Komische Oper Berlin - Portrait

Heidi Specker, 2023

Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König

Pages of Komische Oper Berlin - Portrait

Since its founding in 1947, the Komische Oper Berlin has been
Berlin’s opera house for music-theater that is as innovative as it is
accessible. It was here that Walter Felsenstein first conceived of
opera as music and theater as equal partners and implemented
this concept on stage. Since then, the spirit of the Komische Oper
Berlin has continued to evolve and inspire opera companies the
world over.

The original building of the Komische Oper Berlin in Behrenstrasse
is 130 years old. Even before World War I, in .The Golden Twenties.,
it housed the Metropol-Theater, a legendary revue theater where
stars such as Fritzi Massary and Richard Tauber performed in
operettas by Emmerich Kálmán Paul Abraham and Oscar Straus.
After the building was miraculously spared complete destruction
in World War II, artistic director Walter Felsenstein, inspired by the
Opéra Comique in Paris, founded the Komische Oper Berlin at
this location on December 23rd, 1947.

The building was last renovated and extensively refurbished in
the 1960s. More than half a century later, a major renovation and
expansion of the Komische Oper Berlin is urgently needed. The
building is being optimised for the future so that the Komische
Oper Berlin’s tradition of innovative, emotional and moving musical
theater can continue.

During the renovation period, the Komische Oper Berlin will be
based at the Schillertheater in Charlottenburg, but also perform in
other venues throughout the city. For now, however, we bid farewell
to the familiar buildings in Berlin-Mitte. Heidi Specker has taken
a photographic portrait of the Komische Oper Berlin, creating a
special memento of this period in the opera’s history.

The Berlin-based photographer spent several months studying
the building and the institution that is the Komische Oper Berlin.
The works show moods and atmospheres that are poetic, whimsical,
humorous―but also unwieldy and radical.

Specker thus has captured the very essence of spaces and
objects as they have been seen by staff and visitors, consciously
or unconsciously, over decades―places that have been home
to their creativity, to their expression and experience of theater.
Specker complements these photographs with historical images
from Komische Oper Berlin’s archive, adding their own perspective
to the process of documentation.

With her loving eye―also for the quirky and absurd―her picture
compositions and her unique curiosity for the world around her,
Specker offers an unusual portrait of the Komische Oper Berlin
from a perspective that is as quotidian as it is extraordinary.
Susanne Moser, Philip Bröking (Co-directors of the Komische Oper Berlin)

Hrsg. von Susanne Moser, Philip Bröking.
Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König, 2023.
23 x 28 cm. 156 S. Leinen. Englisch, Deutsch. ISBN 978-3-7533-0468-7