Berlin State Opera

From Academic Kids

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Staatsoper Unter den Linden, 2003

Berlin State Opera (in German: Staatsoper Unter den Linden) is a prominent German opera company. Its permanent home is the Opera House on the Unter den Linden boulevard in Berlin.


Early years

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Berlin Court Opera in 1832
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Berlin Court Opera, rebuilt after a fire in 1843

Frederick II commissioned the original building on the site and construction work began in July 1741 with what was designed to be the first part of a "Forum Fredericianum". Although not entirely completed, the Court Opera (Hofoper) was inaugurated with a performance of Carl Heinrich Graun's Cleopatra e Cesare on December 7, 1742. This event marked the beginning of the successful, 250 year old cooperation between the Staatsoper and the Staatskapelle Berlin, the state orchestra, whose roots trace back to the 16th century.

In 1842, Gottfried Wilhelm Taubert instituted the tradition of regular symphonic concerts. In the same year, Giacomo Meyerbeer succeeded Gaspare Spontini as General Music Director. Felix Mendelssohn also conducted symphonic concerts for a year.

On August 18, 1843 the Linden Opera was destroyed by fire. A new opera building, with Carl Friedrich Langhans as architect, was inaugurated the following fall by a performance of Meyerbeer's Ein Feldlager in Schlesien.

In 1821, the Berlin Opera gave the premiered of Weber's Der Freischütz. In 1849, it premiered Otto Nicolai's Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, conducted by the composer himself.

20th century

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Berlin opera attracted many illustrious conductors. including Felix von Weingartner, Karl Muck, Richard Strauss, and Leo Blech.

After the collapse of the German Empire in 1918, the Opera was renamed "Staatsoper unter den Linden" and the "Königliche Kapelle" became "Kapelle der Staatsoper".

In the 1920s, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Bruno Walter occupying the conductor's post. In 1925, Alban Berg's Wozzeck, was given its premiere in a production conducted by Erich Kleiber in the composer's presence

After having undergone a extensive renovation, the Linden Opera reopened in April 1928 with a new production of The Magic Flute. In the same year, the famous Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with conductor Ernest Ansermet are guest performers. In 1930 Erich Kleiber conducted premiere of Darius Milhaud's Christoph Columbus. However, in 1934, when symphonic pieces from Alban Berg's Lulu were performed by Kleiber, the National Socialists provoked a scandal and he was forced into exile.

After Hitler's Nazi takeover, members of Jewish origin were dismissed from the ensemble. Many German musicians associated with the opera went into exile, including the conductors Otto Klemperer and Fritz Busch. During the Third Reich, Robert Heger, Johannes Schüler and Herbert von Karajan were the "Staatskapellmeister". In 1944, under Karajan's baton that the first stereo recording was made.

During World War II, the opera house was completely destroyed by bombing twice. The first reconstructions happened quickly, and the theatre was soon reopened with a performance of Wagners Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

Postwar years

The second rebuilding one took a long time. From 1945, the opera company played in the former Admiralspalast (today's Metropoltheater). From 1949, the company served as state opera of the GDR. It moved back to its original home after the rebuilding in freely adapted baroque forms was finally completed in 1955. The newly rebuilt opera house was opened, again, with Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.

After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the Opera was somewhat isolated, but still maintained a comprehensive repertoire that featured the classic and romantic period together with contemporary ballet and operas.

After reunification, the Linden Opera rejoined the operatic world. Important works that had already performed in the past were rediscovered and discussed anew within the framework of a "Berlin Dramaturgy". Baroque Opera in particular was at the center of attention, with Cleopatra e Cesare, Croesus, L'Opera seria and Griselda. These works were performed by Flemish conductor René Jacobs together with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Freiburger Barockorchester on period instruments. In the 1990s, the opera was officially renamed "Staatsoper Unter den Linden".

In 1992, the Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim was appointed Music Director. During the 2002 Festtage, he led a Wagner cycle in ten parts, a production created in collaboration with director Harry Kupfer.

External link

ja:ベルリン国立歌劇場 no:Staatsoper Berlin


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