"Operas and cycling in Berlin" Berlin by Nemorino
Berlin Travel Guide: 7,042 reviews and 15,963 photos
When I think of Berlin I think of opera and construction sites -- and in my lead photo I was lucky enough to get both in the same picture, because they happened to be ripping up the street "Unter den Linden" right in front of the State Opera House (Staatsoper) when I was there in 2005.
Soon the State Opera House itself will be a construction site, because they are planning to spend several years giving it some badly needed restoration and repairs from 2010 to 2015 or longer. During this time the State Opera company will take up temporary quarters in the old Schiller Theater in the Bismarckstraße, in the Berlin district of Charlottenburg.
What this means is that for three seasons there will be two major opera houses in the Bismarckstraße, within three blocks of each other!
The other one is the Deutsche Oper Berlin, which is housed in this large monolithic building that was erected in something of a hurry in the 1960s.
Across the street from the Deutsche Oper is a bust of a very distinguished gentleman who seems to be casting a skeptical eye at this large opera house. He is none other than the great English playwright William Shakespeare (1564-1616), whose bust was given to the city of Berlin by the city of London on the occasion of Berlin's 750th birthday.
Up to now I have only seen four performances at the Deutsche Oper, and didn't like any of them very much, but I will definitely give this house another try -- the next time I'm in Berlin for three or more days.
Berlin is the only German city that has three full-scale professional opera houses.
This one here is called the "Komische Oper" or Comic Opera, but that doesn't mean everything they do is hilariously funny. The name Comic Opera was originally meant to suggest that this opera house (like the Opera Comique in Paris) isn't as elitist as the others, and what this means in practice is that they perform all their operas in the vernacular, i.e. in German, no matter what language they were originally written in.
This somewhat limits the singers they can get, because none of the really big stars is willing to learn the German text of, say, Verdi's Rigoletto, when they can earn twice as much money singing it in Italian anywhere else in the world. But that's all right because the Komische Oper couldn't afford to hire these big stars anyway, so you can see and hear some fine young singers here who are willing to learn the German words. They're not all Germans, incidentally. In Rigoletto the leading roles were sung by American and Dutch singers, and the orchestra conductor was Japanese.
The only other opera houses I know of that have this only-sing-in-German policy are the Gärtnerplatz opera house in Munich and the Volksoper in Vienna. Otherwise even the smallest houses tend to do operas in their original languages, for the most part.
Update: In 2007 the Komische Oper in Berlin was voted Opera House of the Year (along with the city theater in Bremen) by the critics of Opernwelt magazine.
Photos: 1. Sign "Walking speed -- Streets for Living" 2. Parked cars taking up huge amounts of space These... more travel advice
Photos: 1. Cycists at Friedrichstraße station, 2009 2. A double-decker regional train, 2009 During the twenty-eight... more travel advice
Written May 9, 2016
Two Millennia of German Jewish History
Written May 9, 2016
Kosmos and Berlin
Nemorino's Related Pages
Berlin Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "More than the capital of Germany"
- "Berlin, Berlin - wir fahren nach Berlin!"
- "Berlin in my way"
- "Berlin - the whole world in one town"
- "Wunderbar Berlin"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Berlin
- Hotels in Berlin
- Transportation in Berlin
- Nightlife in Berlin
- Restaurants in Berlin
- Shopping in Berlin
- Warnings and Dangers in Berlin
- See All...
Badges & Stats in Berlin
- 47 Reviews
- 111 Photos
- 22 Forum posts
- 79 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (98)
Have you been to Berlin?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Berlin
Top 10 Pages
- Top 5 Page for this destination Paris Intro, 435 reviews, 1848 photos, 5 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Frankfurt am Main Intro, 100 reviews, 253 photos, 6 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Copenhagen Intro, 61 reviews, 222 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Besançon Intro, 48 reviews, 202 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Avignon Intro, 46 reviews, 190 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Verona Intro, 49 reviews, 175 photos, 2 travelogues
- Top 5 Page for this destination Marseille Intro, 45 reviews, 166 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Lyon Intro, 56 reviews, 152 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Toulon Intro, 42 reviews, 156 photos
- Top 5 Page for this destination Karlsruhe Intro, 32 reviews, 151 photos, 6 travelogues