This autumn in Berlin, the opera scene has been less overstuffed than usual, owing to the three month closure of the Deutsche Oper Berlin, due to badly-needed renovations. This season, the company was supposed to have moved down the road (literarily) into the Schiller Theater, which was intended as the the Staatsoper’s temporary home from 2009 until 2013. Thanks, however, to a dizzying combination of delays, rising costs and general incompetence that brings to mind the mishandling of Berlin’s new airport, the Staatsoper has decided to stay put until 2017 (incidentally, the same year the airport should open – we should be so lucky…), creating problems for the Deutsche Oper and the Komische Oper, both of whom were expecting to take up residence in the Schiller Theater while much-needed renovations were carried out at their respective houses.
So, in order to avert disaster, the Deutsche Oper decided to open their season several months later than Berlin’s other two opera houses. In lieu of a full autumn-time program, the company devised a nomadic Auswärtssaison, or “onwards-season,” of concerts, operas and ballets at various venues around Berlin, a highlight of which was Fiona Shaw’s production of Benjamin Britten’s chamber opera The Rape of Lucretia at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele in November.
For it’s first full month back home, the Deutsche Oper is presenting a characteristically grand repertoire in December, which includes Carmen, Turandot, L’elisir d’amor and Falstaff. Two Wagner works return with promising casts, Tannhäuser and Lohengrin. Personally, I’m most excited for Die Rosenkavalier this Wednesday, with Michaela Kaune as the Marschellin, Elina Garanca as Octavian and Albert Pesendorfer as Baron Ochs. The DOB’s tremendous GMD Donald Runnicles conducts!
For the kiddies, there’s also the holiday classics Die Zauberflöte and Hänsel und Gretel.