Berlin to stage opera in disused airport

Berlin to stage opera in disused airport


norman lebrecht

March 14, 2023

The Komische Oper Berlin is casting around for venues while its building undergoes renovations over the next six years.

It will open the coming season with Hans Werner Henze’s oratorio ‘The Raft of the Medusa’, performed in a hangar at the historic Tempelhof Airport, site of the 1948-49 Berlin Airlift.

Tempelhof was taken out of service in 2008.


  • Michal Kaznowski says:

    Rattle and BPO performed Stockhausen’s Gruppen for three orchestras at the airport and SR said that the composer, who had died just a few months before, would have enjoyed the venue

  • Anon says:

    No shortage of disused airports in Berlin…

    • RW2013 says:

      Indeed, but there is no plan for opera at Tegel (read “Future development”)

  • Quim Plajà says:

    Berlin Phil tried to do this with the Suor Angelica but finally they stayed at the Philarmonie

  • MMcGrath says:

    Why not use the Schillertheater ehich the Staatsoper used during its renovation? Or is it back in business as a theater?

  • MacroV says:

    Yes, be creative in use of venues. Why not?

  • Rawgabbit says:

    If the Arts Council suggested more opera should be in disused industrial sites, there would be faux outrage and pearl clutching for weeks in the UK.

    It’s in Berlin though, so it’s oh soooo forward thinking.

  • Karl Amadeus Rihm says:

    This will be followed by a new production of Henze’s “The Prince von Homburg” (not Hamburg) at the abandoned Volklinger Iron Works factory in Saarbrucken.

  • Barry Guerrero says:

    I see a huge advantage here. As you pull your car on to the tarmac, you’ll be greeted by a retired marshaller, leading you to your exact parking spot with his/her marshalling sticks. Maybe even a docking ramp might extend out to your car. Personally, I think the future of opera and ballet could be best served at drive-in movie theaters.