The Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera) is one of the leading opera companies in Europe, and voted best "Opera house of the year" several times since 1996, including 2020. Opera in Frankfurt am Main has a long tradition, with many world premieres such as Franz Schreker's Der ferne Klang in 1912, Fennimore und Gerda by Frederick Delius in 1919, and Carl Orff's Carmina Burana in 1937. Frankfurt's international recognition began in the Gielen Era, 1977 to 1987, when Michael Gielen and stage directors such as Ruth Berghaus collaborated.
A historic opera house from 1880 was destroyed in World War II, and reconstructed as a concert hall, Alte Oper. The present opera house, built in 1963, is under one roof with the stage for drama. The opera orchestra is called Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester. Today's venue for Baroque and contemporary opera is the Bockenheimer Depot, a former tram depot.
Oper Frankfurt is part of the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt.
Frankfurt's first opera was Johann Theile's Adam und Eva, performed in 1698 by Johann Velten's touring company. The young Goethe's first operas in his home town of Frankfurt were productions by Theobald Marchand's company.
1782 – 1880
Opened in 1782, the Comoedienhaus was the first permanent venue of the Frankfurt Theater (drama and opera). In 1878 German violinist Willy Hess took up the leadership of the Oper Frankfurt. He resigned from that post in 1886 to take up a professorship in the Rotterdam Conservatorium voor Muziek.
1880 – 1944
This section may be unbalanced towards certain viewpoints. (October 2013)
The first representative opera house of the city was inaugurated in Frankfurt in 1880 at Opernplatz. Under the direction of the first Intendant Emil Claar and the first Kapellmeister Felix Otto Dessoff, the house was opened with Mozart's opera Don Giovanni.
During the 1920s the opera in Frankfurt had more prominent Jewish singers than any other company in Germany, including the tenor Hermann Schramm, bass Hans Erl (the first King in Schreker's Der Schatzgräber), baritone Richard Breitenfeld and contralto Magda Spiegel, who also toured with Frankfurt Opera performing Wagner in the Netherlands. These singers were forced to leave the opera in June 1933, though the opera's director Hans Meissner was able to persuade the mayor to speak up for Schramm, who had a non-Jewish wife. Orff's Carmina Burana was premiered at Oper Frankfurt in 1937. Jewish members of the opera company among those rounded up at 9 November 1938 at the Festhalle Frankfurt, where Erl sang In diesen Heilgen Hallen, from the Magic Flute for the deportees. Members of Frankfurt Opera were sent to Auschwitz and other camps where they perished. Schramm survived, living to testify against the Frankfurt Gestapo officer Heinrich Baab in 1951.
1945 – 1970s
The opera house was damaged in an air raid in January 1944, and then almost completely destroyed in March. After the war money was tight. A new house for opera and play was built, completed in 1963 at the Theaterplatz (now Willy-Brandt-Platz).
The Gielen Era
From 1977 to 1987 Frankfurt Opera was led by Michael Gielen. This decade became known as the "Gielen Era", notable for the music of a conductor who was also a composer, and directors including Ruth Berghaus and Hans Neuenfels, whose productions of standard works such as Verdi's Aida and Wagner's Ring Cycle were thought-provoking. Operas which received their world premieres at the house were also performed again, including Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten.
1987 to date
The stage of the opera house was destroyed by a fire in November 1987. The opera house was rebuilt and opened in April 1991. Many famous singers started their career with the company, including Franz Völker, Edda Moser, Cheryl Studer and Diana Damrau, and many established artists have been engaged there in recent seasons including Christian Gerhaher, whose roles here have included Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and his first Wolfram in Wagner's Tannhäuser, Piotr Beczała in Massenet's Werther and Jan-Hendrik Rootering in Wagner's Parsifal.
Music Director, since 2008, is Sebastian Weigle, General Manager, since 2002, Bernd Loebe. Weigle's new productions there have included Strauss' Die Frau ohne Schatten, Daphne and Arabella, Korngold's Die tote Stadt, Reimann's Lear and Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauß. He has also conducted performances of Mozart's Die Zauberflöte, Beethoven's Fidelio, Wagner's Tristan und Isolde and Parsifal for the company. He performed the four parts of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, staged by Vera Nemirova, finishing with Götterdämmerung in 2012. The complete cycle was performed twice in 2012.
In 2017, Debussy's cantata La Damoiselle élue and Honegger's dramatic oratorio Jeanne d'Arc au bûcher were combined, staged by Àlex Ollé, conducted by Marc Soustrot, and co-produced with the Teatro Real Madrid.
- 1880–1892 Felix Otto Dessoff (Kapellmeister)
- 1893–1924 Ludwig Rottenberg (Kapellmeister)
- 1924–1929 Clemens Krauss (GMD)
- 1929–1933 Hans Wilhelm Steinberg
- 1933–1934 Bertil Wetzelsberger
- 1935–1936 Karl Maria Zwißler
- 1937–1938 Georg Ludwig Jochum
- 1938–1944 Franz Konwitschny (GMD)
- 1945–1951 Bruno Vondenhoff (GMD)
- 1952–1961 Georg Solti (GMD & Int.)
- 1961–1966 Lovro von Matačić (GMD & Int.)
- 1967–1977 Christoph von Dohnányi (GMD & Int.)
- 1977–1987 Michael Gielen (GMD & Int.)
- 1987–1991 Gary Bertini
- 1993–1997 Sylvain Cambreling
- 1997–2002 Martin Steinhoff (Int.)
- 1999–2008 Paolo Carignani (GMD)
- Since 2002 Bernd Loebe (Int.)
- Since 2008 Sebastian Weigle (GMD)
World premieres at the Frankfurt Opera have included:
|16 September 1810||Silvana||Carl Maria von Weber|
|4 April 1819||Zemire und Azor||Louis Spohr|
|20 January 1851||Die Opernprobe||Albert Lortzing|
|26 November 1853||Rübezahl||Friedrich von Flotow|
|8 Dezember 1881||Das Käthchen von Heilbronn||Carl Martin Reinthaler|
|12 November 1902||Dornröschen||Engelbert Humperdinck|
|18 August 1912||Der ferne Klang||Franz Schreker|
|15 March 1913||Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessin||Franz Schreker|
|25 April 1918||Die Gezeichneten||Franz Schreker|
|21 October 1919||Fennimore und Gerda||Frederick Delius|
|21 Januar 1920||Der Schatzgräber||Franz Schreker|
|1 July 1920||Die ersten Menschen||Rudi Stephan|
|14 May 1921||Die Prinzessin Girnara||Egon Wellesz|
|26 March 1922||Sancta Susanna||Paul Hindemith|
|9 July 1924||Der Sprung über den Schatten||Ernst Krenek|
|8 November 1924||Sakahra||Simon Bucharoff|
|25 February 1926||Die zehn Küsse||Bernhard Sekles|
|14 November 1926||Der Golem||Eugen d’Albert|
|25 December 1926||Die Lästerschule||Paul von Klenau|
|1 February 1930||Von heute auf morgen||Arnold Schönberg|
|23 March 1930||Achtung, Aufnahme!!||Wilhelm Grosz|
|25 May 1930||Transatlantic||George Antheil|
|31 January 1934||Prinz Eugen der edle Ritter||Max Pflugmacher|
|22 May 1935||Die Zaubergeige||Werner Egk|
|26 May 1936||Doktor Johannes Faust||Hermann Reutter|
|8 June 1937||Carmina Burana||Carl Orff|
|13 January 1942||Columbus||Werner Egk|
|7 September 1942||Odysseus||Hermann Reutter|
|20 February 1943||Die Kluge||Carl Orff|
|1 March 1962||Die Alkestiade||Louise Talma|
|24 September 1964||Dame Kobold||Gerhard Wimberger|
|14 November 1986||Die Reise zum Mittelpunkt der Erde||Hans-Joachim Hespos|
|15 June 1986||Stephen Climax||Hans Zender|
|12 December 1987||Europeras 1 & 2||John Cage|
|18 May 1989||What Where||Heinz Holliger|
|14 June 2002||Dr. Popels fiese Falle||Moritz Eggert|
|7 Oktober 2006||Caligula||Detlev Glanert|
|29 June 2014||Der goldene Drache||Péter Eötvös|
|14 September 2014||Sirenen – Bilder des Begehrens und des Vernichtens||Rolf Riehm|
|31 May 2015||An unserem Fluss (By our River)||Lior Navok|
|12 November 2017||Der Mieter||Arnulf Herrmann|
- F. M. Stockdale, M. R. Dreyer The Opera Guide 1990 342
- "Die Geschichte der Städtischen Bühnen Frankfurt". Städtische Bühnen. Frankfurt. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- Manchester Faces & Places. Mamchester: JG Hammond & Co Ltd. February 1895. pp. 76–77.
- "Chronology & history". alteoper.de. Frankfurt. 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- Michalzik, Stefan (17 April 2012). "Ermatteter Selbstläufer". Offenbach-Post (in German). Offenbach. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
- Die Frankfurter "Alte Oper": Baumonographie eines Opernhauses Christiane Wolf Di Cecca - 1997 p225 "Das Frankfurter Opernhaus erfährt am 29. Januar 1944 durch einen Luftangriff zunächst eine leichte, schließlich in der Nacht zum 23. März 1944 eine schwere Beschädigung. Nach dem Krieg fehlt vor allem zunächst das Geld für Abriß und ..."
- Richard Wagner, Fritz Lang, and the Nibelungen ix David J. Levin - 1999 "For a decade, 1978 to 1988, Frankfurt Opera under Michael Gielen was such a place. ' He hired some of the most interesting and innovative production teams — stage directors as well as set and costume designers ..."
- Neuenfels, Hans (13 March 2019). "Erst er machte Oper lebenswichtig". Die Zeit (in German). Hamburg. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "Dirigent Michael Gielen mit 91 Jahren gestorben". Frankfurter Rundschau (in German). Frankfurt. 9 March 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- Brachmann, Jan (9 March 2019). "Der Vision eines Elysiums verweigerte er sich". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Frankfurt. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- Roth, Wilhelm (20 July 2017). "Dirigent, der in Frankfurt einst eine Ära begründete, wird 90 Jahre alt: Unermüdlich trieb Michael Gielen die Moderne voran". Frankfurter Neue Presse (in German). Retrieved 20 July 2017.[permanent dead link]
- "Die Frankfurter Oper 25 Jahre nach dem Brand". Focus (Press release). Berlin. dpa. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "Sebastian Weigle". Frankfurt Opera. Archived from the original on 11 September 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- Friedeon Rosén (29 January 2012). "Frankfurt: Götterdämmerung – Premiere" (in German). der-neue-merker.eu. Retrieved 7 March 2012.
- "Der Ring des Nibelungen Cycle 1". oper-frankfurt.de. Archived from the original on 9 September 2012. Retrieved 5 March 2012.
- Jungheinrich, Hans-Klaus (12 June 2017). "Frauen gen Himmel / Honeggers spektakuläre "Jeanne" mit dem Debussy-Prolog "La Damoiselle élue" an der Oper Frankfurt" (in German). Frankfurter Rundschau. Retrieved 20 June 2017.
- "Oper Frankfurt erneut zum "Opernhaus des Jahres" gewählt". Süddeutsche Zeitung (Press release). Munich. dpa. 28 September 2018. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "Frankfurt ist Oper des Jahres / Kritiker zeichnen Musiktheatersparte der Städtischen Bühnen zum fünften Mal aus". FAZ (in German). 30 September 2020. Retrieved 1 October 2020.
- Göpfert, Claus-Jürgen (2 October 2018). "Massives Spardiktat für Städtische Bühnen". Frankfurter Rundschau (in German). Frankfurt. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- "Premieren der Oper Frankfurt ab September 1945 bis heute" (PDF). Oper Frankfurt. 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
- Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt am Main GmbH (in German)
- Welcome to Oper Frankfurt
- Theatre Frankfurt
- New construction of an opera house: Alexander, Matthias (7 December 2018). "In einer stolzen Tradition". Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Frankfurt. Retrieved 16 April 2019.
- The Forsythe Company