We sing opera in German, with German surtitles

Oper Frankfurt is putting on the German premiere of a recent Swiss opera, Der Sandmann.

They are keen for world media to attend.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to invite you to the opening night (or a later performance) of the first new

production in Oper Frankfurt’s 2016/17 season:

Sunday September 18th 2016, at 18.00hrs in the Opera House

Premiere / First performance in Germany


Opera in ten scenes by Andrea Lorenzo Scartazzini (*1971)

based on motifs from the story by the same name (1815) by E.T.A. Hoffmann

Text by Thomas Jonigk

Performed in German with German surtitles

oper frankfurt

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      • That’s a matter of opinion!!! I love ENO, and even as an opera singer myself, I enjoy opera in translation – particularly comic opera, which even Opera North have the sense to.do up here in English, and at a price I can afford. After all, it’s a busman’s holiday for me, not a night out when singing has been my job! But there is Covent Garden for those who disagree and who live in London, and can actually get in.

        As for sung German with German surtitles, perhaps the German is obscure, and the singers’ diction will also be dodgy again that it can’t be heard – even in Germany!!!

  • …yes. That is the most important thing about a brand new opera being premiered (in Germany) at a major opera house.

  • German surtitles for operas sung in German have been common practice for years in many German opera houses. Nothing new in this.

    And yes, it does make sense, as even German native speakers and experienced opera goers like me often have no chance to understand a text sung in German – especially by female voices.

  • “We sing opera in German, with German surtitles” reminds me of: “We’re Cheech and Chong, man! We’re actors! And we DO MOVIES!” – a favorite quote of a roommate in college who kept repeating it. 🙂

  • This explains why the stories in operas are typically so weak… it didn’t matter, no one could understand what was going on even if they spoke the language.

    • A commonly held view applicable to some popular operas that get by on fantastic music, but there really would be no point in the artform if that were true in the majority of cases. Opera at it’s best works when all the arts come together- I’ll call that ‘Total Work of Art’ (no-one’s used that yet have they?). And it’s not just the super serious stuff. Donizetti is one who’s works work brilliantly as drama… and comedy. As for the subtitles thing, we need them, and in Germany they will be in German. No big deal really!

  • Opera performances at Karlsruhe, Berlin Komische Oper and Deutsche Oper have surtitles in English as well as German

    • Sorry…. this comment did not seem to get through and I posted it again, a little extended. After you have read this 1st comment, forget it, and continue with the 2nd.

  • Visitors to this production should prepare themselves by having their perceptive framework appropriately adapted beforehand:



    The ‘Sandmann’ is apparently a very joyous, life-enhancing and melodious work, from which audiences will return to their cosy homes reassured of the meaning of life and of the importance of love – in short: having felt what it means to be a human being.

    • Enjoyed both your comments. Signs of an artform ripe for revolution. Or oblivion. Hard to tell which…

    • Always on shaky ground quoting Wagner I know, but one of my favourites comes from as early as 1836 when he spoke of the need for us to free ourselves from the ‘cult of affectation and intellectuality’. It would perhaps be a step too far to suggest that these kids have been brainwashed and inducted into some kind of bizarre cult, but…

      • Yes, it’s a kind of intellectual ‘gothic’ – the pastime of teenagers from very, very bourgeois backgrounds, a form of ‘protest’ against what they think is derelict tradition.

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