More popular than almost any other stage work by Richard Wagner, DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG is loved and hated at the same time. The play combines a light-hearted comedy plot with a summer night's drunken play about the delusion and reality of love, but at the same time it claims to be a founding manifesto of German national art and is thus historically charged in its reception like hardly any other work by Richard Wagner. At the same time, however, and first and foremost, DIE MEISTERSINGER is a play about music and music-making.
Music is the central purpose of life for almost all the characters in the play. To serve and cultivate it is the purpose of the "Meistersinger guild", which has set itself a strict and demanding set of rules. The service of music thus also determines the lives of David and Magdalena, the apprentice boys and girls, and especially that of Eva, the daughter of the rich Veit Pogner. He gives her the choice of a groom - on one condition: "it must be a master", the winner of a public singing competition. And so, out of love for Eva, Walther von Stolzing, the only "non-musician" of the stage crew, although highly gifted musically, agrees to this. He finds help from Hans Sachs, of all people. He is the "master" and at the same time the reformer of that art world - and also in love with Eva.
Telling THE MASTER SINGERS in a world dedicated to music is also the starting point for the directorial concept of Jossi Wieler, Anna Viebrock and Sergio Morabito. In it, they tell of the rules like ossified dogmas that determine this world and which thus become examples for numerous life contexts in which people set rules, subordinate themselves and find refuge with them or break out and want to escape. They put a play on stage in which singers play singers in order to tell a story about singing. And they show characters like that of Hans Sachs, who as an ageing man renounces his love for Eva in favour of a younger man and at the same time wants to reform the system, but does not shy away from demagogy and populism - while now and then the breath of history blows in the ghosts of the Meistersinger past.
Conductor: John Fiore
Production: Jossi Wieler, Anna Viebrock, Sergio Morabito
Set design: Anna Viebrock
With Johan Reuter, Albert Pesendorfer, Gideon Poppe, Simon Pauly, Philipp Jekal, Thomas Lehman, Jörg Schörner, Clemens Bieber, Burkhard Ulrich, Stephen Bronk, Tobias Kehrer, Byung Gil Kim, Klaus Florian Vogt, Ya-Chung Huang, Heidi Stober, Annika Schlicht a. o.
The performances on 29 June and 2 July 2022 were recorded. A DVD / Blu ray of this production is being produced as a collaboration between Deutsche Oper Berlin and Naxos and is expected to be released in early summer 2023. rbb Kultur also broadcast the performance on 2 July live from Deutsche Oper Berlin.
The DVD or Blu-ray disc is scheduled for release on 10 November 2023.
The Antichrist makes his entrance into a godless world. Sent by Lucifer into the world, he adopts many guises. Mankind is tested and tempted by pride, lust, lies, despondency and hatred in an “all-against-all altercation”. Langgaard’s opera is suffused with fin de siècle atmosphere and pessimism, warning of catastrophe and denouncing the vices of the modern age: egotism, arrogance, frivolity. Langgaard, though, was also an optimist, convinced of the transformative, transcendental power of art and the importance of music as a thread connecting people to the godhead. So it is that the world is freed of all evil and sorrow in the culminating chorus scene in ANTIKRIST.
The work, composed in the early 1920s, drastically revised up until 1930 and referred to by Langgaard as his “church opera”, is a monument within the oeuvre of the Danish composer, which itself is dotted with striking and unusual compositions. Based on John’s Book of Revelation, it is a mystery play dominated by apocalyptic references which does little to conceal the turn-of-the-century mood – and the associative libretto can be analysed from today’s historical perspective. A spark of hope in the darkness is provided by the dazzling music, a score that is Late Romantic and orchestral in influence but constantly collapsing or distilling into austere details. This is the solitary artist Langgaard discovering his personal style, one that, albeit reminiscent of Strauss and Wagner, is also a nod to his contemporaries Hindemith and Schönberg. The symbolism of the text, the switching and changing music and the muscularity of the whole makes ANTIKRIST one of the most remarkable experiments in 1920s opera.
In the eyes of multi-award-winning director Ersan Mondtag, Langgaard’s opera foretelling a doomsday frenzy is a parable of our own times. His visually arresting production touches on issues such as social fragmentation, the roughening of public discourse and the increasingly bitter climate debate. These concerns are not permitted to out-do the scintillating richness of Langgaard’s music, much of which is purely orchestral: Rob Fordeyn’s choreography is a riveting physical rendition of the score. In his super-aestheticised, expressionist visuals Mondtag is referencing the fine art from the period of ANTIKRIST’s creation, presenting a surreal world in which the laws of physics seem to have been suspended. In his late-capitalist-era urban landscape the world is on the verge of collapse: a car plummets from above, satanic figures swirl around, people are tested and set loose on each other. The punchy, exaggeratedly fantastical images of the director, whose ANTIKRIST in 2022 was his first opera to be staged in Berlin, are perfectly suited to Langgaard’s end-time mystery.
Conductor: Stephan Zilias
Production, Stage: Ersan Mondtag
Costumes: Annika Lu, Ersan Mondtag
Lighting: Rainer Casper
Choreography: Rob Fordeyn
Dramaturgy: Carolin Müller-Dohle
Chorus Master: Jeremy Bines
With Thomas Lehman, Jonas Grundner-Culemann, Valeriia Savinskaia, Irene Roberts, Clemens Bieber, Maire Therese Carmack, Flurina Stucki, AJ Glueckert, Andrew Dickinson, Joel Allison and Ashley Wright, Joel Donald Small, Giorgia Bovo, Vasna Felicia Aguilar, Yuri Shimaoka, Juan Corres Benito, György Jellinek, Derrick Amanatidis, Shih-Ping Lin, Ulysse Zangs, Sakura Inoue, Ana Dordevic; Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
The performances of ANTIKRIST on 10 and 12 February 2023 were recorded. A DVD / Blu ray of this production is being produced as a collaboration between Naxos and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Vienna, circa 1860. The financially strapped Count Waldner is lodging with his family in a Viennese hotel. His only path to solvency is for him to secure an advantageous marriage for one of his two daughters – and the family can only afford to present Arabella, the eldest, in the upper circles of society. To conceal the family’s indigence, the parents have raised Zdenka as a boy, dressing her accordingly. Arabella is not short of suitors but has resolved to wait for ‘Mr Right’. When Mandryka, an aristocrat from a distant region, arrives, he and Arabella are instantly smitten. Arabella only asks to be able to bid farewell to her friends and suitors at the Fasching ball that evening.
At the ball, Arabella says goodbye to her admirers. There is also the young officer Matteo, with whom Zdenka is secretly in love and with whom she has formed a friendship under the guise of her disguise as a boy. Matteo, however, desires Arabella and is distraught when he realises the hopelessness of his love. Zdenka devises a plan: she fakes a letter from Arabella in which she promises Matteo a night of love together. But instead she wants to wait for him herself in the darkness of the hotel room. Mandryka learns of Arabella's alleged infidelity and goes to the hotel with the ball guests to surprise Arabella in flagrante delicto. Arabella, innocent of this, is initially shocked and saddened by Mandryka’s suspicions but forgives him when the mix-up is revealed for what it is. The two agree to marry, as do Zdenka and Matteo.
Richard Strauss’s orchestral richness and opulence coupled with the period Viennese setting of the work led to ARABELLA being falsely pigeonholed as a light-hearted comedy of errors from its 1933 premiere onwards. In the estimation of Tobias Kratzer, however, who triumphed at the Deutsche Oper with his production of Alexander von Zemlinsky’s THE DWARF, this final collaboration between Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal marks a collision of two world views: the traditional roles of men and women on the one hand – as expressed in Arabella’s famous solo “Und du sollst mein Gebieter sein” – and a modern idea of social interaction on the other – as illustrated by Zdenka with her questioning of gender-based identities. Here, Kratzer turns the spotlight on this disunity between the various character portrayals in ARABELLA and explores these role-specific tensions on a continuum stretching from 19th-century Vienna to the present day.
Conductor: Sir Donald Runnicles
Production: Tobias Kratzer
Stage, costumes: Rainer Sellmaier
Choreography: Jeroen Verbruggen
Lighting: Stefan Woinke
Video: Jonas Dahl, Manuel Braun
Chorus Master: Jeremy Bines
With Albert Pesendorfer, Doris Soffel, Sara Jakubiak, Elena Tsallagova, Russell Braun, Robert Watson, Thomas Blondelle, Kyle Miller, Tyler Zimmerman, Hye-Young Moon, Lexi Hutton, Jörg Schörner a. o.; Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
The performances of ARABELLA on 18 and 23 March 2023 were recorded by rbb Kultur and Naxos. A DVD / Blu-ray of this production is being produced as a collaboration between Naxos and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
Few female characters inspired the art of the late 19th century as lastingly as the Judean princess Salome, who legend has it was responsible for the beheading of John the Baptist. In France especially, writers, painters and composers were transfixed by the subject and its heady blend of orientalism, eroticism, decadence and opulence. No less so Jules Massenet, although his treatment, which received its world premiere in Brussels in 1881, focused not on the royal child-woman Salome, whom Richard Strauss was to take as his main protagonist a quarter of a century later, but on her mother Herodias, the wife of King Herod. Strauss’s rendition, his first triumph in the opera genre, kicked open the door to the 20th century, while Massenet’s version, with its pathos, posturing and Hollywood-worthy script, marks one of the last hurrahs of 19th-century grand opéra. With his cast featuring a queen whose jealousy is to blame for her daughter’s death, an enigmatic soothsayer, a prophet who is not immune to feelings of love, a vacillating ruler and a princess who displays a heroic degree of love, Massenet presents a multitude of striking characters and includes a liberal dash of local colour with his use of Hebrew and oriental motifs.
For the concert performance at Deutsche Oper Berlin, the great French mezzo-soprano Clémentine Margaine returned to the house where she celebrated successes as Carmen, Marguerite in LA DAMNATION DE FAUST and most recently as Fidès in LE PROPHÈTE.
Conductor: Enrique Mazzola
Chorus Master: Jeremy Bines
With Etienne Dupuis, Clémentine Margaine, Nicole Car, Matthew Polenzani, Marko Mimica, Dean Murphy, Kyle Miller, Sua Jo, Thomas Cilluffo, Chorus and Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin
The performances of HÉRODIADE on 15 and 18 June 2023 will be recorded. A CD of this production will be produced as a collaboration between Naxos/OEHMS and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
From its opening in 1912 until the 1950s, operetta in all its forms played an important role in the history of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, as evidenced by the number of performances and premieres, and at times was almost equal in importance to the genres of opera and ballet. This changed fundamentally after the opening of the new house in 1961. Since then, the Deutsche Oper Berlin's rare involvement with operetta has been limited almost exclusively to the undisputed masterpieces of the genre from the 19th century, such as DIE FLEDERMAUS by Johann Strauss and some of Jacques Offenbach's Opéras bouffes.
The only exception was Franz Lehár's DIE LUSTIGE WITWE, which had its premiere on 15 December 1979 in a staging by August Everding. The Deutsche Oper Berlin approached the work of the "light muse" like a heavyweight. Gwyneth Jones, René Kollo and Siegried Jerusalem sang the main roles in elaborate fantasy worlds of the Belle Époque devised by the set designer José Varona. Lucy Peacock, Benno Kusche and Peter Maus were among the other protagonists of the ensemble conducted by Caspar Richter. Erik Ode, steeled by 97 episodes as Inspector Keller in the television series "Der Kommissar", acted in the speaking role of Njegus, the chancellor at the Pontevedrine legation.
ZDF brought the splendour live into German living rooms on New Year's Eve 1979. The recording of this memorable project is expected to be released by Arthaus Musik in the spring of 2021 as the 14th recording in the large edition of the Deutsche Oper Berlin with DVD first releases of television recordings of the house from 1961 to 1989.
DVD „Graf Ory“
In 2010, Matthias Henneberger, the in-house counsel and media representative of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, inspired the Arthaus Musik label with the idea of releasing early television recordings of opera productions on DVD for the first time to mark the 100th anniversary of the Deutsche Oper. This involved a total of 15 recordings from the years 1961 to 1987, seemingly inaccessible and waiting to be rediscovered in the archives of rbb (formerly SFB) and ZDF with broadcasting rights that had long since expired.
It took two more years of intensive and worldwide research to find out the whereabouts of all the artists in the recordings or, if they were already deceased, their heirs, and to obtain the necessary consents for publication. The publications then began with Mozart's DON GIOVANNI; the recording of the legendary 1961 opening production of the new Deutsche Oper Berlin building, directed by Carl Ebert and featuring Ferenc Fricsay, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Elisabeth Grümmer, Pilar Lorengar, Walter Berry, Donald Grobe, Josef Greindl and Erika Köth. Up to 2014, 12 further opera productions followed, including recordings such as OTELLO (1962) with Renata Tebaldi, FIDELIO (1963) with Christa LudwIg as well as Korngold's DIE TOTE STADT (1983) and Offenbach's ORPHEUS IN DER UNTERWELT (1984), both staged by Götz Friedrich.
After a break of several years, the edition is to be completed in the 2021/22 season with the last two remaining recordings. The first will be the recording of Franz Lehár's DIE LUSTIGE WITWE from 1979 directed by August Everding with Gwyneth Jones, René Kollo, Siegfried Jerusalem and actor Erik Ode. It will be followed by Gioacchino Rossini's rarely performed comic opera GRAF ORY.
GRAF ORY, a recording from 1964, is not the earliest recording in the edition, but it goes back further in the history of the Deutsche Oper Berlin than any other recording in this series. The premiere, staged by the then artistic director Carl Ebert, took place on 4 March 1957 still in the Städtische Oper, which had found quarters in the Theater des Westens after the destruction of the main building on Bismarckstraße due to the war. With 40 performances in two years, the production of Rossini's unknown opera became an unexpectedly great success with audiences, which was probably due in no small part to the equally surprising and ravishing set design by Jean-Pierre Ponelle (1982-1988), who was then still at the very beginning of his world career as a set designer and opera director.
The production of GRAF ORY, just like the other productions of the Städtische Oper, was not transferred to the newly built building of the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1961 because of the much smaller stage dimensions of the Theater des Westens. However, the success of the production was so vividly remembered that in 1964 the SFB decided to reconstruct the staging and set of GRAF ORY for recordings in the Berlin studios of Accord Filmproduktion and to film it with conductor Hans Hilsdorf, the orchestra and chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the soloists Martin Häusler, Stina-Britta Melander, Ernst Krukowski, Fritz Hoppe and the great contralto Margarete Klose (1902-1968) in the small role of Apollonia.
Only one copy of this film, which was shot in black and white according to the practice of television stations at the time, could be found in the archives. Although otherwise in excellent quality, the film reel had a continuous optical defect in the shots of the 2nd and 3rd acts. This made it necessary to extensively restore the damaged parts of the film at Arthaus Musik's studios in Halle. Once this restoration work has been completed, the DVD will be released in 2022 as the 15th and last opera recording in the Deutsche Oper Berlin's large DVD edition.
The DVD of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's rarely performed masterpiece DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE has been awarded the OPUS KLASSIK, the best-known prize for classical music in Germany and successor to the Echo Klassik. The award for the recording produced by the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Naxos label was given for the best recording in the category "20th/21st century opera recording". The recording of the production directed by Christof Loy featured Marc Albrecht as conductor, Sara Jakubiak, Brian Jadge and Josef Wagner in the main roles, as well as the orchestra and chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.
The DVD of HELIANE was in "best company" for this choice. Alongside it, the CD of Detlev Glanert's new opera OCEANE, produced by Deutsche Oper Berlin and the OehmsClassics label, was one of the three opera recordings that made it to the final selection of nominations for this category.
However, the world premiere of OCEANE documented by the CD, which took place on 28 April 2019 at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, paved the way for another award winner: Detlev Glanert was awarded the OPUS KLASSIK as "Composer of the Year" for this work.
We congratulate Detlev Glanert and all the contributors to the DVD DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE on these awards!
Between the spring of 2018 and 2021, four DVD productions have already been made as a result of the new cooperation between the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the producer Naxos. The success story of this collaboration began with the DVD of Erich Wolfgang Korngold's almost forgotten masterpiece DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE, which was awarded the OPUS KLASSIK 2020 after its release. Two more recordings followed in 2019: in spring, the recording of Alexander von Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG, which was nominated for the GRAMMY AWARD 2021 after its release, and in autumn, the recording of Chaya Czernowin's new opera HEART CHAMBER. The DVD, which in addition to the complete recording of HEART CHAMBER also includes a documentary film about the world premiere production, is due for release in spring 2021. The last of the previous recordings was also of a real rarity, Riccardo Zandonai's little-known masterpiece FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, in March 2021. The DVD of this opera, whose premiere was streamed live on 14 March, is expected to be available in spring 2022.
Further recordings of new productions of Deutsche Oper Berlin by Naxos are planned for the coming seasons. Joint plans also include a double DVD of highlights from 26 years of the Festive Opera Gala's existence for the German AIDS Foundation, bringing together many of its most prominent contributors and scheduled for release by the end of this year.
Television in HD format is generally regarded as a technical development of recent years. All the more surprising, therefore, is what the production company EuroArts was able to announce as early as 1991: "The first television recording in the history of West German television in HDTV with European standard". The venue for this technical innovation was the Deutsche Oper Berlin, its subject Giacomo Meyerbeer's DIE HUGENOTTEN in John Dew's production. The pioneering act, described by the production company as an "option for the future", was soon forgotten. Due to a lack of suitable transmission and reception technology, the broadcasts on television took place in the classic broadcast format; for the home video sector, the recording was first released on video cassette and since then on DVD. In the course of preparing the DVD reissue of DIE HUGENOTTEN, however, the Arthaus Musik label decided to take on the early HD format of the recording as well. After successful restoration, DIE HUGENOTTEN are now also available on Blu ray Disc - and thus for the first time in their original optical quality - more than 20 years after their recording.
Four complete opera recordings of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1987 to 1995 and the recording of the 14th Festive Opera Gala for the German AIDS Foundation from 2007 had already been released by Arthaus Musik when the opera house and the label agreed in 2010 to intensify their collaboration once again within the framework of a DVD cooperation. The cooperation began with the release of the recording of RIENZI, THE LAST OF THE TRIBUNES (2010), followed by Richard Strauss' DIE LIEBE DER DANAE (2011). Then it was the anniversary of the 100th anniversary of the Deutsche Oper Berlin that provided the occasion for an ambitious and extraordinarily elaborate project, an edition of DVD first releases of television recordings of the house from 1961 to 1987. The series began in October 2011 with the 1961 recording of DON GIOVANNI, the opening premiere of the Deutsche Oper Berlin's new building. Since then, the project has become one of the world's largest DVD editions of its kind, with 13 opera recordings to date, available both as individual DVDs and in two anniversary box sets of five recordings each. In parallel, Arthaus Musik produced the 90-minute documentary film "Overture 1912 - The Deutsche Oper Berlin" directed by Enrique Sánchez Lansch together with RBB, which was first shown on television in October 2012 and is now also available on DVD. In addition, Arthaus Musik released DIE HUGENOTTEN (1991) and TRISTAN UND ISOLDE (1993), which are among the world's first opera recordings in HD format and were previously only available in traditional technology on video and DVD, for the first time in their original HD version on Blu ray Disc in 2013. In June 2015, the Janácek opera JENUFA under the musical direction of Donald Runnicles and directed by Christof Loy was released as a further and now 22nd DVD of the Deutsche Oper Berlin by Arthaus Musik, which was nominated for a GRAMMY AWARD after its release.
Current plans within the framework of the collaboration include the completion of the major DVD edition of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The recording of Lehár's DIE LUSTIGE WITWE from 1979 with Gwyneth Jones, René Kollo and Siegfried Jerusalem in the leading roles is to be released this year. And the finale, then the 15th DVD in the edition, will be Rossini's rarely performed opera COUNT ORY, based on one of the most successful productions of the Städtische Oper from 1957, which was filmed with the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper Berlin in 1964. The DVD of this recording will be released after the completion of the current extensive restoration of the only surviving original of the film material.
We will keep you informed about the progress of the current projects and other future plans and publications on this website