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What is behind the Neuköllner Oper?

  • a production house for world premieres that is unique in Germany: Music theater of all and between all genres in the coexistence of the so-called E and U
  • a theater with a soft spot for what surrounds us: Neukölln, Berlin, Germany and the world
  • intelligent play with traditions, forms and good humor
  • international projects and co-productions with invitations for guest performances
  • Festivals for European Music theatre
  • last but not least, a training generator: for singers, composers, authors and directors, in cooperation with the UdK Berlin and the HfM Hanns Eisler, with the Berlin Opera Prize and various initiatives in cultural education.

There were times when opera, this great art form, attracted, moved and inspired people from all walks of life. Be it in the “Beggar’s Opera” by Gay and Pepusch, the “Magic Flute” by Mozart and Schickaneder or the pieces by Kurt Weill and his authors. In this tradition we see the art-work “opera”, in this sense the stylistically diverse theater-creators of the Neuköllner Opera combine to bring our life here and now on stage – as emotional, contradictory, complex, sometimes ugly and beautiful to cry about as it is in reality.

And we do this with all our heart and soul – and send new plays and material into the world! Because an open, constantly changing, livable society needs a cosmopolitan, curious and undogmatic playing and mirroring surface – also and especially in music theater! Only what is sustainably promoted, developed and actually tried out on stage can become good. We invite you to join us and offer unique production opportunities in the field of music theater. Essential opportunities for young composers, authors and theater makers with different artistic and biographical backgrounds, in a lively exchange with a multi-layered audience. This promotes openness and a socially relevant position – and thus also the rejection of a primarily academic-interested so-called contemporary music theater. 

Our present is full of music and stories, in constant movement and development. Whether it is the story of the “blond ghost from the Kudamm” STELLA (in the multiple award-winning musical by Peter Lund and Wolfgang Böhmer, the wild musical “drug trip” about a youth in Saxony in 9 TAGE WACH with the VKKO, the passionate PASSION of GIOVANNI – a collaboration between the award-winning director Ulrike Schwab and the STEGREIF. orchester, – or DER MANN DER SICH BEETHOVEN NANNTE by the author team Moritz Rinke/Mathias Schönsee and Trickster Orchestra: These productions are representative of the diversity of our artists, genres and musical styles between musicals, opera and operetta adaptations, new compositions or crossover formats, for example with puppeteers like Suse Wächter, ensembles like leitundlause, Hauen und Stechen, Balletto civile or the dancers around Christopher Roman, soon with MEXICO AURA at the Humboldtforum.

Above all, however, we are interested in the future as an applied present and thus in scouting with passion: We need new talents! They want to be found and nurtured – more about that under FUTURE.

Organizationally, the Neuköllner Oper is a private theater that receives funding through the Berlin Senate’s conceptual funding program and is also subsidized on a project-by-project basis by GASAG, the Capital Cultural Fund, the Federal Cultural Foundation and other sponsors.

History

The beginnings of the Neuköllner Oper go back to 1972, the founding of the association took place in 1977. Until 1981, rehearsals and performances were held in various churches, since 1981 with the introduction of project funding, a factory floor was used and played in all standard theater venues. In 1988 the Neukölln Opera got its own theater in the ballroom of the Passage Neukölln with up to 220 seats in the SAAL and up to 55 in the STUDIO.

The Neuköllner Oper was founded by the composer and church musician Winfried Radeke. In the early days, the repertoire included plays that had not been performed at all or had been performed in an unquestioned form at Berlin’s major theaters, such as The Emperor of Atlantis by Viktor Ullmann or The Nightjar by Boris Blacher, as well as world premieres such as The Birds after Aristophanes (text/music: Winfried Radeke).

In 1996 Winfried Radeke brought the director and author Peter Lund on board as artistic director. With works such as Das Wunder von Neukölln, Babytalk, Elternabend and Stella, he made the house internationally known as a trendsetter in the field of new German musicals.

Peter Lund was succeeded in 2004 by the dramaturge and author Bernhard Glocksin, who is committed to opening the house to other styles of performance, a radical questioning of the opera repertoire, collaboration with leading ensembles (such as the STEGREIForchester, VKKO, Trickster Orchestra, and others), and an international orientation of the house.

Today, the Neuköllner Oper is managed by a three-member board of directors (Andreas Altenhof, Bernhard Glocksin, Laura Hörold) and presents between 10-14 productions in various formats per year – with 6-10 world premieres as well as revivals of successful productions, it offers a diverse, even more extensive range of productions than many a municipal or state opera house. Not least due to the numerous cooperations (among others with the Musical/Show course of studies at the UdK Berlin since its foundation in 1997) and author competitions (Berlin Opera Prize – donated by GASAG, also since 1997, the Zaimoglu Authors’ Academy and other workshop formats), the Neuköllner Oper is considered one of the leading anchor institutions in the Berlin cultural landscape.

The three previous artistic directors describe their view of our house here (written up on the occasion of its 40th birthday in November 2017).

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