Guide to Komische Oper Berlin

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« ...with its 1947 re-opening the Komische Oper established a tradition for itself that all opera performances in the house would be sung in the German language. This policy was created in order to bring opera directly to the German 'Volk'. Australian Director Barrie Kosky has subtly broken with this tradition in his tenure [but] no one seems to mind. Sold out performances are quite common these days at the Komische Oper, Eugene Onegin being no exception. Many hopeful people were standing in line to purchase an unclaimed ticket Saturday night. »
Karen Hunter Bachtrack, February 2016
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BerlinThe Pearls of Cleopatra

Straus: The Pearls of Cleopatra
Adam Benzwi; Barrie Kosky; Komische Oper Berlin; Rufus Didwiszus; Victoria Behr; Simon Berger; David Cavelius

BerlinThe Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)

Mozart: The Magic Flute (Die Zauberflöte)
Henrik Nánási; Barrie Kosky; Komische Oper Berlin; Esther Bialas; Nicole Chevalier; Danae Kontora

BerlinEugene Onegin

Tchaikovsky: Eugene Onegin
Henrik Nánási; Barrie Kosky; Komische Oper Berlin; Rebecca Ringst; Klaus Bruns; Franck Evin

BerlinEine Frau, die weiss, was sie will (A woman who knows what she wants)

Straus: Eine Frau, die weiss, was sie will (A woman who knows what she wants)
Adam Benzwi; Barrie Kosky; Komische Oper Berlin; Katrin Kath; Pavel B. Jiracek; Dagmar Manzel; Max Hopp

BerlinPetrushka / L'Enfant et les SortilègesNew Production

Ravel, Stravinsky
Komische Oper Berlin; Markus Poschner; Suzanne Andrade; Pia Leong; 1927

BerlinLes Contes d'Hoffmann (Tales of Hoffmann)

Offenbach: Les Contes d'Hoffmann (Tales of Hoffmann)
Stefan Soltesz; Barrie Kosky; Komische Oper Berlin; Katrin Lea Tag; Diego Leetz
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A Kosky Berliner Schnauze: Die Perlen der Cleopatra

A hilarious pearl of an operetta. Barry Kosky reigns supreme in Berlin!
*****
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Fantasy and nightmare: Rusalka at Komische Oper

Barrie Kosky's 2011 production confines the action of the opera to a stark white room. A fine ensemble of singers made for a successful evening.
****1
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Confronting the millennial generation at Komische Oper

Before the beginning of each opera, an announcement is made reminding the audience not to film, photograph, tweet, post, google, snapchat... Komische Oper Berlin premieres a hilarious Barber of Seville where the singers do nothing but just that.
***11
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Musical froth of the highest order

If you can imagine an undiscovered PG Wodehouse story set to music by Cole Porter, you wouldn’t be far off. 
***11
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Don Giovanni: frankly too charming to burn in hell

Revel with a naughty Don Giovanni at the Komische Opera in Berlin.
****1
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Romantic escape and an extraordinary title role performance

Komische Oper's re-imagining of Nico Dostal's 1933 operetta makes for delightfully escapist, romantic evening out, while Christoph Marti's superb drag performance of the title role makes it a memorable one.
****1
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Biography

Since the construction of the venue in Behrenstraße (which opened as the “Theater Unter den Linden” in 1892, re-operning as the “Metropol-Theater” in 1898 after bankruptcy), the Komische Oper Berlin has at various times been a consistent international trend-setter in the world of musical theatre. As the leading theatre for operettas and revues in the 1920s, it fundamentally shaped the Berlin, and hence international, entertainment scene. Following the Second World War, Walter Felsenstein’s concept of musical theatre revolutionised European opera, and to this day it remains an important point of reference for the great majority of musical theatre directors seeking to be contemporary in their work. This inspirational international influence as a trend-setter in innovative musical theatre is reflected in the many artistic careers which began at the Komische Oper Berlin – including those of the directors Götz Friedrich and Harry Kupfer as well as the conductors Otto Klemperer, Kurt Masur, Yakov Kreizberg, and Kirill Petrenko.

In 2012, Barrie Kosky took over from Andreas Homoki as the Artistic Director of the Komische Oper Berlin. He was joined by Henrik Nánási, the new General Music Director. The Komische Oper Berlin is versatile and flexible to a degree which is unusual for an opera house. This and the fixed ensemble of singer-performers are key characteristics of the Komische Oper Berlin under Kosky’s directorship. Kosky’s conceptual approach draws not only on the tradition set by Felsenstein, but also on the venue’s pre-war traditions, which were strongly shaped by Jewish actors and have hitherto received less attention. Felsenstein’s vision of opera as a form of musical theatre in which music and action are equally important components of a production is combined by Kosky with the demand that musical theatre should provide an experience which appeals to all the senses and which encompasses musical drama in all its forms, from the classic Mozart repertoire through to genre-defying projects.