambling, some of whom lost everything.

Any addictive streak in your nature?
I’ve dabbled in the Baden-Baden casino, but it didn’t really grab me, especially seeing as I lost everything in nothing flat and stopped playing immediately. Sweets, food, alcohol, cigarettes… Nope, no chance of addiction there.

No crypto-craving at all?
I crave the stage! I’m addicted to the shot of adrenalin that the stage gives me and to the business of pushing my boundaries.


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Der Adventskalender 2023

Just like cinnamon and biscuits, the musical Advent calendar is an integral part of the pre-Christmas period. In keeping with the motto "brevity is the spice of life", we will once again be presenting a varied programme in December from Monday to Friday from 5.00 p.m. in the foyers or in the Tischlerei to sweeten the wait for the big festive season. From the presentation of the new scholarship holders, who enrich the vocal ensemble, to readings, piano music and Christmas brass, to a visit from St Nicholas, there's something for everyone. Come along and experience our artists up close!

Our Advent Foyer Programme
Visit our chamber concerts and readings from Monday to Friday, from 5.00 p.m. to approx. 5.25 p.m., in the Rank foyer on the right, in the Parquet Foyer or in the Tischlerei. Admission is free.

1 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"An American Christmas" - Favourite songs from North and South America
with Julie Wyma, Valeria Delmé and Jamison Livsey

4 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
African American Spirituals
with Christian Simmons and John Parr

5 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet foyer
César Franck: Sonata in A major for violin and piano
with Elisabeth Heise-Glass and Elda Laro

6 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
St Nicholas comes to visit
with Gerard Farreras, Jens Holzkamp and the Junge Deutsche Oper

7 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet foyer
"Christmas is here again"
with the small chorus of the children's chorus, Rosemarie Arzt and Jitsu Park

8 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet foyer
Excerpts from Johann Sebastian Bach's "Christmas Oratorio"
with soloists from the children's and youth chorus and the chorus

11 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
"Ding Dong! Merrily on High"
with the VoiceChangers and Rosemarie Arzt

12 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
Our scholarship holders introduce themselves
with Hye-Young Moon, Lilit Davtyan, Youngkwang Oh and Pauli Jämsä

13 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Jewish music for Hanukkah
with Daniel Draganov, Natalie Buck and Maxime Perrin

14 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Roses et papillons" - songs by César Franck
with Andrea Schwarzbach and Christian Zacker

15 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Maurice Ravel: "Chansons madécasses"
with Arianna Manganello, Elda Laro, Arne-Christian Pelz, Ruth Pereira-Medina

18 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
"Four tubas for a Merry Christmas"
with Vikentios Gionanidis, Péter Kánya, Thomas Leyendecker and Thomas Richter

19 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Tischlerei
Karol Szymanowksi: Sonata for violin and piano, op. 9
with Magdalena Heinze and Elda Laro

20 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
The golden era of bel canto
with Arianna Manganello and Elda Laro

21 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Rank foyer on the right
Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen" - A reading
with Dietmar Schwarz and Fanny Frohnmeyer

22 December 2023 | 5.00 p.m. | Parquet foyer
Christmas singing together
with the brass players of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

All further information in the respective daily door on our homepage

Raffles at the weekends
Because an Advent calendar is of course also filled at weekends and on Christmas Eve, you will find online prize draws on our homepage on Saturdays and Sundays as well as on 24 December. We would like to take this opportunity to thank our co-operation partners such as NAXOS and Sauerländer Audio.