Berlin Opera in Good Health

By: Frank Cadenhead. Positive annual results for 2018 have just been announced by two largest Berlin opera houses. For the Berlin State Opera (Berliner Staatsoper Unter den Linden) the occupancy rate was 92 percent, two percent less than the previous year. During the calendar year, some 235,000 seats were occupied for some 300 performances. Touring was a major part of the season and Buenos Aires saw more than 20,000 attending Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” and concert performances by the opera orchestra, the Staatskapelle Berlin with music director Daniel Barenboim. Sold out concerts were the rule when the orchestra was touring in Salzburg, Paris, Vienna, Beijing and Sydney and a Berlin open-air concert reported an audience of 10,000.

The Deutsche Oper Berlin counted 243,000 attendees with an occupancy rate of 73.2 percent. 173 performances were in the main house with 177 performances in other venues. The December 25, 2017 water damage to their house, one of the largest in Germany at 1859 seats, caused a 3.4 percent drop in the occupancy rate from the previous year but they still managed to sell some 6600 more tickets than the previous year.

The Deutsche Oper production of Korngold’s opera, Das Wunder der Heliane was a surprise success with 87 percent capacity and will return in the 2020-2021 season. Operas outside the traditional repertory are now more often to be seen on stage but they are rarely the major season hit. Here is Renee Fleming singing an aria from this opera at a London Proms performance in 2007.

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