Munich joins the opera shutdown, Berlin to follow

Munich joins the opera shutdown, Berlin to follow


norman lebrecht

March 10, 2020

Bavarian State opera shut down today until April 19.

We very much regret to inform you that, by order of the Ministry, all performances at the Bayerische Staatsoper in the period March 11 to April 19 have to be cancelled.
The Bayerische Staatsoper will try to make individual performances available as live stream or video-on-demand within the next few days and will inform you about an alternative online schedule on STAATSOPER.TV as soon as possible. Live streams are already scheduled for the 5th Academy Concert on March 16 with Joana Mallwitz and Igor Levit as well as Swan Lake on March 21. The Season Presentation will be streamed live online this coming Sunday, March 15 (in German only).
All tickets of cancelled performances will be refunded automatically.

The Berlin opera houses are expecting a closure order very soon.

We are hearing of Berlin concerts being cancelled tonight. No word yet from the Philharmonic.

We will keep you updated.



  • Olassus says:

    What appears to be planned, in Munich anyway, is that several performances will take place — only without us.

    Perhaps Vorstellung must involve an audience whereas the English “performance” does not necessarily. Hence the use of abgesagt, or cancelled.

    I believe some monied soccer games have taken place recently without a crowd, and that the same solution is being considered for the Tokyo Olympics.

    • Lausitzer says:

      Performance rather translates as Aufführung. The word Vorstellung has a somewhat different meaning, rather like presentation. A screening in a movie theatre is a Vorstellung, too.

      What Bayerische Staatsoper plans is absolutely clear: Some performances for cameras and microphones only. Turn the whole thing into a TV station (or rather a video streaming service of course) as long as it is not allowed to work as a theatre. Has anyone done this before?

      • Olassus says:

        Yes. Of course “turn the whole thing into a TV station” is what Bayerische Staatsoper has been doing anyway for the last decade.

        The company’s work is always with the goal of producing a documented filmed product. Theater audience be damned. Which is why all the sets look like overblown vignettes from IKEA, and why scenes never change as they should.

        • Tiredofitall says:

          Well said. Add the Met (and others) to the list of television studios. The sad thing is, in the current health emergency, it may be these transmissions that save opera.

  • Andreas B. says:

    In Bavaria almost all public theatres are closed until 19th April.

    E.g. Nuremberg, Augsburg, Regensburg and smaller venues in Munich.
    Also affected are concerts venues like Munich’s Philharmonie and Bamberg concert hall.

  • Max Grimm says:

    “We are hearing of Berlin concerts being cancelled tonight. Now word yet from the Philharmonic.”

    Here is the anticipated update (virtually all performances cancelled until the 19th of April)…

    At present, there seems to be an exception, allowing venues with a capacity of 500 or less to decide independently whether to temporarily shutter or remain open.

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    I am not convinced these drastic measures will prevent the rapid spread of this virus. Besides how long will these shut downs last? Unless one decides to shut down all activity, including businesses, public transport, shops and impose a month long quarantine on everyone, this virus will not go away. The best hope is some vaccine.

  • Gustavo says:

    Is this the largest cultural blackout since WWII?

  • Jenny B says:

    …. and the Royal Opera House continues to fiddle whilst Rome burns ……. Do they really think that a tissue is going to save everyone??