René Pape faces job threat in Berlin

René Pape faces job threat in Berlin


norman lebrecht

July 05, 2022

Statement by the Staatsoper unter den Linden:

The comments René Pape posted on social media regarding the Metropolitan Opera’s participation in the Pride Parade in New York have caused great irritation in the house and among the management. René Pape is a long-standing and valued member of the ensemble of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, who can currently be seen on our stage, and management sought out a personal discussion with him about these intolerable comments directly. It is clear that homophobia and discrimination of any kind have absolutely no place in our house and will not be accepted. During the conversation, René Pape announced that he will publish a statement and we would like to give him the opportunity to do so.
As an institution, we want to make an explicit statement for LGBTQIA diversity and against hate and discrimination. For respect at eye level, tolerance, and togetherness. We want to be clear that we support all members of the community.
For the first time Pride Month is taking place in Berlin this year: Starting last Tuesday (28.6.) – Stonewall Day – for four weeks, until Sunday, 24th July 22. Pride Month was created by the CSD Verein to give Berliners and visitors more space for LGBTQIA issues and encounters in and with Berlin’s queer communities. The Pride Demonstration and the final rally on 23 July are still the highlight and conclusion of Pride Month. The Berlin CSD e.V. association aims to make all facets of the LGBTQIA community visible and strengthen them. Furthermore, their goal is to support existing Safer Spaces in Berlin and to create more during Pride Month.
As we are already on summer break on 23rd July, we will not be able to support the Pride Demonstration artistically, but we would like to offer more visibility by sharing and calling for support! You can find more information about Berlin Pride Month here:


  • Berliner says:

    Just watched him as Timur in their new Turandot production. He was legendary!!! He is the only reason to go to this bad staging of squid game. How can he be ok with this kind of sh*t is more strange

  • Tiredofitall says:

    Another client for Miguel Esteban?

  • IP says:

    Oh, the diversity people are so liberal, I would be surprised if they don’t kill him.

    • Daniel says:

      “We can disagree and still love each other unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist.”
      — James Baldwin

    • David says:

      Well then I guess your life is full of surprises every day! Good for you!

  • TishaDoll says:

    It’s hard to profit by homophobia in Berlin. So, our local boy will make good. He was a wonderful Falstaff in Merry Wives here in May at the Staatsoper and his voice is perfectly preserved. No one goes for rehab much here

  • Alan says:

    This Pride nonsense has gone to far. Now it lasts a month. Soon it will be two. Many gay men and women distance themselves from it.
    Personally I don’t care what Pape said.
    Many more important things to concern ourselves with.

  • John in Denver says:

    If Pape dislikes being around gay people who do not hide themselves in shame, he really should not have chosen a career in opera. It must have been very hard for him all this time! But retirement is not far away, and he can be among his kind, at rallies and torchlight marches of various kinds.

    • Sarah says:

      Rene doesn’t dislike gays et al at all. It’s the way Pride has gone, and not the only one to get irritated by it all but spoken out so now getting knifed, so to speak, so as I probably will. The opera and the church have employed gays for years, and they can be the nicest and most caring of people. But it is the whole Pride thing that has gone mad, crossed a line even for many gays who would say is becoming counter productive and bringing them into the whole transgender dimension they don’t want to belong to. Why they also had to hijack the rainbow, flags everywhere, and The Wizard of Oz song, I just don’t know. But it doesn’t mean one is anti gay or anti the rest of the acronym.

      • John in Denver says:

        Hijack? Please don’t speak so dismissively and insultingly of important elements of gay history, which go back to a time when gay people were an outcast group, had to speak in code, were constantly threatened with arrest, and all too often ended their lives in suicide. (Those days will return if Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas has his way.) Gay identification with The Wizard of Oz, “Over the Rainbow,” and Judy Garland goes back to long before the historic Stonewall protest of 1969, which took place immediately after Garland’s death. Here is some background:

  • Carlos says:

    Pape has just issued this statement in Facebook:

    To my dear friends, colleagues, and followers: I am deeply sorry for the pain and hurt I caused so many people by the comments I posted on Facebook. There is no excuse for it, and none of this matches what I feel in my heart. The disappointment I have in myself and what I said is something I will not move past anytime soon, if ever.
    I was attempting to make a statement about what I feel are sometimes performative actions by opera houses, but instead I wrote poorly written comments that seemed filled with hate for a community which has loved and supported me for years, and which I have love and respect for in return.
    I grew up in former East Germany. Hatred and division were fires stoked by a controlling government during this period. I grew up in the shadow of it, and my questioning of others’ actions and true motivations comes from a dark part of myself I am not proud of in the least.
    This inexcusable lapse in judgement happened in a moment I am ashamed of, and after so many years of struggle and public speculation I need to be honest with you and with myself.
    I am an alcoholic, and have struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. I have fought on and off with a demon that brings out the worst in me. There is no excuse for any behavior that comes from this. I have no lasting victory over this demon, only a series of won and lost battles.
    I will spend the summer focusing on my health, not only for myself but so I can be better for everyone else going forward. My most sincere apologies to the LGBTQIA+ community and all of you.

  • Julia says:

    In this situation, one of the basic democratic values, freedom of speech, was fully manifested…

    • Lynne says:

      He has a right to free speech (although that usually means a government can’t curtail your speech. Facebook is not a government). And the rest of are free to think he’s a jerk for what he said. Freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences.

  • Daniel says:

    I’d love to see the Staatsoper do a pride parade event next year and see if he gnashes his teeth enough to quit there too. His sputtering wee tantrum would be a delight to see.

  • Günther Kraus says:

    Something that has gotten lost in this discussion is Herr Pape’s engagement with the Life Ball in Vienna. Rene has often performed at benefits for AIDS organizations in Austria. This does not seem to fit with the image of a homophobe.

    In his apology, Herr Pape expresses a desire to work on himself. I believe we should take him at his word, and let him make amends and learn from the experience.

    Tolerance and appreciation for our differences can be learned. I hope nobody jumps on this opportunity to “cancel” him. Let’s turn this into a story of growth, education, and leading by example.

    • Paul Brownsey says:

      His comment seemed directed at Pride in general, which is now LGBTQIA+ Pride, gay npeople being only one of the many sorts of mpeople cov ered by the initialism. So we do not know he is homophobic, because his initial remarks may have been prompted by one of the *other* sorts of people who have taken over what was once Gay Pride. Everyone should write out one hundred times: ” ‘Gay’ and ‘LGBTQIA+’ are not the same.”

  • Margaret Koscielny says:

    In the meantime, while people nurse their hurt feelings, a toddler was robbed of his loving parents in a massacre in Illinois on the July 4 celebration. The scale of human suffering weighs heaviest when the very lives of totally innocent children are threatened by genuine hate.
    Perhaps, everyone should just step back and stop magifying past wrongs and present perceived injury. It takes time for people to evolve and learn to accept other people who are different from them. It seems everyone, including the wronged in this case are also subject to prejudicial thinking. We are all human beings and we are all, ultimately related to one another. Let’s try to be kind to one another. We are all different, and yet, we are all the same.

  • fcg says:

    If Mr. Pape is spending the summer focusing on his health (the underlying suggestion being that he will work on his addiction issues and depression), does that mean he is withdrawing from currently scheduled appearances to do that work?