Staatsoper Hamburg

Staatsoper Hamburg Keyvisual


Unending melody?

During the first thirty or so years of the 20th century the theatre became a stronghold of operas by Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Although Hindemith’s “Sancta Susanna", Stravinsky’s "The Soldier’s Tale", and Janaceks "Jenufa" also featured in the programme. Tenor Enrico Caruso, conductor Arthur Nikisch and composer Eugen d'Albert – three of whose operas premièred in Hamburg – were regulars at the opera house. In 1914 the celebrated German baritone Heinrich Schlusnus was engaged.

The First World War brought difficulties for running an opera house as well. But despite numerous members of staff being away on military service – as many as 85, including directors, singers and conductors as well as technical personnel – the number of performances did not diminish. During the 1914/1915 season, 570 performances took place, 82 of which were Wagner performances. Despite difficult times, in 1925 the people of Hamburg supported the conversion of the stage house. The next year, the new theatre that still stands today was inaugurated with a performance of Wagner’s “The Mastersingers of Nuremberg”.

In 1933, Heinrich K. Strohm, a government sympathiser, was appointed Director. In 1934, he changed the name of the Stadt-Theater to the “Hamburg State Opera”. The Artistic Musical Director, from the 1931/32 season to the end of 1933, was Karl Böhm. On 1st January 1934 he was succeeded by Eugen Jochum. In 1938, on the occasion of the 260th anniversary of the Hamburg Opera, a festival week was held. The theme was “The Masters of German Opera”, from Händel to Pfitzner – Hitler, Goebbels and von Rippentrop were all there.

During the night of 2nd August 1943 the auditorium was completely destroyed in an air raid. Only the stage area was left standing.

Gala dinner with Giacomo Puccini on the occasion of his visit to the Stadt-Theater (December 1912)

VIP-Loge at the visit of Hitler in 1935.