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Berlin State Opera

Berlin State Opera (in German: Staatsoper Berlin) is a prominent German opera company. Its permanent home is the Unter den Linden Opera House on Unter den Linden in Berlin.

Early years

Frederick II commissioned the original building on the site and construction work began in July 1741 with what was designed to be the first part of a "Forum Fredericianum". Although not entirely completed, the theater was inaugurated with a performance of Carl Heinrich Graun's Cleopatra e Cesare on December 7, 1742. This event marked the beginning of the successful, 250 year old cooperation between the Staatsoper and the Staatskapelle, the state orchestra, whose roots trace back to the 15th 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. A new opera building, with Carl Friedrich Langhans as architect, was inaugurated the following fall by a performance of Meyerbeer's Ein Feldlager in Schlesien.

In 1821, the Berlin Opera gave the premiered of Weber's Der Freischütz. In 1849, it premiered Otto Nicolai's Die Lustigen Weiber von Windsor, conducted by the composer himself.

20th century

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the Berlin opera attracted many illustrious conductors. including 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, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Erich Kleiber, Otto Klemperer, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Bruno Walter occupying 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 a extensive renovation, the Linden Opera reopened in April 1928 with a new production of The Magic Flute. In the same year, the famous Russian bass Feodor Chaliapin and Serge Diaghilev's Ballets Russes with conductor Ernest Ansermet are guest performers. In 1930 Erich Kleiber conducted 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 National Socialist takeover, members of Jewish origin were dismissed from the ensemble. Many German musicians associated with the opera went into exile, including the conductors Otto Klemperer and Fritz Busch. During the Third Reich, Robert Heger, Johannes Schüler and Herbert von Karajan were the "Staatskapellmeister". In 1944, under Karajan's baton that the first stereo recording was made.

During World War II, the opera house was completely destroyed by bombing twice. The first reconstructions happened quickly, but the second one took a long time. In both cases, the "Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin", as the Opera was named in 1945, opened with Wagnerss Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,

Postwar years

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 Flemish conductor René Jacobs together with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin and the Freiburger Barockorchester on period instruments.

In 1992, the Argentine-Israeli conductor Daniel Barenboim was appointed Music Director. 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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