When the Deutsche Oper Berlin in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin reopened on 24 September 1961, Berlin was a divided city – just six weeks before the East German leadership had started to erect the wall. Because of this, the war damaged Deutsche Oper was the only large musical theatre in the city for West Berliners until the fall of the wall in 1989.
The founding of the musical theatre in 1912 by the citizens of Berlin came as a small cultural revolution, the new opera house was rigorously void of the hierarchy of VIP boxes as well as other forms of pomp and show. This 'democratic' concept continues in the new house built in 1961 by the architect Fritz Bornemann and now preserved as a listed building, which presents itself with sober yet impressive monumentality. The excellent sightlines and acoustic properties afford a musical theatre of exceptional status that almost 2000 visitors can experience every night. Its ample foyer, which is today appreciated again for its architectural elegance, remains one of the capital's main cultural meeting places.
The Deutsche Oper Berlin's international musical reputation is sealed by the famous conductors such as Bruno Walter, Lorin Maazel, Christian Thielemann or Donald Runnicles as well as directors such as Götz Friedrich, Hans Neuenfels, Graham Vick or David Allen. The current repertoire is distinguished by modern approaches to the great works of Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Strauss, Puccini as well as contemporary operas.
The resident musical director Donald Runnicles has shaped the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin into an outstanding ensemble. The choir of the Deutsche Oper has been awarded "Choir of the Year" many times for its excellent performance. The directorial signature of the Deutsche Oper Berlin ranges from classical, naturalistic settings, to the use of film material in productions and the most recent aesthetic developments in contemporary theatre.
With the opening in 2013 of the adjacent "Tischlerei" (Carpenter's Workshop) stage, a working space for experimentation has been added to support contemporary forms of musical theatre as well as concerts and productions for, by and with children and young people.