Price and Wonder

Congratulations! This award sets an example: Ulrike Schwab receives the MORTIER NEXT GENERATION award. No prize focuses so clearly on the vision of a different, perhaps new music theater as this internationally renowned award in memory of the great music theater mastermind and enabler Gerald Mortier. What a compelling choice!

The award ceremony will take place in Salzburg in August – in the midst of rehearsals for the new installation of her GIOVANNI production with the STEGREIF.orchestra in the Prinzessinnengärten. We are very happy with and for her – especially because this award honors an artistic position and handwriting that – in my eyes – is extraordinary. I think those who remember the many highly energetic evenings with Ulrike Schwab know what I mean. She came to our house 13 years ago as a singer in this furious production called MITLEID (after Parsifal). Where is there a singer who artistically deals with herself in such a radical, uncompromising and risk-taking way, with her voice and body as instruments of an immense will to perform, with a determination that affects everyone and everything? So unique was she in all subsequent productions, whether in SCHWINDEL, EXIT PARADISE and in Bretan’s GOLEM. And so is her directing style. Wasn’t the subsequent study of musical theater directing the logical consequence of this understanding of theater?

Already her first direction at our house: a (in my opinion) sensation. Still in the context of our study project with the HfM and little more than one scene, everything was there that constitutes her vision and precision, pictorial power and handwriting: three singing, speaking, making music men in the “women’s opera” ARMIDA, in the sense of Gluck, who revolutionized opera at that time, today retold, live and with players, an ingenious bridging of time levels, the historical and present dimension with its discourses… Rarely have I said too unreservedly Yes! Go ahead! to a play proposal when I invited her to direct in the hall, our “big stage,” and she suggested that I stage Humperdinck’s children’s and compulsory opera Hansel and Gretel, often soft-pedaled to the point of unbearability – only not at Christmas time and for adults. In short: WOLFSKINDER, which premiered in January 2018, made her poetics shine, a theater flowing between singers and musicians, suggestion and openness, historical material and present-day urgency, simply called “theater miracle” in the press. The following year, by the way, we had three productions by Ulrike Schwab on the schedule, in addition to WOLFSKINDERN her “Einsamkeitsstudie” and Frau Luna-Assoziation IST DIE WELT AUCH NOCH SO SCHÖN as well as the long prepared premiere of Mozart’s GIOVANNI. I had chosen and invited her and the STEGREIF.orchestra for this – in the hope that her directing style and the ensemble’s special, improvisational way of working would not only get along, but complement, inspire, and perhaps even potentiate each other. What happened? In their strengths and idiosyncrasies, both have elevated themselves to a new, highly expressive level: Compliments once again for what makes this production so unique!

These days we are in the approach to another adventure: to bring the GIOVANNI production into the originally intended place, into the open, natural surroundings of the New St. Jacobi Cemetery. And at the same time – if everything works out – to create an immersive film version for EuroArts.

Thirteen years, eight productions with Ulrike Schwab as singer and director lie behind us, a fruitful time in which she has developed her own unmistakable signature in the environment of the diverse border crossings and aesthetics of our so different teams and pieces. Years in which we have accompanied and supported her with commissions and the resources of the Neukölln Opera. I am looking forward to our appointment for next year: one of the most multi-layered of Richard Strauss’ operas. One that I love and that I think should finally be told “properly,” that is, “more deeply” and differently. I am looking forward to what will come to us with Ulrike.

Bernhard Glocksin, Artistic Director

Foto: privat

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All parties have announced their candidates…

… and we have ours too!  In Hohenpfaffenberg-Siegertsbrunn, the provincial small town from Eine Stimme für Deutschland, we follow the fierce fight of the Green Party’s Regula Hartmann-Hagenbeck against Alina Deutschmann, the top candidate of the local New Right.

The musical bill of Thomas Zaufke & Peter Lund brings the election campaign from the political to the musical theater stage – we are very happy to be able to welcome you to this finally again on site in our hall. Tickets are now available in our webshop!

Photo: Matthias Heyde


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Are you #kulturhungrig?

A year (almost) without theater. No acting, no singing, no dancing, no music. Silence in front of, on and behind the stage. Because culture is not a nice accessory in our society, but a staple, the Friends of the Berlin Theaters have started the initiative #kulturhungrig: All friends and the audience of the theaters, opera houses and concert halls to call, write, perform, and beam the expression of their anticipation of an imminent opening to the world …

… and let all artists and cultural workers know that they are anything but forgotten. Join in and share your personal testimonials and short clips on social media using #kulturhungrig! Here are some inspirations to complete:
– I miss…
– Without culture is like…
– I’m hungry for…
– I am looking forward to

The friends of various stages in Berlin and of course we are looking forward to your contributions!

#kulturhungrig is an initiative of the Friends of:
Berliner Ensemble
German Opera Berlin
German Theater Berlin
Comic Opera Berlin
Neukölln Opera
Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin
Schaubühne at Lehniner Platz
State Ballet Berlin
Berlin State Opera

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Affordable housing, farewell?

We had a dream, it was small and modest, we thought… It was about affordable rents and the right to live. That dream seemed at least within reach in 2020, the year Felix Krakau and Yuval Halpern’s real estate infotainment OPERA FOR SALE premiered: “As of February 2020, rents for about 1.5 million […] apartments were frozen at June 2019 levels. Rents that were more than 20 percent above the ceilings [were] prohibited by law.” (Berliner Morgenpost, 16.4.21) Now the rent cap has been overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, tenants* face great uncertainties – and we all face the next round in the concrete gold monopoly.

Learn more about real estate speculation and the struggle for decent housing in our web series Opera for Sale and on the Angel Dust Company site.

PS: Hope dies last. Because, Sebastian Scheel, Senator for Urban Development and Housing is not giving up: “In the Senate we […] will discuss the consequences of the ruling. The Senate [feels] obliged to develop socially acceptable solutions for tenants.” (Berlin Senate Department for Urban Development and Housing)

written by Änne-Marthe Kühn (dramaturgy)

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We say YES YES YES YES YES! The Dean is back

It was the year 2020, when we were about to roll out a purple carpet for the “Elvis of the GDR” for his new last show. Then came the first wave – then it was time to break off, pack props and hope, don’t give up!

On September 3rd, the time had come: Our show of IRON CURTAIN MAN actually went over the stage with a real audience, dancing and stormy applause. Then came the second wave… ok, we know, don’t give up, and don’t get anxious before the third. So: sheet music out, set rehearsals and start undeterred, “on sight”: on April 17, 2021 we would be back live and fully analog at the start and sing again “We say yes yes yes yes!”. The third wave came after all – for this the new online show was born, in which the audience can help answer the big question from home: Who will be The Dean of Germany?

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written by Bernhard Glocksin

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MOON MUSIC – looking back on new beginnings

Three months, three pieces – with the three-part music theater series MOON MUSIC, the Neuköllner Oper has started the year 2021. While culture has been at a standstill in the analog space since November and will presumably remain at a standstill in the coming months, we have set everything in motion to ensure that music and theater can continue to take place.

Within a very short time, a digital format was developed from the planned music theater performances directed by Selina Thüring, which was able to touch us, the musicians of the STEGREIF.orchester and last but not least a digital audience of almost 600 people in real terms.

For the journey that we would have liked to take together outside, we were now able to bring into the living rooms and thus, as it were, into the very close privacy of the viewers. A journey that still has to take place every day on the inside, in order to better perceive and protect that which surrounds us.

The path therefore took leave of the noise and air of the city and transformed the protagonists*, who were able to set out with strength and courage in search of a new beginning in one of the last free green spaces in the city: the New St. Jacobi Cemetery and the Kiez Chapel. Here – right next to the vibrant Tempelhofes Feld – death and life lie very close together.

But both places have been rededicated to their original purpose for a few years now. The former funeral chapel has become a place for living culture. And the cemetery, through the Princess Garden Collective, has become a place for independent care and, not least, for communal exchange in planting herbs, vegetables and fruit.

And so the hope in the narrative of the multimedia music theater experiment MOON MUSIC ties in with very real processes of change in society – combined with the hope of an imminent reawakening of a living cultural landscape.

Because one thing is certain: our next music-theatrical excursion to the Princess Gardens will take place live and in the flesh with you! More about that after the cultural-political beginning of spring!

A contribution by Änne-Marthe Kühn (dramaturgy)

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Urban Stories – Easter Exchange: Everyone from 14 years can sign up now!

The Easter vacations are just around the corner, but with vacation it will probably rather nothing. Nevertheless, we want to get out of our own four walls and into the city! The Neukölln Opera is organizing the URBAN STORIES – Easter Exchange for everyone aged 14 and over and is on the lookout for stories from the neighborhood.

In four workshops on acting, music, dance and text, we use the streets of Neukölln as a stage. We roam through the urban space that surrounds us and rethink it, turn it upside down, turn it once around its axis. Between bridal fashions and arcades we let ourselves be inspired – we develop choreos, search for words, find sounds, create scenes. Questions could be: Who are the people from the neighborhood and which characters can be invented, which stories can be told? What words are hurled at us, what is written on the signs or the walls – and what could emerge from them? A Späti poem, an ode to the arcades, or a dialogue between two pigeons? What choreographies do we discover on the streets and how can we invent new ones? How would we like to move in public, but have never dared? Can we make music from the sounds of the environment? We work with sounds, instruments, beats and vocals to find the sound of Neukölln! First we work separately in the small groups of the different disciplines and at the end we mix everything together to a common performance in the urban space. This way a tour of the arts through Neukölln will be created in record time! Sign up, food and drinks will be provided!

Registration with name, date of birth, address and cell phone number
until 28.3.21 at the latest to the project leader Franziska Korte at:

written by Felix Krakau 

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The Neuköllner Oper supports the Globale Climate Strike on 19 March 2021

In only 6 years we will have missed the climate target of 1.5°C global warming… But no reason to bury our heads in the already demonstrably rising sea level – we can still act, and we can act NOW…

If you want to test for yourself how much CO2 is produced in private households and what can be saved, you can find the CO2 quick check of the Federal Environment Agency here. Who wants to test still further, finds more information with the BUND.
And if you want to start saving the world yourself today, you can start right away with measures that cannot be repeated often enough:
– Vegetable, regional, seasonal nutrition
– Cycling instead of driving
– Fewer flights

And because we don’t want to just talk smart, we have started to draw up our first internal climate balance sheet and to check all production processes for their sustainability. We are looking forward to the results – more soon here.

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Berliner Opernpreis winner on Fedora-Shortlist

Do you still remember the electro-acoustic satire of the EU knight on odyssey through the EU’s control centers? Go, ÆNEAS, go! by Spin Off Collective won the Berliner Opernpreis in 2014. Composer Raquel García-Tomás was part of the award-winning collective at the time, and her works are now performed in opera houses, concert halls and theaters from Luxembourg to Argentina.

Now the versatile composer and video artist has been nominated for the European Fedora Award with her commissioned composition Alexina B. … and is happy about your support: Here you can vote for her piece, which is expected to premiere at the Gran Teatre del Liceu/Barcelona in 2022/23. We keep our fingers crossed!

Everything about the upcoming Berlin Opera Prize in summer 2021 can be found here.

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The moon in the eye (of the beholder)

With the series MOON MUSIC, together with the STEGREIF.orchester and the Prinzessinnengarten Kollektiv Berlin, a three-part music-theater-film-experiment started, which touched 200 people in the first part, even though each*one was in very different places. Our musical metamorphosis is about the fantastic goal to save an old king in times of cold, insecurities and distance …
(or maybe not), to find spring again and finally to dare a new beginning. But before this “new start” can then take place in March in the third part, the preparations must first be made – as in real life:

MOON MUSIC 1 – Farewell: The people behind the computer screens let go of their worries and troubles and handed them over to us. In the second part we will now de-care them….

MOON MUSIC 2 – Transformation: While in the times of the C. the previous theater making is almost impossible, it does not let us go. In the current times, new rules apply in all areas of life and so it is time to rethink the rules for creating musical theater as well. We are currently working on a new music theater-concert-interaction hybrid. And we are looking forward to shooting some crazy scenes with our “” in the streets of Neukölln for two days at the beginning of February.

The four-piece ensemble (consisting of singer Marine Madelin the STEGREIF musicians Konstantin Döben (trumpet), Bertram Burkert (guitar), Antonio Rivero (percussion)) has taken it upon itself to carry the burdens of the first group up the mountain and deliver them to the holy place between death and life on Hermannstraße.

For the again interactive digital concert will then take place on February 10 and 12 in the Kiezkapelle at the New St. Jacobi Cemetery near the Prinzessinnengärten.

And again we will ask questions to the audience – this time about transformation, because only together we can take this journey. And only if each individual – whether musician or audience member – is ready for change, can a greater change be achieved socially, ecologically, politically.

MOON MUSIC 3 – New Beginning: In March we will rehearse a change with spring and for a new time.

A contribution by Änne-Marthe Kühn (dramaturgy)

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