Staatsoper Hamburg

Staatsoper Hamburg Keyvisual


The seed bears fruit – contemporary opera in Hamburg

In 1973 management of the theatre passed to a fresh team, when August Everding became Manager and Artistic Director. He brought Götz Friedrich to Hamburg as Chief Director and John Neumeier as Director of Ballet. In 1975, with the advent of “Opera Stabile”, an experimental platform was created for contemporary ballet and musical theatre. And with workshop events held in the “Music Theatre under Discussion” series, debates with the public and close contact with schools, Everding successfully broke new ground. One of the highlights of Everding’s endeavours during the 74/75 season was a guest performance in Israel of Schönberg’s “Moses and Aaron", plus a number of ballet productions. With the advent of Christoph von Dohnányi in 1977, a conductor was once more wielding his baton on the Elbe and Alster. As Manager and Artistic Director, and as Chief Conductor, he extended the repertoire with seldom played works and brought prominent directors from spoken drama to opera. In addition, he introduced the series system, in which, following intensive rehearsals, the productions were staged with the same cast in rapid succession. On 2nd January 1978 the Hamburg State Opera celebrated its 300th anniversary with a grand ceremony attended by the President of the Federal Republic of Germany. From 1985 to 1988 Rolf Liebermann again took charge, temporarily. Right in their first season as the leading duo, Peter Ruzicka and Gerd Albrecht made a hit with the critics with Günter Krämer’s production of Franz Schreker’s “Der Schatzgräber”, under the musical direction of Gerd Albrecht. A survey conducted by “Opernwelt” magazine revealed them to be the “most popular highlight of the season”. The production of “Tannhäuser", directed by Harry Kupfer in 1990, was also without doubt once of the highlights of the past few years. World premières of works commissioned by the Hamburg State Opera, such as Wolfgang Rihm’s “The Conquest of Mexico" (1992) and 1997 Helmut Lachenmann’s “The Girl with the Matches" (1997) are still regarded as fundamentally significant milestones along the road to preserving the art form opera.

Luciano Pavarotti and Mirella Freni in “L’Elisir d’Amore” (production Jean-Pierre Ponnelle)

„Tannhäuser", 1990