Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin

In 2012, the Deutsche Oper Berlin and its orchestra celebrated its 100th birthday. The orchestra’s eventful history is closely linked to that of the city of Berlin. It was almost a small cultural revolution that Berlin’s citizens dared to undertake when they founded their own opera house more than a hundred years ago. With its renunciation of boxes, it embodied the ideal of a ‘democratic’ opera house and offered a full view of the stage from all seats. In the 1920s, famous guest conductors such as Wilhelm Furtwängler and Bruno Walter worked regularly at the Deutsche Oper, and the first recordings were made. After the destruction of the house in the Second World War, the Deutsche Oper had to make arrangements with alternative quarters for a long time. Finally, in 1961, the opera house in Bismarckstraße was opened, where it still resides today. Since then, the Deutsche Oper Berlin with its 1860 seats has not only been the largest opera house in Berlin with excellent visual and acoustic conditions, but also a top address in the international opera world.

The list of conductors who have been guest or principal conductors of the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra is impressive and ranges from Lorin Maazel and Herbert von Karajan to Giuseppe Sinopoli and Christian Thielemann, who served as General Music Director of the Deutsche Oper from 1997 to 2004. Since 2009, the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra has had Sir Donald Runnicles, an internationally renowned conductor, as its General Music Director. The outstanding collaboration between the orchestra and its chief conductor will continue until 2027 following an early contract extension.

An artistic focus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin is the cultivation of the works of Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss. The orchestra’s special Wagnerian tradition is also reflected in the fact that many of its members play in the orchestra of the Bayreuth Festival. Another important element in the artistic profile of the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra is its continuous engagement with contemporary music. Numerous composers have worked closely and productively with the orchestra. In 2017, for example, the premiere of the opera "L'Invisible" led to a renewed collaboration with Aribert Reimann, who already has a long history of premiere performances with the orchestra. Detlev Glanert’s 2019 opera "Oceane" won an International Opera Award for Best Premiere of the Year, and shortly afterwards Chaya Czernowin’s "Heart Chamber" received its first performance.

In addition to the opera performances, the Deutsche Oper Berlin Orchestra regularly gives symphony concerts with leading soloists and can be experienced both in the building on Bismarckstraße and in the Berlin Philharmonie. In addition, numerous ensembles formed by members of the orchestra - from string quartets to big bands - enrich the Deutsche Oper's programme with their concerts. The orchestra's discography comprises more than 200 titles, including numerous outstanding recordings. The recording with Jonas Kaufmann's Wagner recital has received many awards, including the Echo Klassik for the singer. The DVD of Leoš Janáček’s “Jenufa” with the Orchestra and Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin under Sir Donald Runnicles received a Grammy nomination in the category Best Opera Recording in 2015. The recording of Aribert Reimann’s “L'Invisible” was followed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s “Das Wunder der Heliane” and Alexander von Zemlinsky’s “Der Zwerg”, also nominated for a Grammy in 2020.


As of June 2021

Orchester Deutsche Oper Berlin

© Bettina Stöß

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