Thematic Orientation

Since it was founded, the Komische Oper Berlin has been the place where both parts of the term »musical theatre« receive equal attention. 
In the Komische Oper Berlin, the supposedly familiar is turned into something new and interesting, and certainties are questioned.
We present new perspectives, not just of the pieces themselves, but of the form as a whole. 
Since it was founded, the Komische Oper Berlin has been the place where both parts of the term »musical theatre« receive equal attention. We perform the sort of theatre that has a proud tradition here, namely productions in which the various art forms do not vie for supremacy, but instead justify each other; productions in which all the participating artists combine their talents and work towards a common aim - to provide vital, contemporary, exciting theatre each and every night. In 2007 and 2013, the Komische Oper Berlin was voted »Opera House of the Year«, and its choir soloists received the title of »Opera Choir of the Year» (2007 and 2015). These awards confirm that the Komische Oper Berlin has developed into one of the highest-profile opera houses in the German-speaking world. Our »high profile« is not in the sense of representative routines, however, but of a distinctive, strongly individual, and unique artistic institute. Here, opera is not merely a culinary spectacle, but instead a predominantly theatrical event. Making this profile visible and palpable during every performance and during the daily work of all departments in front of, on, and behind the stage is the most important aim of our work. Each time we want to show the magic of musical theatre anew; we want to show that, because of the music, it is the only art form which can communicate concrete contents in a way which is palpable on an immediate emotional level. It is our opinion that musical theatre's main aim is to move people. 

In short: for us, the name »Komische Oper« (»Comic Opera House«) means that we take opera seriously.
When Walter Felsenstein opened the Komische Oper in December 1947, the name he bestowed on it was also to govern its programme. The name derives from the French »opéra comique«, whose theatrical liveliness, general and direct comprehensibility, and attitude of anti-elitism served as a model for Felsenstein and his understanding of realistic musical theatre. The central focus of the work at the Komische Oper Berlin is that of the ensemble of virtuoso singer-performers. A small, slender repertoire also makes it possible for each production to be intensively supported and to thus make it excellent, providing the audience with première quality each evening. With gripping, touching, entertaining, and involving productions, the Komische Oper Berlin proves afresh each time that opera is a vital and contemporary art form. At the Komische Oper Berlin, the supposedly familiar is turned into something new and interesting: certainties are questioned, and new perspectives are offered, not just of the pieces themselves, but of the form as a whole. We view it as our task to look for what is new without lingering over what is faddish. 
The Komische Oper Berlin is located in the heart of the city, between the Brandenburg Gate, the Museumsinsel, and Checkpoint Charlie. The theatre building in Behrenstraße was built at the end of the 19th century according to plans drawn up by Austrian architects Ferdinand Fellner and Hermann Helmer. It was home to various theatres from 1892 to 1945, including the legendary Metropol Theater. Renowned inaugural performances such as Lehár's The Land of Smiles and Abraham's The Flower of Hawaii took place here. The building was destroyed during the last days of the war, although fortunately the stage and auditorium survived almost unscathed. The Komische Oper was ceremonially inaugurated on 23rd December 1947 with Walter Felsenstein's production of Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus. In 1965/1966, there followed a fundamental expansion of the entire complex by the architect Kunz Nierade. The neo-baroque, richly decorated auditorium, which today provides space for 1,190 visitors and which has been fitted with new, comfortable seating with an integrated, multilingual translation system, was largely left in its original condition in which it was created in 1892, while the main facade in Behrenstraße was designed in the functional style of the 1960s. In 2005, the foyer was given a contemporary re-design by architect Stephan Braunfels, and now offers over 1,000 square metres of elegantly mirrored floor space for the provision of refreshments during intervals, for special events, and for chamber concerts, among other things. The re-positioning of the opera house in the international opera landscape of the 21st century would be unthinkable without the support of the sponsoring group Freunde der Komischen Oper Berlin e.V., which has been working actively and persistently on behalf of the Komische Oper Berlin since 1990. 
Ensemble and choir soloists
Constantly praised by the critics, and named »Best Opera Choir of the Season« in Opernwelt magazine's year book time and again – the choral soloists of the Komische Oper Berlin guarantee superlative singing as well as acting.
»Sublime physicality, musical esprit and phonetic plasticity«, is how Opernwelt magazine praised the choral soloists of the Komische Oper Berlin when naming them »Opera Choir of 2015«. And this assessment is not only one of the reasons behind the award, but also represents part of the answer as to why Walter Felsenstein – head director of the Komische Oper Berlin from 1947 to 1975 – chose the idiosyncratic description of »choral soloists« for the singers in his choir: because they are singers »who are contractually a part of the choir«, as Felsenstein put it, »but whose acting ability places them on an equal footing with the soloists«.
This is not only a fact known by the musical directors, but also something much appreciated by the countless directors who have worked with the choral soloists time and again, including Hans Neuenfels, Peter Konwitschny and Barrie Kosky.

Founded in 1947 under Leo Spies, the orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin today encompasses 112 musicians. Among the renowned conductors who led the orchestra in the years which followed were Otto Klemperer, Václav Neumann and Kurt Masur. Rolf Reuter and Yakov Kreizberg were the later general music directors, before Kirill Petrenko took over this position in 2002, and was named Conductor of the Year in 2007. Carl St.Clair has been the general music director of the Komische Oper Berlin since the 2008/09 season. The new general music director since the 2012/13 season is Henrik Nánási. Every year, a total of around 180,000 people attend the 250 performances. Each season we offer seven new productions, around 18 revivals, eight symphony concerts, numerous foyer concerts, concerts for children, and special events. 

Through its efforts to provide contemporary musical theatre, the Komische Oper Berlin has managed inspire a new, young audience with musical theatre. According to a visitors' survey conducted in collaboration with the polling institute forsa in 2008, the average age of visitors to the Komische Oper Berlin is only 44.9 years.
To us, the tradition of »realistic musical theatre«, with which Walter Felsenstein and his theatre in Behrenstraße made one of the most important impressions on operatic history in the 20th century, does not mean being reduced to a uniform style. On the contrary, it finds expression in the great variety and breadth of the directors working for us: Andreas Homoki's powerful character portraits stand alongside Hans Neuenfels's surreal interpretations; Barrie Kosky's colourful and rapid-fire works alongside Sebastian Baumgarten's post-dramatic deconstructions, and Calixto Bieto's radical reworkings alongside Peter Konwitschny's psychological depth-charges. Of central importance to the opera house's aesthetic is the kind of contemporaneity which does not deal in faddish outer show, but which instead penetrates the object of its focus and makes it tangible in a manner beyond conventionality. In contrast to many other great opera houses, we have the opportunity to create intimate moments which are more closely related to the detailed studies of Kammerspiel theatre (plays in a small, intimate setting with no props or scenery) than to the static tableaux of Grand Opéra. For us, the central focus of our work is making the theatrical situation immediately appreciable. Consequently it is innovators in this genre, such as Handel, Gluck and Mozart, as well as Verdi and Puccini, who dominate our repertoire. The 20th century is firmly present on our stage, as are the maligned genres of operetta and musical. The fact that not everything in the so-called »leichte Muse« (light musical entertainment) is as superficial as it might seem at first glance has been demonstrated in numerous productions, such as Prokofjew's Jewgeni Onegin, Schönberg's Moses und Aron or Abraham's Ball im Savoy – and yet never without losing sight of the task of entertaining. We are equally focused on bringing contemporary music to our audience, something which is reflected in the great number of concerts and inaugural performances of musical theatre pieces. Diversity, variety, new perspectives - this is what is offered by the gripping, vital musical theatre at the Komische Oper Berlin. 

A tenor, a soprano and three musicians travel around Europe on the Gastarbeiterroute –the road people who worked in Germany or Austria took to travel to their counties of origin during holidays. Berlin – Munich – Vienna – Belgrad – Sofia – Istanbul
In the Komische Oper Berlin, the birthplace of modern musical theatre, tradition has always meant innovation.
1927 is a London based performance company that specialise in combining performance and live music with animation and film to create magical filmic theatre.
Don Juan, the epitome of the seducer, inspired Mozart to one of his most influential operas. Frivolous, witty and profound all at once. The perfect opportunity for Herbert Fritsch, the master of theatrical folly, whose highly musical style of staging is tailor-made for this "light-hearted spectacle" about fatal passions.
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