No Wagner without Beethoven

Without Beethoven, there would be no Richard Wagner. Beethoven’s influence on the century after him is so comprehensive that it cannot be measured. Beethoven’s music was a reaction to 1789; he set the ideas of the French Revolution to music – liberty, equality, fraternity. When the young Richard Wagner mounted the barricades in Dresden in 1848, about sixty years later, he was fighting for the same ideas, and had long discovered Beethoven as his musical role model.

Many theatres like to draw imaginary boundaries between symphonic music and musical theatre. I refuse to acknowledge that boundary; every orchestra, every piece of music sings – whether there is a singer involved or not. People always perceive a vocal element in music. Music breathes, the audience breathes with us, as a conductor I breathe with a singer, with a pianist, and I always try to make the orchestra sing, whether we are playing a symphony or an opera. In this regard, I approach a Wagner opera exactly as I would a Ninth Symphony.

»Every orchestra, every piece of music sings. It doesn’t matter whether there is a singer involved or not.«

While working on the Ninth, it dawned upon Beethoven that what he wanted to express required human voices, a chorus. So he incorporated Schiller’s »Ode to Joy« into his composition. And in this manner, he opened the symphonic genre – or tore it wide open, in a positive sense. FIDELIO contains worlds upon worlds. This is where ideas were developed, paths forged, enabling later composers, careers and entire genres to crystallize. FIDELIO begins as an opera buffa, then turns into a melodrama and a tone poem, long before Franz Liszt or Richard Strauss came along.

I encounter Beethoven’s ideas all the time, whether in Gustav Mahler or Johannes Brahms. There is a reason why Brahms’ first symphony, which he wrote at the age of 44, is sometimes jestingly called Beethoven’s Tenth. Ludwig van Beethoven, like Johann Sebastian Bach, created musical watersheds. You can divide time into before and after the St. Matthew Passion, before and after the Fifth, before and after FIDELIO. These are all works which were so new at their time that they changed everything that followed in a universal and profound way.


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Adventskalender im Foyer: Das 7. Fensterchen

Today in the foyer: "Now Christmas is here again"
with the small choir of the children's chorus, Rosemarie Arzt and Jisu Park
5.00 p.m. / Parquet foyer
Duration: approx. 25 minutes / free admission

Before joining the large children's and youth chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, the basics of choral singing must be learnt from the ground up. That's why there's the small chorus in the children's chorus. Here, under the expert direction of Rosemarie Arzt, children between the ages of 6 and 10 practise and learn to sing. Today you can experience the smallest of the little ones with their Advent and Christmas programme and songs such as "Jetzt ist wieder Weihnacht da" or "Lied von den Schneeflocken".

Around 150 active singers make up our children's chorus, which is an important and heavily involved ensemble partner in numerous operas. The members come together at least twice a week to make music under the direction of Christian Lindhorst. Over the course of the 2023/24 season, the children and young people aged between 9 and 16 have performed in CARMEN, PAGLIACCI, LA BOHÈME, MATTHÄUS-PASSION, HÄNSEL UND GRETEL, PARSIFAL, PIQUE DAME, TOSCA and TURANDOT. Since last season, choral soloists from the children's and youth choir have also sung the part of the three boys in performances of DIE ZAUBERFLÖTE. In external performances and concerts at venues such as the Chamber Music Hall of the Philharmonie, the children's chorus of Deutsche Oper Berlin covers a range from baroque to modern. On 17 December 2023, the chorus will perform Johann Sebastian Bach's "Christmas Oratorio" together with the Kammersymphonie Berlin at the Apostel-Paulus-Kirche in Schöneberg. Two solo sopranos - Erik Kellner and Klara Gothe - are cast from the choir's own ranks!

The children's chorus is sponsored by Dobolino e.V.