Deutsche Oper Berlin

Dietmar Schwarz & Deutsche Oper Berlin

Dietmar Schwarz, the Operndirektor at Theater Basel, is to become the Intendant of Deutsche Oper Berlin with the 2012-2013 season. The current Intendantin, Kristen Harms, is leaving her post in the Summer of 2011, so the post will be filled in the interim by the Generalmusikdirektor, the Kaufmännischen Geschäftsführer and the Operndirektor.

Press Release (Auf Deutsch) | Deutsche Oper Berlin

Deutsche Oper Berlin's 2008-2009 Season

September 13 2008- July 2 2009: Turandot
September 14 2008- March 22 2009: Der fliegende Holländer
September 15-27 2008: Rigoletto
September 20 2008: L'Amico Fritz
September 21 2008- May 2 2009: Die Zauberflöte
September 30- October 8 2008: Pique Dame
October 1-5 2008: The Nose
October 2-7 2008: Chowanschtschina
October 3 2008 - February 15 2009: Der Rosenkavalier
October 22-31 2008: Manon Lescaut
October 30- November 6 2008: Lohengrin
November 20 2008- May 8 2009: La Traviata
November 28 2008- April 12 2009: Aida
November 30 2008- May 31 2009: Tannhäuser
December 8 2008- February 12 2009: Daphne
December 13 2008- March 11 2009: Lucia di Lammermoor
December 14-28 2008: Hänsel und Gretel
December 17 2008- January 9 2009: Cunning Little Vixen
December 18 2008- January 4 2009: La Bohème
January 7- June 24 2009: Tosca
January 18- February 14 2009: Die Ägyptische Helena
January 25- February 10 2009: Salome
January 28- February 13 2009: Cassandra / Elektra
February 8-27 2009: Ariadne auf Naxos
March 8- July 3 2009: Carmen
March 13- April 25 2009: Un Ballo in Maschera
March 26- April 4 2009:
Andrea Chenier
April 9-24 2009: Marie Victoire
April 30- May 9 2009: Eugene Onegin
May 20- June 2 2009: La Cenerentola
May 26- June 18 2009: Der Freischütz
May 27- June 6 2009: Madama Butterfly
June 10-21 2009: Tristan und Isolde
June 17-25 2009: Le Nozze di Figaro
June 26- July 4 2009: Tiefland

Valery Gergiev conducts Pique Dame, The Nose, Chowanschtschina. Bo Skovhus sings the title role of Eugene Onegin. Roberto Alagna sings Fritz in L'Amico Fritz, with Angela Gheorghiu as Suzel. Gheorghiu returns in May for La Traviata, and in June for Tosca. Angelika Kirchschlager sings the title role of Carmen and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier. Nancy Gustafson sings the Feldmarschallin in the latter, but only in December. Mariusz Kwiecien sings in the March performances of Lucia, opposite of Burcu Uyar and Elena Mosuc, who share the title role with Ruth Ann Swenson.

2008-2009 Schedule | Official Site

The Opera Tattler in Berlin

So far I've only gone to hear Don Carlo at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, which was not as amusing as it could have been, despite featuring quite a lot of nudity during the auto da fé scene. One cannot complain too much, as René Pape is singing Filippo II. I also took several photographs of Deutsche Oper Berlin, as I am convinced it is the least beautiful of all opera houses. I've walked past Komische Oper Berlin, but was more impressed by their current ad campaign, which I saw on a bus. It claimed to be the opera house of the year and also featured two men with their trousers around their ankles. I cannot wait to see what they've done with Die Entführung. Can the production rival the one on sofas from Munich? The photographs indicate some nudity and bad makeup, but at least there is no intermission, so it will be over quickly at any rate. I am also terribly curious about the Oper in der U-Bahn, apparently they are performing Die Zauberflöte from April 26-May 25.

Idomeneo Rescheduled

Dob_1 Deutsche Oper Berlin decided to reschedule Idomeneo for two performances before the end of the year. All this controversy certainly is suspect, perhaps it is true that no publicity is bad publicity. I suppose if I were running an opera house in a city with two other major competitors, I might try a few stunts myself. Particularly when the house in question may well be the ugliest one in all the land. The building dates from 1961, as should be obvious. Berlin's "most modern opera house" is said to have an "elegant retro-design," but I cannot say the concrete block is inspiring in any way. The inside is even more horrid, what with the dated wood paneling and mustard-yellow upholstery. One only hopes that in a few decades the kitsch-factor will become humorous instead of just painful.

Deutsche Oper Berlin Architecture | IHT Article

The Emperor's Clothes


When I heard that a Mozart opera had been removed from the 2006-2007 Deutsche Oper Berlin season because it might upset Muslims, I immediately thought the offending opera was Die Entführung aus dem Serail (The Abduction from the Seraglio). My initial feeling was that it was a misunderstanding, as Abduction does involve conflict between Christians and Muslims. Of the two main Islamic characters, Osmin is stereotypically bumbling, violent, and chauvinistic. However, the other, Pasha Selim, is the most noble one in the opera, and in the end he is merciful.

Imagine my surprise when I found that the opera in question was Idomeneo: Re di Creta ossia Ilia e Idamante, set in the time of the Trojan War. Apparently Hans Neuenfels' production from 2003 features the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and Mohammed.


There were four performances of Idomeneo scheduled for November 2006, and these have been replaced by Le Nozze di Figaro and La Traviata. From the description and photographs, this Idomeneo production looks fairly typical for German opera fare. Die Entführung aus dem Serail entirely on multi-colored sofas, Semiramide in a gym, or Die Walküre with air traffic controller torches, these are par for the course. There is much to be offended by, not so much because of cultural insensitivity, but lack of respect for the audience's intelligence.

The cancellation must be a disappointment for the cast and crew:

Conductor   Lothar Zagrosek
Producer   Hans Neuenfels
Sets, Costumes   Reinhard von der Thannen
Chorus master   Ulrich Paetzholdt
Idomeneo    Roberto Saccà
Idamante    Marina Prudenskaya
Ilia    Jacquelyn Wagner
Elettra    Iano Tamar
Arbace    Burkhard Ulrich / Paul Kaufmann
Die Stimme    Harold Wilson

Deutsche Oper Berlin Statement | NPR Segment | Deutsche Welle Article

Romantische Oper in 3 Akten

Deutsche Oper Berlin's current production of Der fliegende Holländer premiered 27. March 1997. The music was nice, something in between normal opera and music drama. The production was fairly nondescript, though many scrims and curtains were used. There was a noisy rotating platform that served as the Dutchman's ship at times. There were a lot of ropes. The Dutchman is tied in ropes as his ship approaches the Norwegian ship, there are ropes all around in the second act that encage the girls spinning, and so forth. The costumes looked to be 1930s or so.

The singing was all consistently good but not exceptional. Reinhard Hagen as Daland was perhaps my favorite, he didn't strain nearly as hard as Richard Paul Fink as the Holländer.

* * *
Musikalische Leitung  Marc Albrecht
Inszenierung  Götz Friedrich
Bühne, Kostüme Gottfried Pilz, Isabel Ines Glathar
Chöre Ulrich Paetzholdt

Daland Reinhard Hagen
Senta Eva Johansson
Erik Richard Brunner
Mary Kari Hamnøy
Steuermann Clemens Bieber 
Holländer Richard Paul Fink

La Tragédie de Sémiramis

Last Friday I attended Rossini's Semiramide at the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The libretto is based on Voltaire's play, the opera itself was written in 33 days and premiered at La Fenice on 3. February 1823. This production premiered 24. May 2003. Alberto Zedda, a specialist in Baroque opera, conducted well. The music throughout was incredibly beautiful.

The singing was good. Only contralto Jennifer Larmore, as Arsace, was a bit quiet, her voice is very pretty though it does not project well. Darina Takova was strong in the title role. Bass Simone Alaimo also was strong, and had perfect diction. Tenor Bruce Fowler as Idreno was perfectly adequate, with a nice enough voice that is not distinct.

The production was a mixture of all sorts of things, headed up by Kirsten Harms with Bernd Damovsky doing sets and costumes. The action all takes place inside a concrete box that looks very much like part of a parking complex at an airport. Complete with emergency exit signs and security cameras. The statue of Bel looked fairly normal, but the priests wore fake white fur aprons over their suits. Some people had fifties clothing, others wore what could be considered "ethnic" and were veiled. There was some inexplicable man with a control panel including levers and lights who wandered about. They did a good job with Arsace's costume, a trouser part, they put Larmore in so many layers that any womanly shape she may have had was obscured. In short, the production was boring. No one seems to know what to do with opera seria and this treatment was neither here nor there. Though I was pleased and surprised they did not have anything going on during the overture.