Berlin has an incomparable amount of cultural venues for the performing arts. Whether it´s opera, ballet, theatre or classical music, Berlin is a major city of culture. To find out for ourselves we visited some of the best stages in Berlin and experienced memorable performances. Here´s our top ten performing art venues in Berlin.
1. Berlin Philharmonie
The Berlin Philharmonic is considered the best orchestra in the world and the chance to see them at the Philharmonie makes for a special evening. Iván Fischer conducted on the night we attended with solo violinist Lisa Batiashvilli providing some additional glamour to the proceedings. Although it may have been cold and grey outside there was an evident warm glow exuding from all those at the Philharmonie. It´s also worth mentioning that the charismatic Sir Simon Rattle is the current principal conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic.Herbert-von-Karajan-Straße
(030) 254 88-999
2. Deutsche Oper Berlin
It was Oh-Berlin´s first ever visit to the ballet and so we were into new territory. Firstly, walking around the Deutsche Oper Berlin you can´t help but be impressed by the thoroughly elegant layout throughout the building. The ballet we saw was Die Bajadere, which had an Indian theme to the production and settings. It was very easy to get a grasp of what was going on but this did not seem of vital importance as you were just spellbound by some of the amazing choreographed scenes. Seeing thirty or so perfectly poised ballerinas moving with such grace in intricate dance formations is an impressive sight.The stage designs and changes were quick and looked great.If good art has the power to lift your spirits then a night of ballet at the Deutsche Oper definitely met those criteria for us.
(0)30 343 84 01
If you are looking for a Vegas-like show while you are in Berlin, then the Friedrichstadt-Palast is the place for you. We saw the current “Show Me” production and it had it all in that over-the-top Vegas way; showgirls galore, lavish costumes, big song numbers and acrobats. The stage (which is the largest in the world), sets and effects are visually stunning with some of the water and ice set scenes particularly impressive.
4. Staatsoper Im Schiller Theatre
With the historic Staatsoper building on the Unter den Linden boulevard currently closed for major reconstruction work the Schiller Theatre is now the replacement venue. We saw an excellent and rousing performance of Madame Butterfly at the Schiller. The main auditorium is also something we really liked as it had a cosy and intimate feel to it for visitors.
(0)30 – 20 35 40
5. Haus der Kulturen der Welt (House of the world cultures)
The HKW venue specialises in contemporary art outside of European cultures. Visual arts, music, literature, performing arts, film, academic discussions and digital media are all linked in typical interdisciplinary programmes.
The “Haus” is also a very striking looking building, complete with a huge Henry Moore sculpture, that you should really see illuminated at night.
6. Deutsches Theatre Berlin
Berlin has always had a rich theatre heritage and the Deutsches Theatre dates back to 1850 when it was then the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Städtisches Theatre, named after Frederick William IV of Prussia. Mainly German only productions, but they also run English subtitles.
7. Komische Oper
A contemporary looking venue from the outside belies the fantastic magical lavish, wonderfully ornate and sumptuous auditorium that awaits visitors. The Komische Oper has a reputation for staging challenging modern musical theatre. Most productions are in German only, but subtitles may be available.
8. Bluemax Theatre (Blue Man Group)
After wowing Berlin in 2004, the lovable blue guys got their very own remodeled venue in the shape of the Bluemax Theatre with a capacity of 600. The three-man stage act’s performances include experimental music, comedy and multi-media.
01805 – 4444 (14 Ct./Min.)
A standout building on Rosa Luxemburg, along with the Bablylon Cinema, is the Volksbühne. Known as the ´peoples theatre´ it has a reputation for challenging, provocative and sometimes controversial productions. The interior still retains that old school Berlin charm but today concerts, gallery showings and launch parties coexist with Berlin’s theatre community.
10. Berlin Ensemble (Theater am Schiffbauerdamm)
The Berlin Ensemble was founded by Bertolt Brecht and moved to its current venue, Theatre am Schiffbauerdamm, in 1954. A beautiful theatre which still retains much of the style and charm of a bygone area. Productions are in German.
The Last Word
Phew, it has been a hectic week or so as Oh-Berlin has gone into cultural overdrive visiting artistic venues all over the city. Highlight? The ballet at the Deutsche Oper Berlin was pretty special; everything from the venue, stage and settings and heavenly ballerinas made for a memorable evening. What are your favourite cultural venues? Do you have any memorable experiences or favourite performances? We would love to hear about them.