Founded over 300 years ago, Hamburg’s State Opera is one of the world’s leading opera houses. It is a centre of social, cultural and daily life for the people of Hamburg and for visitors from all over the world. 2020 showcases some major talents in the operatic world and these performances are sure to delight!
The history of the Hamburg State Opera goes back to the distant past and began in 1678 when Germany’s first public opera house opened in Hamburg. Thanks to the Enlightenment, the art and culture of operatic song would also be accessible to ordinary citizens from this point onward.
From the end of the 17th to the mid-18th century, the Hanseatic city was known throughout Europe for its musical output. During the Second World War, the auditorium was completely destroyed by a bombing raid in 1943, but it was quickly rebuilt a few years later. Even today one of the main motivations of the Hamburg State Opera is to make its productions accessible to the broadest possible audience. Its repertoire ranges from classical to contemporary opera and ballet performances.
Culture and entertainment at the same time is what the Hamburg State Opera has to offer. Classical legends such as George Frederick Handel as violinist and Gotthold Ephraim Lessing as playwright were part of the Hamburg State Opera, along with contemporary stars like Plácido Domingo and Pavarotti, who have also had great performances in the Hanseatic city. It continues to present operas, ballet performances and concerts by the Hamburg Philharmonic orchestra. In addition to the many works for adults, younger people also get their money’s work with a range of children’s operas. As a part of the children’s opera programme, works such as Hansel and Gretel and The Robber Hotzenplotz are performed. The General Manager of the opera and Hamburg Music Director present grand productions from the classical to contemporary operatic repertoire – simply enthralling musical theatre. With the Hamburg Ballet, which was formed in 1973 as the result of a ballet workshop, the city is also home to a world-renowned ballet company. At the very heart of this opera house is the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra: It has characterised the sound of Hamburg for more than 175 years; the orchestra plays at almost all the opera and ballet evenings and also gives the philharmonic concerts in the Laeiszhalle.
Every concert season it offers the public various chamber concerts, as well as special concerts including the annual New Year’s Eve concert. The programme of the Hamburg State Opera is published every spring for the following season. An opera season starts with a grand opening ceremony in August and continues for one year. Here are some of the remaining highlights for the upcoming season.
In Verdi’s comic opera which is based on the Shakesperian character, Old, large and lecherous, Sir John Falstaff can’t resist the ladies. But they can resist him, and three of them plot to put an end to his advances once and for all. Italian baritone, Ambrogio Maestri is Falstaff which is his signature role! Performed at the Main Stage.
Dates: 28 Feb 2020, 25, 28 Mar 2020 all at 19.30h
Written by Romantic-era Italian composer Vincenzo Bellini in the spring of 1831 and premiering at La Scala in Milan in December of that year, Norma is a tragedy in two acts that take place in 50 B.C. Gaul. It features Bellini’s signature long melodies and is considered a masterpiece of the bel canto genre. Talented Korean theatre librettist, Yona Kim directs. Performed at the Main Stage.
Dates: 8(18.00h), 11, 14, 17, 20, 24 Mar 2020 all at 19.30h.
Richard Strauss’ one act opera takes place in ancient Greece. The story revolves around what may be the most dysfunctional family in all of literature. The head of this disturbing household is King Agamemnon, who gets the emotional ruckus started by sacrificing one of his daughters, Iphigeneia. And this is just the beginning of the chilling and poignant opera. Famed Russian soprano Elena Pankratova stars in the title role.Performed at the Main Stage.
Dates: 26(18.00h) 29(19.30h) Apr 2020, 2,5,9,12 May 2020 all at 19.30h.
Saint François d’Assise
In a composing career full of magnum opuses, this is Messiaen’s only opera, eight years in the writing, and it occupies a special place! Messiaen’s ecstatic tableaux ab be experienced like you would the stained-glass windows of a great cathedral. Saint Francois d’Assise c exerts a uniquely hypnotic spell. Distinguished Austrian soprano Anna Prohaska stars as the angel. Performed at Elbphilharmonie, Großer Saal
Dates: 16, 21, 23 May 2020 all at 17.00h.
Verdi’s Otello is a grand masterpiece, it boils down Shakespeare’s play to its essentials and what it lacks in poetry it more than makes up for in music. Otello is based on Shakespeare’s play of 1603. Verdi pares down Shakespeare to four scenes cutting characters (no Brabantio or Bianca) and adding lovely operatic flourishes such as flower-ladies singing to Desdemona. He already had plenty to work with because with its malevolent evil, sexual jealousy, murder and suicide, Othello has all the ingredients of a music drama! World famous Argentinian tenor, José Cura stars in the title role. Performed on the Main Stage.
Dates: 12, 15 Mar 2020 both at 19.00h.
Set in the period of the Napoleonic wars, Tosca is based on true events which unfolded in Rome during a period of great turmoil. Puccini put his heart and soul into this story of political intrigue and doomed love. The three principal characters, Tosca, a famous singer, Cavaradossi, an artist and her lover, and Baron Scarpia, head of the secret police who is one of the most evil of operatic villains, are all finely drawn in Puccini’s sublime score. Highly sought after Latvian soprano, Kristine Opolais stars in the title role! Performed on the Main Stage.
Dates: 18, 21 Mar 2020 both at 19.30h.
Simon Boccanegra A Verdi masterpiece about the pirate who becomes a Doge in a world full of cruel revenge side by side with hope for a peaceful future. Simon Boccanegra is one of Verdi’s most subtly powerful works, in which large-scale choral episodes, such as the Council Chamber scene, contrast with passages of tender intimacy. The inimitable Plácido Domingo stars in the title role. Performed on the Main Stage.
Dates: 22(17.00h), 26(19.00h) Mar 2020, 2(19.00h) April 2020.
We think that this is an extremely impressive season, breathtaking performances from a really star studded selection of talent .
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