The Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin State Opera) is a German opera company. Its permanent home is the opera house on the Unter den Linden boulevard in the Mitte district of Berlin, which also hosts the Staatskapelle Berlin orchestra.
King Frederick II of Prussia shortly after his accession to the throne commissioned the original building on the site. Construction work began in July 1741 with what was designed by Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff to be the first part of a "Forum Fredericianum" on present-day Bebelplatz. Although not entirely completed, the Court Opera (Hofoper) was inaugurated with a performance of Carl Heinrich Graun 's Cesare e Cleopatra on December 7, 1742. This event marked the beginning of the successful, 250-year co-operation between the Staatsoper and the Staatskapelle Berlin, the state orchestra, whose roots trace back to the 16th century.
In 1842, Gottfried Wilhelm Taubert instituted the tradition of regular symphonic concerts. In the same year, Giacomo Meyerbeer succeeded Gaspare Spontini as General Music Director.
Felix Mendelssohn also conducted symphonic concerts for a year. On August 18, 1843 the Linden Opera was destroyed by fire. The reconstruction of the building was supervised by architect Carl Ferdinand Langhans, and the Königliches Opernhaus (Royal Opera House) was inaugurated the following autumn by a performance of Meyerbeer 's Ein Feldlager in Schlesien.
In 1821, the Berlin Opera gave the premiere of Weber's Der Freischütz. In 1849, it premiered Otto Nicolai 's Die lustigen Weiber von Windsor, conducted by the composer himself. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Royal Court Opera, Berlin, attracted many illustrious conductors. They included Felix von Weingartner, Karl Muck, Richard Strauss, and Leo Blech.
After the collapse of the German Empire in 1918, the Opera was renamed Staatsoper unter den Linden and the Königliche Kapelle became Kapelle der Staatsoper.
In the 1920s, Kurt Adler, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Bruno Walter occupied the conductor's post. In 1925, Alban Berg 's Wozzeck, was given its premiere in a production conducted by Erich Kleiber in the composer's presence.
After having undergone an extensive renovation, the Linden Opera reopened in April 1928 with a new production of Die Zauberflöte. In the same year, the famous Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and Serge Diaghilev 's Ballets Russes with conductor Ernest Ansermet were guest performers. In 1930 Erich Kleiber conducted the premiere of Darius Milhaud 's Christoph Columbus. However, in 1934, when symphonic pieces from Alban Berg's Lulu were performed by Kleiber, the National Socialists provoked a scandal and he was forced into exile.
After Hitler's Nazi takeover, members of Jewish origin were dismissed from the ensemble. Many German musicians associated with the opera went into exile, including the conductors Kurt Adler, Otto Klemperer and Fritz Busch. Clemens Krauss became a prominent German conductor first at The Berlin State Opera in 1933 and then appointed as its director in 1935 due to Fritz Busch and Erich Kleiber resigning, respectively, their positions in protest over Nazi rule. During the Third Reich, Robert Heger, Herbert von Karajan (1939–1945) and Johannes Schüler were the "Staatskapellmeister".
The second rebuilding took a long time. From 1945, the opera company played in the former Admiralspalast (today's Metropoltheater). From 1949, the company served as the state opera of East Germany. It moved back to its original home after the rebuilding in freely adapted baroque forms was finally completed in 1955. The newly rebuilt opera house was opened, again, with Wagner's Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg. The capacity is now about 1,300.
After the Berlin Wall was built in 1961, the Opera was somewhat isolated, but still maintained a comprehensive repertoire that featured the classic and romantic period together with contemporary ballet and operas.
After reunification, the Linden Opera rejoined the operatic world. Important works that had already performed in the past were rediscovered and discussed anew within the framework of a "Berlin Dramaturgy". Baroque Opera in particular was at the center of attention, with Cleopatra e Cesare, Croesus, L'Opera seria and Griselda. These works were performed by Belgian conductor René Jacobs together with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Freiburger Barockorchester on period instruments. In the 1990s, the opera was officially renamed "Staatsoper Unter den Linden".
In 1992, the Argentine - Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim was appointed Music Director. In 2000, the orchestra (according to its official website) elected Barenboim "conductor for life." During the 2002 Festtage, he led a Wagner cycle in ten parts, a production created in collaboration with director Harry Kupfer.
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|Geographical coordinates||52.5166670, 13.3950000|
|Address||Berlin, Unter den Linden 5|
|More information||official website|