Oper Frankfurt

Last updated

Oper Frankfurt
Bernd Loebe
Parent organization
Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt
Website oper-frankfurt.de
Building details
Oper Frankfurt
General information
Coordinates 50°06′29″N8°40′27″E / 50.10806°N 8.67417°E / 50.10806; 8.67417
Other information
Seating capacity1,369 (Opernhaus) [1]
Public transit access
  • Frankfurt U1.svg Frankfurt U2.svg Frankfurt U3.svg Frankfurt U4.svg Frankfurt U5.svg Frankfurt U8.svg Willy-Brandt-Platz
  • Strassenbahn-Logo traffiQ.svg 11, 12, 14, 18 Willy-Brandt-Platz
  • Omnibus-Logo traffiQ.svg N11, N12, N4, N5, N8 Willy-Brandt-Platz

The Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera) is a German opera company based in Frankfurt.


Opera in Frankfurt am Main has a long tradition, with many world premieres such as Franz Schreker's Der ferne Klang in 1912, Fennimore und Gerda by Frederick Delius in 1919, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in 1937. Frankfurt's international recognition began in the Gielen Era, 1977 to 1987, when Michael Gielen and stage directors such as Ruth Berghaus collaborated.

A historic opera house from 1880 was destroyed in World War II, and reconstructed as a concert hall, the Alte Oper. The present opera house, built in 1963, is under one roof with the stage for drama. The opera orchestra is called Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester. Today's venue for Baroque and contemporary opera is the Bockenheimer Depot, a former tram depot.

Voted best 'Opera house of the year' by Opernwelt several times since 1996, including 2020, 2022 and 2023, Oper Frankfurt is part of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt. It received the "Opera Company of the Year" award at the 2013 International Opera Awards. [2]


Early history

Frankfurt's first opera was Johann Theile's Adam und Eva, performed in 1698 by Johann Velten's touring company. The young Goethe's first operas in his home town of Frankfurt were productions by Theobald Marchand's company. [3]

1782 – 1880

Former theater and opera venue Comoedienhaus in 1902 Frankfurt Comoedienhaus 1902.jpg
Former theater and opera venue Comoedienhaus in 1902

Opened in 1782, the Comoedienhaus was the first permanent venue of the Frankfurt Theater (drama and opera). [4] In 1878 German violinist Willy Hess took up the leadership of the Oper Frankfurt. He resigned from that post in 1886 to take up a professorship in the Rotterdam Conservatorium voor Muziek. [5]

1880 – 1944

Former opera house(now concert hall Alte Oper) from Opernplatz in 1900 Frankfurt opera.jpg
Former opera house(now concert hall Alte Oper) from Opernplatz in 1900

The first representative opera house of the city was inaugurated in Frankfurt in 1880 at Opernplatz. Under the direction of the first Intendant Emil Claar  [ de ] and the first Kapellmeister Felix Otto Dessoff, the house was opened with Mozart's opera Don Giovanni . [6]

During the 1920s, the opera in Frankfurt had more prominent Jewish singers than any other company in Germany, including the tenor Hermann Schramm, bass Hans Erl (the first King in Schreker's Der Schatzgräber ), baritone Richard Breitenfeld and contralto Magda Spiegel, who also toured with Frankfurt Opera performing Wagner in the Netherlands. These singers were forced to leave the opera in June 1933. Orff's Carmina Burana was premiered at Oper Frankfurt in 1937. [7] Jewish members of the opera company among those rounded up at 9 November 1938 at the Festhalle Frankfurt, where Erl sang In diesen Heilgen Hallen, from the Magic Flute for the deportees. [8] Members of Frankfurt Opera were sent to Auschwitz and other camps where they perished.

1945 – 1970s

Interior of the opera house in 2024 Oper Frankfurt Interior.jpg
Interior of the opera house in 2024

The opera house was damaged in an air raid in January 1944, and then almost completely destroyed in March. [9] In 1952, Georg Solti became Generalmusikdirektor (GMD) and Intendant of the Oper Frankfurt, where he remained in charge for nine years. [10] A new house for opera and play was built, completed in 1963 at the Theaterplatz (now Willy-Brandt-Platz). [11]

The Gielen Era

From 1977 to 1987, Frankfurt Opera was led by Michael Gielen. [12] [13] [14] [15] This decade became known as the "Gielen Era", [16] notable for the music of a conductor who was also a composer, and directors including Ruth Berghaus and Hans Neuenfels, whose productions of standard works such as Verdi's Aida and Wagner's Ring Cycle were thought-provoking. [17] [18] Operas which received their world premieres at the house were also performed again, including Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten . [16]

1987 – present

Four awards in 2023 Oper Frankfurt, awards from Opernwelt.jpg
Four awards in 2023

The stage of the opera house was destroyed by a fire in November 1987. [19] The opera house was rebuilt and opened in April 1991. [19] Many famous singers started their career with the company, including Franz Völker, Edda Moser, Cheryl Studer and Diana Damrau, and many established artists have been engaged there in recent seasons including Christian Gerhaher, whose roles here have included Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and his first Wolfram in Wagner's Tannhäuser , Piotr Beczała in Massenet's Werther and Jan-Hendrik Rootering in Wagner's Parsifal .

Since 2002, Bernd Loebe has served as Intendant of the company. The company's current GMD is Thomas Guggeis, succeeding Sebastian Weigle, who held this position since 2008 until the end of season 2023–24. Weigle has made commercial recordings of opera with the company for the OEHMS Classics label. [20] [21] [22] [23]

Oper Frankfurt was voted "Opera House of the Year" by the magazine Opernwelt , in 1996, 2003, 2015, 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2023. [24] [25] [26] In 2023, they were distinguished also in the categories Chorus, World premiere (for Blühen ), and Rediscovery (for Die ersten Menschen ).

As of 2023, new buildings for the Städtische Bühnen are planned. [27] [28] [29]

Artistic leadership

The first conductors had the title Kapellmeister. From 1924 it was GMD, who often also held the administrative leadership Intendant (Int.).


World premieres at the Frankfurt Opera have included: [30]

16 September 1810 Silvana Carl Maria von Weber
4 April 1819Zemire und Azor Louis Spohr
20 January 1851 Die Opernprobe Albert Lortzing
26 November 1853Rübezahl Friedrich von Flotow
8 Dezember 1881 Das Käthchen von Heilbronn Carl Martin Reinthaler
12 November 1902 Dornröschen Engelbert Humperdinck
18 August 1912 Der ferne Klang Franz Schreker
15 March 1913 Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin Franz Schreker
25 April 1918 Die Gezeichneten Franz Schreker
21 October 1919 Fennimore und Gerda Frederick Delius
21 Januar 1920 Der Schatzgräber Franz Schreker
1 July 1920 Die ersten Menschen Rudi Stephan
14 May 1921 Die Prinzessin Girnara Egon Wellesz
26 March 1922 Sancta Susanna Paul Hindemith
9 July 1924 Der Sprung über den Schatten Ernst Krenek
8 November 1924SakahraSimon Bucharoff
25 February 1926Die zehn Küsse Bernhard Sekles
14 November 1926 Der Golem Eugen d'Albert
25 December 1926Die Lästerschule Paul von Klenau
1 February 1930 Von heute auf morgen Arnold Schönberg
23 March 1930Achtung, Aufnahme!! Wilhelm Grosz
25 May 1930 Transatlantic George Antheil
31 January 1934Prinz Eugen der edle Ritter Max Pflugmacher
22 May 1935 Die Zaubergeige Werner Egk
26 May 1936 Doktor Johannes Faust Hermann Reutter
8 June 1937 Carmina Burana Carl Orff
13 January 1942 Columbus Werner Egk
7 September 1942OdysseusHermann Reutter
20 February 1943 Die Kluge Carl Orff
1 March 1962 Die Alkestiade Louise Talma
24 September 1964 Dame Kobold  [ de ] Gerhard Wimberger
14 November 1986Die Reise zum Mittelpunkt der Erde Hans-Joachim Hespos
15 June 1986 Stephen Climax Hans Zender
12 December 1987 Europeras 1 & 2 John Cage
18 May 1989What Where Heinz Holliger
14 June 2002Dr. Popels fiese Falle Moritz Eggert
7 Oktober 2006 Caligula Detlev Glanert
29 June 2014 Der goldene Drache Péter Eötvös
14 September 2014 Sirenen – Bilder des Begehrens und des Vernichtens Rolf Riehm
31 May 2015An unserem Fluss (By our River) Lior Navok
12 November 2017 Der Mieter Arnulf Herrmann
27 June 2021 Inferno Lucia Ronchetti
23 January 2023 Blühen Vito Žuraj

Städtische Bühnen

Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera) and Schauspiel Frankfurt (Theatre Frankfurt) are part of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main GmbH. [31]


The opera house has 1.369 seats. [32] As of April 2023, the occupancy rate of the Oper Frankfurt in the 2022/23 season was 81%. [33] About 11 premieres and 15 revivals were shown per season. [34]

See also

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Further reading