Why Munich keeps winning the opera racemain
When we reported yesterday that Bavarian State Opera had sold out the entire run of a new opera two weeks before its world premiere, there were grunts and shrugs of couldn’t-happen-here from most other opera capitals around the world. So what makes Munich audiences so loyal?
Richard Hartmann has some answers for us:
Munich has an opera tradition of over four centuries.
The Nationaltheater, which was one of the first grand opera houses in the world (first construction 1811-1818, reconstructed after burning down between 1823-1825), has seen many world premieres.
“Tristan und Isolde”, “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg”, “Das Rheingold”, “Die Walküre” by Richard Wagner or “Capriccio” and “Der Friedenstag” by Richard Strauss had their première in Munich.
Great conductors – named “Bavaria General Directors of Music”ensured and ensure ongoing highest quality: Joseph Keilbert, Bruno Walter, Carlos Kleiber, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Zubin Metha, Kent Nagano and Kyrill Petrenko are the names in the Hall of Fame of our Theatre.
The Names of the Managing Directors are equally glamorous: Rudolph Hartmann, Wolfgang Sawallisch, August Everding, Sir Peter Jonas and now Nikolaus Bachler have ensured that the Munich Opera ranks amongst the top 5 Opera houses in the world.
However all of that would not help, if there wasn’t an audience willing to fill the 2.103 seats per performance with an average of 280 performances per year! There are alone 25,000 subscribers who attend 6 performances per year and the waiting list is sometimes up to 5 years.
The Bavarian Education System includes teaching of Music from 1st class. Tradition of making Music at home is still very common. The Hochschule für Musik und Theater and the “August-Everding Theatre Academy” ensure a high quality in education of musicians, singers and artists. In addition to the opera house we have two more opera houses, two orchestras of world reputation (Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio and Munich Philharmonic), in addition 8 large orchestras of high quality and more than 50 Choir-Associations who regularly perform in other concert halls or churches during high-mass. The international ARD-Musikwettbewerb ranks amongst the highest competitions worldwide amongst young musicians ensuring that young artist have a challenge to perform.
My lengthy explanation just should show the reader that an continuous education can lead to a high level of art supporters on either side: spectators who listen (being gourmets and gourmands) and artists who perform to an well educated audience. The State of Bavaria invests a lot of money to ensure this highest quality of supporting fine arts as part of the Bavarian Constitution.
This is the key to the success of our Opera House and a sold out World Premiere – not only recently, but surely since decades.