Berlin and its theaters (XX): Comic Opera – Komische Oper

The Berlin Comic Opera It is the third opera house in the German capital and one of the two that after the division of the city in 1961 was isolated in the east, the Soviet occupation sector, along with the emblematic National Opera O Staatsoper on the Bajo los Tilos Avenue. The Comic Opera is located in a corner between the Bajo los Tilos Avenue Y Behrenstrasse.

Same as the Berlin German Opera, the building suffered greatly under the bombing of World War II, although in this case the spectator hall was saved from total destruction.


current building Comic Opera it was built according to a design by Viennese architects Helmer Y Fellner it was inaugurated under the name of »Theater Unter den Linden« (Bajo los Tilos Theater). In this historic place between the street Behrenstrasse and the avenue Under the linden trees (Bajo los Tilos) there were already theatrical performances since 1764, for example of companies of actors directed by Schuch, Koch y Doebbelin, which apart from the world premieres of Goethe (Götz von Berlichingen, 1774) and Lessing (Nathan the wise, 1783) also presented here sung pieces by Hiller, André and Gluck, as well as comic operas by Grétry, Salieri, Piccini, Paisiello and others.


After the bankruptcy of the »Bajo los Tilos Theater«, The room reopened under the name of»Metropol-Theater«. Before the First World War, this room had been a place of representation of the famous »Metropol magazines«, After 1918 he devoted himself mainly to the operetta theater, with singers and actors such as Fritzi Massary, Max Pallenberg, Richard Tauber, Käthe Dorsch and others. Numerous world premieres of successful operettas were presented, such as the Franz Lehár titled “The land of smiles” (The Country of Smiles) in 1929.

The reopening of the
Metropol Theater, which had been closed in 1933 to become part of the National Socialist organization »Strength through Joy«(Fuerza por Alegría), took place with several world premieres, among them the operetta“Mask in Blue” from Fred Raymond.

Shortly before the end of the war, large parts of the building and the access area, as well as the ceiling painting, were completely destroyed. The audience hall was practically intact.

Beginning of reconstruction.

Foundation of the »Weird opera« (Comic Opera) by the Austrian artistic director Walter Felsenstein and inauguration on February 23, 1947 with “The bat”(The Bat” by Johann Strauss. The name of the house refers to the tradition of the »Comical opera«French from the late eighteenth century and the first Comic Opera Berlin, inspired by the French, under the direction of Hans Gregor and that it was located in the Weidendamm bridge (1905-1911). Photo: The old Comic Opera on the Weidendamm Bridge.

Very soon, the musical theater of Felsenstein it achieved worldwide recognition and served as a model thanks to the consequent realization of the musical-dramatic unity between music and stage performance. The most famous performances of Felsenstein They were: The clever little fox (The Smart Fox), Othello, The Tales of Hoffmann, La Traviata, Ritter Blaubart (Caballero Barbazul), Fiddler on the Roof and others. Among the conductors, in charge of directing the orchestra of the Comic Opera founded in 1947 under the direction of Leo Spies, also responsible for directing their symphonic concerts, the best known were, among others, Otto Klemperer, Rudolf Kempe, Arthur Grüber, Václav Neumann y Kurt Masur.

Construction of the extension building of the Berlin Comic Opera.

Reopening with Don Giovanni. Foundation of a dance theater under the direction of the choreographer Tom Schilling.

The Wedding the Figaro, from Mozart, was the last staging of Walter Felsenstein, who passed away on October 8, 1975. His successor as general director and artistic general director was Joachim Herz.

Appointment of a new management team: Werner Rackwitz (managing Director), Harry copper (artistic general director) and Rolf Reuter (general director of orchestra).

Restoration of the neo-baroque audience hall with 1,190 seats. It receives the category of historical-artistic heritage.

Appointment of Albert Kost as CEO and of Yakov Kreizberg as general director of orchestra and later general musical director. Jan Linkens y Marc Jonkers they assume the artistic direction of the dance theater. The artistic director general and opera director remains Harry copper.

50th anniversary of the Berlin Comic Opera.

British choreographer Richard Wherlock becomes the new director of the ballet. The dance theater is called »BerlinBallett – comic opera« (BalletBerlin – comic opera).

Blanca Li becomes the new general director of choreography and director of the ballet.

Andreas Homoki assumes the position of artistic director general and Kirill Petrenko he is appointed musical director general. Adolphe Binder takes over the artistic direction of the BerlinBallett – comic opera.

Andreas Homoki (left photo) is appointed acting general director. The Comic Opera Foundation begins its journey on January 1, 2004. It is agreed to dissolve the dance area of ​​the Comic Opera with the 2004/2005 season. The reasons are economic. The three ballets of the operas are merged into one under the name of National Ballet (Staatsballet), with provisional headquarters in the National Opera Bajo los Tilos.

Andreas Homoki becomes the artistic general director and general director of the theater Berlin Comic Opera.

Renovation of the access room of the Berlin Comic Opera according to the architect’s plans Stefan Braunfels.

Kirill Petrenko leaves the theater at the end of the season. He succeeds him as musical director general of the house Carl St. Clair, which begins its activity with the 2008/09 season.

The Berlin Comic Opera receives the distinction of ›Opera House of the Year‹, Kirill Petrenko the of ›Orchestra Director of the Year‹, The choir soloists of›Choir of the Year‹- this was the result of the annual survey of the specialized magazine»Opernwelt«(World of Opera) for the 2006/07 season.

Carl St. Clair (left photo) becomes musical director general of the Berlin Comic Opera. To access the opera home page, click here.

(c) Translation: Pedro Schwenzer