Frankfurt Opera House

Opern- und Schauspielhaus Frankfurt is the official name of the municipal theaters of Frankfurt am Main for opera and play. The Oper Frankfurt (Frankfurt Opera) is an important European opera house and company. In 1997 and 2003 it received the title "Opera house of the year".


Frankfurt's first opera was Johann Theile's Adam und Eva, presented in 1698 by Johann Velten's touring company. The young Goethe first experienced opera in his native Frankfurt in productions by Theobold Marchand's company.


During the 1920s the Opera company, more than any other company in Germany, had several prominent Jewish singers including the tenor Hermann Schramm, first bass Hans Erl (the first King in Schreker's Der Schatzgräber), baritone Richard Breitenfeld and contralto Magda Spiegel, who also toured with the Frankfurt Opera performing Wagner in Holland. These singers were forced to leave the opera in June 1933, though the opera's director Hans Meissner was able to intervene with the mayor for Schramm who had a non-Jewish wife. The other Jewish members of the opera company were later among those rounded up at 9 November 1938 at the Festhalle Frankfurt, where Erl sang In diesen Heilgen Hallen, from the Magic Flute for the deportees. Those members of the Frankfurt Opera deported perished in Auschwitz and other camps. Schramm survived and lived to testify against Frankfurt Gestapo officer Heinrich Baab in 1951.


The "Alte Oper" was damaged in an air raid in January 1944, and then virtually destroyed in March. After the war funds were lacking to demolish and rebuild the building.

The Gielen years

From 1978 to 1988, the Frankfurt Opera was led by Michael Gielen. These ten years were termed the "Gielen Era", notable for the music of a conductor who was also a composer, and stage directors such as Ruth Berghaus and Hans Neuenfels, who set standard works such as Verdi's Aida or Wagner's Ring Cycle in a thought-provoking way. Operas connected to the history of the opera house were performed, such as Franz Schreker's Die Gezeichneten which had premiered there.

1989 to date

Many famous singers started their career with the company (e. g. Franz Völker, Edda Moser, Cheryl Studer and Diana Damrau) and it attracts established singers such as Christian Gerhaher who appeared in Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, Piotr Beczała in Massenet's Werther and Jan-Hendrik Rootering in Wagner's Parsifal.

Musical Director since 2008 has been Sebastian Weigle, Director since 2002 is Bernd Loebe. A new version of Wagner's Ring Cycle is planned to be completed in 2013.



  • since 2002 Impresario: Bernd Loebe
  • from 2008 Sebastian Weigle (Musical Director)
  • 1999–2008 Paolo Carignani (Musical Director)
  • 1997–2002 Impresario: Martin Steinhoff
  • 1993–1997 Sylvain Cambreling
  • 1987–1991 Gary Bertini
  • 1977–1987 Michael Gielen (Generalmusikdirektor and Impresario)
  • 1967–1977 Christoph von Dohnányi (Generalmusikdirektor and Impresario)
  • 1961–1966 Lovro von Matačić (Generalmusikdirektor and Impresario)
  • 1952–1961 Sir Georg Solti (Generalmusikdirektor and Impresario)
  • 1945–1951 Bruno Vondenhoff (Generalmusikdirektor)
  • 1938–1944 Franz Konwitschny (Generalmusikdirektor)
  • 1937–1938 Georg Ludwig Jochum
  • 1935–1936 Karl Maria Zwißler
  • 1933–1934 Bertil Wetzelsberger
  • 1929–1933 Hans Wilhelm Steinberg
  • 1924–1929 Clemens Krauss (Generalmusikdirektor)
  • 1893–1924 Ludwig Rottenberg
  • 1880–1892 Felix Otto Dessoff (Erster Kapellmeister)


  • since 2009 Oliver Resse
  • Elisabeth Schweeger 2001–2009
  • Peter Eschberg 1991–2001
  • Hans-Peter Doll 1990–1991
  • Günther Rühle 1985–1990
  • Adolf Dresen 1981–1985
  • Wilfried Minks/Johannes Schaaf 1980–1981
  • Peter Palitzsch 1972–1980
  • Ulrich Erfurth 1968–1972
  • Harry Buckwitz 1951–1968
  • Richard Weichert/Heinz Hilpert 1947–1951
  • Toni Impekoven 1945–1947
  • Hans Meissner 1933–1944
  • Alwin Kronbacher 1929–1933
  • Richard Weichert 1920–1929
  • Karl Zeiss 1916–1920
  • Max Behrend 1912–1916
  • Emil Claar 1879–1912


  • 1995, 1996, and 2003 "Opera house of the year"

Building Activity

  • removed a media
    about 5 years ago via