The history of the Gala Nights began on October 21 1994 when journalist and presenter Ulrich Wickert hosted the first event. Among the contributing artists at the time were Lucia Aliberti, Agnes Baltsa, Marilyn Horne, Simon Estes, Jochen Kowalski, James Morris, Matti Salminen and Neil Shicoff. In the following year the night was hosted by Vicco von Bülow (Loriot), supported by the soloists Karan Armstrong, Robert Hale and René Kollo. With »Wagners Ring of the Nibelung in One Night« Loriot presented his very own take on »The Human and All Too Human Behaviour« in Wagner’s dramas.
After Hansjürgen Rosenbauer presented the third Gala Night with the support of the soloists Grace Bumbry, Montserrat Caballé, Ghena Dimitrova, Giacomo Arragall, Vladimir Chernov and Bernd Weikl, the following eight events until 2004 were again all hosted by Loriot. His so-called »necessary comments on examples of dramatic music« enraptured the audiences and were eye-openers to them – among them the Federal President and the Chancellor of Germany as well as other key representatives from society and politics. Loriot reveals the hidden secrets of the world of opera and shows how close this genre’s tragedy and pathos and intended and non-intended humour are to the major and minor catastrophes of every-day life.
In 2005 and 2006, several presenters such as Sabine Christiansen, Hellmuth Karasek, Helmut Lohner und Otto Sander took over from Loriot and since 2007 Max Raabe has been hosting the Gala Nights in his own sharp but relaxed way.
The Gala Nights of Deutsche Oper Berlin which have been headed by conductors such as Lawrence Foster, Jiri Kout, Kent Nagano, Christian Thielemann, Alain Altinoglu, Donald Runnicles combine the glamorous event with a light-hearted approach to the world of opera true to Loriot’s style and at the same time have helped those people in urgent need of support thanks to the considerable donations generated for the German AIDS-foundation since 1994.
With the exception of the second Gala Night every night was broadcast on television and some on radio, too. Since the tenth charity event in 2003 all opera galas have been recorded and are available on CD and/or DVD. A percentage of the income from CD/DVD sales also goes to the German AIDS-foundation.
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