The 2020/21 season at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden

In these difficult times, the Staatsoper Unter den Linden wants to look ahead, and we are pleased to present our program for the 2020/21 season today. »Restlessness« is the word which guides the 2020/21 season: Restlessness urges humans on and prevents them from standing still. Restlessness engenders dynamics. Calm and motion are closely interlinked, though. Inherent calmness must not be confused with being at a standstill. Calm is inconceivable without motion and vice versa. Retardation or slowing down can bring about progress and change, too. Who would have thought that in the present situation this keyword for the season would become more relevant than ever before?
Due to the developments caused by the corona pandemic after the printing deadline of the season brochure, adjustments have to be made to the season 2020/21 of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden. This concerns the following productions:

• CHOWANSCHTSCHINA: The production will not be presented in 2020/21, a revival of Verdi’s MACBETH will now take place on the scheduled dates.
• IDOMENEO: The scheduled revival will be the premiere, with slight changes in the schedule.
• COSÌ FAN TUTTE: Whether the production can take place as a premiere on the planned revival dates in 2020/21 is currently still being examined. This information will be announced in time before the early start of advance sales for subscriptions and FESTTAGE cycles on 25 April 2020.

We will inform you about the exact (date) changes on

Highlights of the new season will be seven premieres in the main hall, the LINDEN 21 format (featuring four new productions, one of them a world premiere), the third BAROCKTAGE festival (13 to 22 November 2020) and the FESTTAGE festival (26 March to 5 April 2021). The program includes 26 revivals of opera works as well as more than 90 concerts. All in all, in 2020/21, you can look forward to more than 360 performances plus a large number of projects undertaken by the Junge Staatsoper. Furthermore, the Staatskapelle Berlin celebrates its 450th anniversary in 2020. The highlight of the celebrations will be a FESTWOCHE from 5 to 12 September 2020.

With Barbara Wysocka, Satoshi Miyagi, Calixto Bieito, Damiano Michieletto, Lydia Steier and Vincent Huguet all premieres of the 2020/21 season will be staged by directors working for Staatsoper Unter den Linden for the first time. The seventh premiere will be the new production of Mozart’s IDOMENEO staged by David McVicar, which had originally been planned for the current 2019/20 season.At the LINDEN 21 format, Simon Steen-Andersen, Swaantje Lena Kleff and Barbora Horáková Joly will give their Staatsoper debut.

On 3 October 2020, the season will be opened with the premiere of Luca Francesconi’s QUARTETT staged by Barbara Wysocka and conducted by Daniel Barenboim. The opera with only two characters on stage, based on the play by Heiner Müller with the same title, drawn in its turn from the famous epistolary novel »Dangerous Liaisons« by Choderlos de Laclos, had its world premiere in 2011 in English and is now staged in German for the first time. The singers will be Mojca Erdmann (Marquise de Merteuil, role debut) and Thomas Oliemans (Vicomte de Valmont, Staatsoper and role debut).

The Mozart-Da-Ponte cycle, which was originally due to be launched at this year’s FESTTAGE 2020 with a performance of COSÌ FAN TUTTE, will now start next year at the FESTTAGE 2021 with the premiere of LE NOZZE DI FIGARO (premiere: 27 March), directed by Vincent Huguet and under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim. Among others, the ensemble includes Elsa Dreisig (Gräfin Almaviva, role debut), Nadine Sierra (Susanna), Marianne Crebassa (Cherubino), Waltraud Meier (Marcellina), Gyula Orendt (Graf Almaviva, role debut), Riccardo Fassi (Figaro), Siegfried Jerusalem (Don Curzio) and Stephan Rügamer (Basilio).

Furthermore, during the FESTTAGE, Daniel Barenboim will conduct the revival of Wagner’s PARSIFAL staged by Dmitri Tcherniakov and make an appearance in the FESTTAGE concerts: as the conductor of the Wiener Philharmoniker and of the Staatskapelle Berlin, fulfilling the double function of a conductor and pianist for Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra E-flat major, KV 365, and as a soloist in a duo recital, both times performing together with Martha Argerich. In the 2020/21 season, the General Music Director will, furthermore, perform four subscription concerts of Staatskapelle Berlin and, as part of the festive week »450 years of Staatskapelle Berlin« conduct the FESTKONZERT as well as STAATSOPER FÜR ALLE, the open air concert on Bebelplatz. In addition, he will conduct the KONZERT FÜR BERLIN, the Turn of the year concerts and the guest performances of Staatskapelle Berlin in Paris, Vienna and Athens.

Further premieres of the 2020/21 season are Wagner’s LOHENGRIN (premiere: 13 December 2020) staged by Calixto Bieito and with Matthias Pintscher as the conductor, with Roberto Alagna singing the title role and Sonya Yoncheva as Elsa von Brabant, both making their role debuts in this production. The ensemble furthermore includes René Pape (Heinrich der Vogler), Martin Gantner (Friedrich of Telramund) and Ekaterina Gubanova (Ortrud). Along with restagings of TANNHÄUSER and DER FLIEGENDE HOLLÄNDER, the upcoming season will bring Wagner’s three romantic operas to the stage.

With the premiere of JENŮFA (premiere: 14 February 2021), Simon Rattle continues his exploration of the central works by Janáček at Staatsoper Berlin. Damiano Michieletto will stage the new production. There is a very special link between Staatsoper Unter den Linden and JENŮFA, as the Berlin premiere in 1924 directed by Erich Kleiber, which Janáček himself attended, helped the work achieve its true breakthrough on German stages and established the Berlin Janáček tradition. You can look forward to Camilla Nylund, who debuts in the title role, Evelyn Herlitzius (Die Küsterin Buryjovka), Stuart Skelton (Laca Klemeň) and Ladislav Elgr (Števa Buryja). As addition to this new production, Janáček’s music will also be the focus of the chamber concerts with musicians from Staatskapelle Berlin.

Giacomo Puccini’s LA FANCIULLA DEL WEST (premiere: 13 June 2021), staged by Lydia Steier and conducted by Antonio Pappano, will be performed at Staatsoper for the first time. Puccini’s »Wild West opera«, set in the heydays of the gold rush in the Californian wilderness, accurately pictures a world of hardship and shattered dreams. The singers are, among others, Anja Kampe (Minnie), Yusif Eyvazov (Dick Johnson) and Michael Volle (Jack Rance, role debut). This new production in our schedule is complemented by the three famous Puccini operas LA BOHÈME, TOSCA and MADAMA BUTTERFLY.

MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO, Mozart’s early opera seria, will be the BAROCKTAGE premiere on 13 November 2020. It will be staged by Satoshi Miyagi, whose staging bridges the gap between the Western theatre tradition and the aesthetics of the Japanese Kabuki theatre. The musical director will be Marc Minkowski. The ensemble comprises, among others, Pene Pati, singing the title role and making his Staatsoper and role debut, as well as Julie Fuchs (Aspasia, Staatsoper and role debut), Elsa Dreisig (Sifare, role debut), Jakub Józef Orliński (Farnace, role debut) and Anna Prohaska (Ismene, role debut). The production will be performed by Les Musiciens du Louvre.

In 2020, the BAROCKTAGE will take place from 13 to 22 November. The third festival draws the audience’s attention to Mozart’s early works, to Gluck and the Orpheus myth. Apart from the premiere of Mozart’s MITRIDATE, RE DI PONTO, you can look forward to revivals of Gluck’s ORFEO ED EURIDICE and Monteverdi’s L’ORFEO; furthermore, there will be a concert production of an ORFEO opera by Carl Heinrich Graun, the Berlin court Kapellmeister of Prussian king Frederick II. As part of LINDEN 21, there will be a cooperation with students of Berlin art schools and universities by the name of NEVER LOOK BACK – EIN ORPHEUS-FESTIVAL. The program furthermore comprises a round table discussion and 14 concerts.

LINDEN 21 covers the productions and projects which explore the wide range of forms in contemporary music theatre. In addition to NEVER LOOK BACK – EIN ORPHEUS-FESTIVAL in cooperation with the Universität der Künste Berlin, the Hochschule für Schauspielkunst Ernst Busch and the Hochschulübergreifendes Zentrum Tanz Berlin (premiere: 14 November 2020), WALK THE WALK will have its world premiere – a work by Simon Steen-Andersen, who accounts for composition, concept, stage design and lighting (world premiere: 10 September 2020). The elementary starting point of the »Performance for four percussionists, treadmills, video, objects, light and smoke« is »walking«. Together with the Swiss percussion quartet Ensemble This | Ensemble That, the Danish composer and installation artist Simon Steen-Andersen explores the phenomenon of walking as an element in theatre and music, creating a multimedia-based performance on pace and movement (production and commission of the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Musica Strasbourg, Gare du Nord Basel and KLANG Copenhagen).

Furthermore, LINDEN 21 will bring the premiere of Georg Friedrich Haas’ THOMAS staged by Barbora Horáková Joly and conducted by Max Renne (premiere: 16 April 2021) as well as Lucia Ronchetti’s PINOCCHIOS ABENTEUER for children from the age of 6, staged by Swaantje Lena Kleff and conducted by Adrian Heger (premiere: 17 January 2021).


  • Nicolai’s DIE LUSTIGEN WEIBER VON WINDSOR in the same cast as for the premiere, conducted by Daniel Barenboim (September 2020)
  • Puccini’s TOSCA with Angel Blue singing the title role and giving her Staatsoper debut (February / March 2021)
  • Strauss’ DER ROSENKAVALIER staged by André Heller and conducted by Simone Young, with Camilla Nylund, Günther Groissböck and Nadine Sierra et al (March 2021)
  • Puccini’s LA BOHÈME, conducted by Rafael Payare and with Aida Garifullina as Mimì (April / May 2021)
  • Verdi’s LA TRAVIATA, with Eun Sun Kim conducting and Elsa Dreisig singing Violetta Valéry (May 2021)
  • Berg’s WOZZECK directed by Andrea Breth, conducted by Matthias Pintscher, with Matthias Goerne in the title role and Eva-Maria Westbroek as Marie. The production premiered in 2011 at the Schiller Theater and can be experienced for the first time in this staging at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden, the house where the work had its world premiere in 1925 (May 2021)
  • In 1821 Weber’s DER FREISCHÜTZ had its world premiere in Berlin. On the occasion of the 200th anniversary, the production directed by Michael Thalheimer and conducted by Alexander Soddy is back on the program (May / June 2021)

New to the ENSEMBLE from the 2020/21 season is the South African tenor Siyabonga Maqungo.

In 2020, the Staatskapelle Berlin looks back on 450 years of existence – reason enough to celebrate this anniversary! In addition to the release of a CD edition by Deutsche Grammophon, a book publication by Hanser Verlag and an exhibition in the Apollosaal, the anniversary will culminate in a FESTWOCHE from 5 to 12 September. The FESTWOCHE will include the STAATSOPER FÜR ALLE concert, thanks to BMW Berlin. The program comprises Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with Lang Lang as soloist as well as Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with Julia Kleiter, Waltraud Meier, Andreas Schager, René Pape and the Staatsopernchor, conducted by Daniel Barenboim. Furthermore, there is a festive concert »450 years of Staatskapelle Berlin« featuring works by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Richard Strauss, Pierre Boulez and Ludwig van Beethoven and a world premiere by Jörg Widmann, also conducted by the General Music Director of the Staatskapelle Berlin. In addition, there will be a birthday celebration for the Staatskapelle Berlin on 12 September, as an Open Day for everyone!

Staatskapelle Berlin will perform 16 symphony concerts with eight programs in Berlin – in the opera house Unter den Linden and in the Philharmonie. Four of the programs will be conducted by Daniel Barenboim. The conductors of the other concerts will be François-Xavier Roth, Simon Rattle, Zubin Mehta and Antonio Pappano.
The soloists are Anne-Sophie Mutter (violin), Maurizio Pollini (piano), Claudius Popp (cello), Martha Argerich (piano) and Alexandre Kantorow (piano) as well as Genia Kühmeier, Violeta Urmana, Klaus-Florian Vogt, René Pape, Elena Stikhina, Daniela Barcellona, Fabio Sartori and Ildar Abdrazakov, who will sing vocal parts. Furthermore, the Staatsopernchor participates in two programs.

The 2021 FESTTAGE concert program comprises a duo recital with Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim as well as symphony concerts with the Wiener Philharmoniker and the Staatskapelle Berlin, conducted by Daniel Barenboim in the dual role of a conductor and pianist in Mozart’s Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra E-flat major, KV 365, together with Martha Argerich. During the FESTTAGE, the Opernkinderorchester (children’s opera orchestra) will perform again, conducted by Giuseppe Mentuccia, the Musical Assistant to Daniel Barenboim.

The 14 BAROCKTAGE concerts (13 to 22 November) will focus on works by the composers Mozart, Gluck and Graun. Among the guests of the festival are Nicolas Altstaedt, Alexander Lonquich, Nikolaus Habjan, Ines Schüttengruber, Dorothee Oberlinger and the Ensemble 1700, Kristian Bezuidenhout, Les Musiciens du Louvre conducted by Francesco Corti with Arianna Vendittelli, Anna Kissjudit, Ema Nikolovska, Valentino Buzza, Le Concert des Nations conducted by Jordi Savall, Fabio Biondi with members of Europa Galante, Vocalconsort Berlin conducted by Daniel Reuss as well as the Akademie für Alte Musik with Howard Arman conducting and with Lucile Richardot, Sophie Karthäuser, Sunhae Im, Roberta Mameli, Mark Milhofer, Andrew Watts and Lore Binon as soloists. A children’s concert for young people from 6 to 9 years will be held by members of the Akademie für Alte Musik. The BAROCKTAGE concerts will take place in the Apollosaal, in the main hall and in the Pierre Boulez Saal (in cooperation with the Pierre Boulez Saal).

In November 2020, the Staatskapelle Berlin and its General Music Director Daniel Barenboim will be guest performing the Beethoven symphony cycle in Paris (Philharmonie), Athens (Megaron) and Vienna (Musikverein), and in January 2021 they will perform works by Beethoven (Violin Concerto with soloist Lisa Batiashvili), Wagner and Boulez’ Notations I-IV and VII on the occasion of the Boulez Biennial in Paris.

Further concerts include the KONZERT FÜR BERLIN on 3 October 2020 on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German reunification in cooperation with the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe, with Daniel Barenboim conducting Beethoven’s 7th Symphony. A special concert is scheduled for 29 April 2021 to commemorate the 85th birthday of Zubin Mehta. The Honorary Conductor of Staatskapelle Berlin will conduct Mahler’s First Symphony and Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto with Daniel Barenboim performing as a soloist. The Turn of the year concerts on 31 December 2020 and 1 January 2021 will feature Beethoven’s 9th Symphony conducted by Daniel Barenboim with Julia Kleiter, Marina Prudenskaya, Eric Cutler, Michael Volle and the Staatsopernchor performing.

Sing-along concert: For the first time, the choirs of Staatsoper Unter den Linden invite their audience to sing along with them! Supported by the Apollo-Chor and the Jugendchor, on 27 September 2020, the audience will rehearse selected works and then perform them in a joint concert with the Staatsopernchor, which will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2021, conducted by choir director Martin Wright.

In the 2020/21 season, the chamber concerts by members of the Staatskapelle Berlin will focus on the chamber music works by Janáček and other Czech composers. An additional concert is dedicated to works by Luca Francesconi, which links the program back to the opening production QUARTETT. The other concert formats presented are the concert series Prussian Court Music, the concerts in the Pierre Boulez Saal, the Sunday matinees in the Bode Museum, the climate concert by the »Orchester des Wandels« (comprising the Staatskapelle musicians), a song recital with Matthias Goerne and Jan Lisiecki in the main hall, song recitals in the Apollosaal with singers from the ensemble, a jazz concert with Thomas Quasthoff & Band, the advent concert of the Staatsoper children’s choir, other choir concerts, a family concert with Lindenbrass (the Staatsoper brass ensemble), children’s concerts for different age groups, concerts with the International Opera Studio and the Orchestra Academy of the Staatskapelle Berlin, the program »Alles wieder gut« of Musicbanda Franui and Florian Boesch with a video installation by Jonas Dahlberg as well as Stravinsky’s »Geschichte vom Soldaten« in the Apollosaal as a special event on the occasion of Jürgen Flimm’s 80th birthday with Flimm himself present and, among others, Stefan Kurt as a performer.

As part of the FESTTAGE 2021, the Opernkinderorchester (children’s opera orchestra) will perform conducted by Giuseppe Mentuccia. The concert of the young musicians aged 7 to 12 featuring excerpts from Mozart’s LE NOZZE DI FIGARO as well as works by Camille Saint-Saëns, Antonín Dvořák and Johannes Brahms (on 3 April as part of the FESTTAGE and on 13, 14 and 25 April 2021) is closely linked to the 2020/21 opera program. The Opernkinderorchester (children’s opera orchestra) is supported by the Hilti Foundation, the Heinz und Heide Dürr Stiftung and the Karl Schlecht Stiftung.

The Kinderopernhaus Berlin (children’s opera house Berlin), which has become established in many Berlin districts, along with the Opernkinderorchester (children’s opera orchestra), is at the very core of the Staatsoper’s educational work. In the original Berlin district of Lichtenberg, where the initiative was launched more than 10 years ago, but just as well in Marzahn and Reinickendorf, there are regional centres, as many as ten school groups were initiated, with the Staatsoper Unter den Linden apulled the strings since 2018/19. All in all, hundreds of children in all Berlin districts can participate who, for the first time in their life, have come in contact with the art form of an opera. In the 2020/21 season, the children aged 10 to 13 from the Kinderopernhaus Unter den Linden (children’s opera house Unter den Linden) will explore the subject of Lohengrin under the qualified supervision of experienced opera professionals. Under the title of LOHENGRIN!, this production will premiere on 22 May 2021 in the Alter Orchesterprobensaal with Uwe Sochaczewsky as the musical director and Ulrike Schwab as the stage director. The Kinderopernhaus Berlin is supported by the Hilti Foundation, the Berlin Projektfond Kulturelle Bildung and by the participating districts of Berlin.

On 17 January 2021, Lucia Ronchetti’s chamber opera PINOCCHIOS ABENTEUER for children from the age of six will premiere in the Alter Orchesterprobensaal, staged by Swaantje Lena Kleff and conducted by Adrian Heger.

In its production SINFONIE UNSERER STADT, the Jugendklub (youth club) explores Berlin, the rhythm of this big city, searching for snapshots in the daily grind, consistent patterns in the chaos and (missed) moments of encounter (premiere: 11 June 2021).

In addition to children’s concerts, that are also integrated in festivals like the BAROCKTAGE, the offers further include workshops, rehearsal visits, composition workshops, projects such as »Rhapsody in School« or TUSCH – Theater und Schule (Theatre and School), the youth club and the youth choir.

The main sponsor of the children’s and youth program of Staatsoper Unter den Linden is the Hilti Foundation, Liechtenstein, as part of its funding priority »Community Arts & Culture«.

The ticket sales for all performances of the 2020/21 season begin on Saturday, 16 May 2020. Ticket sales for subscriptions and the FESTTAGE cycles start as early as on 25 April 2020. Friends of the Staatsoper, subscribers and holders of a StaatsopernCard are entitled to buy tickets for all performances early, starting on 9 May 2020. For more information, please refer to

Staatsoper Unter den Linden sincerely thanks the Verein der Freunde und Förderer der Staatsoper Unter den Linden and its main sponsors BMW and Hilti Foundation for their support.