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The Deutsche Oper Berlin is a German opera company located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin. The resident building is the country's second largest opera house (after Munich's) and also home to the Berlin State Ballet.
Since 2004, the Deutsche Oper Berlin, like the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin State Opera), the Komische Oper Berlin, the Berlin State Ballet, and the Bühnenservice Berlin (Stage and Costume Design), has been a member of the Berlin Opera Foundation.
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The company's history goes back to the Deutsches Opernhaus built by the then independent city of Charlottenburg—the "richest town of Prussia"—according to plans designed by Heinrich Seeling from 1911. It opened on 7 November 1912 with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio , conducted by Ignatz Waghalter. In 1925, after the incorporation of Charlottenburg by the 1920 Greater Berlin Act, the name of the resident building was changed to Städtische Oper (Municipal Opera).
With the Nazi seizure of power in 1933, the opera was under control of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Minister Joseph Goebbels had the name changed back to Deutsches Opernhaus, competing with the Berlin State Opera in Mitte controlled by his rival, the Prussian minister-president Hermann Göring. In 1935, the building was remodeled by Paul Baumgarten and the seating reduced from 2,300 to 2,098 places. Carl Ebert, the pre-World War II general manager, chose to emigrate from Germany rather than endorse the Nazi view of music, and went on to co-found the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England.He was replaced by Max von Schillings, who acceded to demands that he enact works of "unalloyed German character". Several artists, like the conductor Fritz Stiedry and the singer Alexander Kipnis, followed Ebert into emigration. The opera house was destroyed by a Royal Air Force air raid on 23 November 1943. Performances continued at the Admiralspalast in Mitte until 1945. Ebert returned to serve as general manager after the war.
After the war, in what had now been called West Berlin, the company, again called Städtische Oper, used the nearby Theater des Westens; its opening production was Fidelio, on 4 September 1945. Its home was finally rebuilt in 1961 but to a much-changed, sober design by Fritz Bornemann. The opening production of the newly renamed Deutsche Oper, on 24 September, was Mozart's Don Giovanni .
On the evening of 2 June 1967, Benno Ohnesorg, a student taking part in the German student movement, was shot in the streets around the opera house. He had been protesting against the visit to Germany by the Shah of Iran, who was attending a performance of Mozart's The Magic Flute .
Past Generalmusikdirektoren (GMD, general music directors) have included Bruno Walter, Kurt Adler, Ferenc Fricsay, Lorin Maazel, Gerd Albrecht, Jesús López-Cobos, Giuseppe Sinopoli, and Christian Thielemann. In April 2001, Sinopoli died at the podium while conducting Aida , at age 54. In October 2005, Renato Palumbo was appointed GMD as of the 2006–2007 season.In October 2007, the Deutsche Oper announced the appointment of Donald Runnicles as their next Generalmusikdirektor, effective August 2009, for an initial contract of five years. Simultaneously, Palumbo and the Deutsche Oper mutually agreed to terminate his contract, effective November 2007. In November 2020, the company announced the most recent extension of Runnicles' contract as its GMD, through 2027.
The current Intendant (artistic director) of the company is Dietmar Schwarz, and his current contract with the company is through 31 July 2025.The current executive director of the company is Thomas Fehrle, who is currently contracted with the company through 2027.
In September 2006, the Deutsche Oper's then- Intendantin (general manager) Kirsten Harms drew criticism after she cancelled the production of Mozart's opera Idomeneo by Hans Neuenfels, because of fears that a scene in that production featuring the severed heads of Jesus, Buddha and Muhammad would offend Muslims, and that the opera house's security might come under threat if violent protests took place. (This is a departure from the original libretto, in which there is no such scene.) Critics of the decision include German Ministers and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel.The reaction from Muslims was mixed. The leader of Germany's Islamic Council welcomed the decision, whilst a leader of Germany's Turkish community, criticising the decision, said:
At the end of October 2006, the opera house announced that performances of Mozart's opera Idomeneo would then proceed.
Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau was a German lyric baritone and conductor of classical music, one of the most famous Lieder performers of the post-war period, best known as a singer of Franz Schubert's Lieder, particularly "Winterreise" of which his recordings with accompanists Gerald Moore and Jörg Demus are still critically acclaimed half a century after their release.
The Komische Oper Berlin is a German opera company based in Berlin. The company produces opera, operetta and musicals.
Elisabeth Grümmer was a German soprano. She has been described as "a singer blessed with elegant musicality, warm-hearted sincerity, and a voice of exceptional beauty".
Michael Andreas Gielen was an Austrian conductor and composer known for promoting contemporary music in opera and concert. Principally active in Europe, his performances are characterized by precision and vivacity, aiding his ability to interpret the complex contemporary music he specialized in.
Ferenc Fricsay was a Hungarian conductor. From 1960 until his death, he was an Austrian citizen.
Christian Thielemann is a German conductor. He is currently chief conductor of the Staatskapelle Dresden and the director of the Salzburg Easter Festival.
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Ulf Schirmer is a German conductor and opera house administrator.
Carl Anton Charles Ebert, was an actor, stage director and arts administrator.
Sir Donald Cameron Runnicles OBE HonFRSE is a Scottish conductor.
Since the 18th century Berlin has been an influential musical center in Germany and Europe. First as an important trading city in the Hanseatic League, then as the capital of the electorate of Brandenburg and the Prussian Kingdom, later on as one of the biggest cities in Germany it fostered an influential music culture that remains vital until today. Berlin can be regarded as the breeding ground for the powerful choir movement that played such an important role in the broad socialization of music in Germany during the 19th century.
George Alexander Albrecht was a German conductor and composer, who also worked as a musicologist and academic teacher. A prolific composer at a young age, he was Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) of the Staatsoper Hannover from 1965 for 30 years, where he led not only the major operas by Mozart and stageworks by Wagner, but contemporary composers, such as Aribert Reimann's Troades in 1987. He was GMD of the Nationaltheater Weimar from 1996, and taught at the Hochschule für Musik Franz Liszt, Weimar. Albrecht promoted the works of neglected composers such as Wilhelm Furtwängler, Hans Pfitzner, and Erwin Schulhoff.
The Theater des Westens is one of the most famous theatres for musicals and operettas in Berlin, Germany, located at Kantstraße 10–12 in Charlottenburg. It was founded in 1895 for plays. The present house was opened in 1896 and dedicated to opera and operetta. Enrico Caruso made his debut in Berlin here, and the Ballets Russes appeared with Anna Pavlova. In the 1930s it was run as the Volkstheater Berlin. After World War II it served as the temporary opera house of Berlin, the Städtische Oper. In 1961 it became the first theatre in Germany to show musicals. Since then it has become the "German equivalent of Broadway extravaganzas", putting on plays and musical comedies.
William B. Murray was an American opera baritone, who performed in Europe from 1960 to 1990. According to the New Grove Dictionary of Opera he was "a stylish singer and a fine actor" who "excels in dramatic and character roles."
Hans Wallat was a German conductor, GMD in Bremen, at the Nationaltheater Mannheim, Theater Dortmund and Deutsche Oper am Rhein. A specialist for the stage works of Richard Wagner, he appeared at the Bayreuth Festival and internationally.
Rudolf Sellner, born Gustav Rudolf Sellner was a German actor, dramaturge, stage director, and intendant. He represented in the 1950s a radical Instrumentales Theater. After decades of acting and directing plays, he turned to staging operas, and was a long-time intendant of the Deutsche Oper Berlin from 1961, when the Berlin Wall was built. He staged notable world premieres, including Ernst Barlach's play Der Graf von Ratzeburg in 1951, Ionesco's Mörder ohne Bezahlung in 1958, Giselher Klebe's Alkmene in 1961 for the opening of the Deutsche Oper, and Aribert Reimann's opera Melusine in 1971.
Rolf Reuter was a German conductor.
Stefan Soltész is an Austrian conductor of Hungarian origin. Trained in Vienna, he was from 1997 to 2013 he was artistic director of the Aalto Theatre and Generalmusikdirektor in Essen, leading the opera house to international recognition.
Mathieu Lange was a German musician, conductor and from 1952 to 1973 director of the Sing-Akademie zu Berlin. He hadn't gone by his first name Carl since 1950.
Elena Tsallagova is a Russian operatic soprano who has performed at major opera houses and festivals in Europe. She was noticed internationally as Nanetta in Verdi's Falstaff at the Glyndebourne Festival, and in the title role of Janáček's The Cunning Little Vixen at the Paris Opera. She has been a member of Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2013, performing lead roles such as Debussy's Mélisande, Gilda in Verdi's Rigoletto and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier by Richard Strauss.
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