There’s a new recording of a Paul Dessau opera that was absent from stages for far too long: “Involving more than 30 solo singing roles, a nine-part chorus and a huge orchestra, as well as dancers and actors, Lanzelot was one of the most ambitious operas ever mounted in the GDR.”  (The Guardian, 1/12/23)

The cross-gender casting in a new production of The Threepenny Opera at the Vienna Volksoper isn’t just a gimmick, but a thoughtful experiment with Brechtian Verfremdung in a piece many theatergoers know all too well.  (The New York Times, 12/23/22)

“Words, syllables, meter, sound, flow and position,” plus a healthy dose of German hip-hop—kudos to Hamilton‘s German translators, Sera Finale and Kevin Schroeder, for getting the job done.  (The New York Times, 9/14/22; The New York Times, 9/14/22; The New York Times, 10/7/22)

“Germany is, on statistical grounds, the most operatic country on earth.”  (The New Yorker, 6/13/22)

Eugen Engel was murdered at Sobibor in 1943. His opera Grete Minde, recently discovered in a San Francisco basement, has just had its world premiere at the Theater Magdeburg.  (J, 2/7/22; The Guardian, 2/14/22)

Heroism, love, and freedom in the face of injustice: Already inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Heartbeat Opera’s updated Fidelio “is now permeated with it, and the adaptation is even more powerful.”  (The New York Times, 2/14/22)

In memoriam: Hans Neuenfels (1941–2022): His “provocative, iconoclastic productions made him one of the pioneers of modern operatic stagecraft and the frequent target of audience and critical outrage.”  (The New York Times, 2/9/22; Operawire, 2/11/22)

Regietheater is nice, “but make no mistake: Germany’s rich theater landscape is sustained by the hundreds of actors employed full time by the country’s 142 publicly owned theaters, as well as by several private ones.”  (The New York Times, 12/9/21)

In April 1936, a group of English schoolboys set out for a hike in the Black Forest, led by a charismatic teacher who “ignored numerous warnings and made a series of fatal decisions.” Their story has become a well-researched history, a graphic novel, and now a stage play.  (The Guardian, 9/10/21)

Camp Siegfried is a boy-meets-girl-meets-fascist-indoctrination two-hander,” set at a summer camp for German-American youth on 1930s Long Island.  (The Guardian, 9/7/21; Variety, 9/17/21)

A fresh take on the Dreigroschenoper at the Berliner Ensemble? Yes, please! Director Barrie Kosky “adds and subtracts, breathing new life into a work that desperately needed it.”  (The New York Times, 8/5/21; The New York Times,  8/15/21)

The 2021 Brecht Festival in Augsburg was designed as a digital-only event: “Nothing here is slapdash or slipshod . . . As far as online theater festivals go, this one is practically binge-worthy.”  (The New York Times, 3/4/21)

In memoriam: Eric Bentley (1916–2020). Among a long lifetime of achievements, he helped bring Brecht to English-speaking audiences.  (The New York Times, 8/5/20)

“German theaters have the artistic drive as well as the means, thanks to generous government subsidies, to insist that the show go on.”  (The New York Times, 5/19/20; The Guardian, 5/29/20; The New York Times, 7/2/20)

In memoriam: Rolf Hochhuth (1931-2020): playwright and Querdenker; his first and best-known work, Der Stellvertreter, criticized the inaction of Pope Pius XII in World War II.  (Deutsche Welle, 5/14/20; The Telegraph, 5/18/20)

Since the 17th century, the people of Oberammergau have kept their promise to perform the Passion Play almost every tenth year, “celebrating their salvation from one pandemic—until another pandemic forced them to break it.” The play is now postponed until 2022.  (The New York Times, 4/5/2020)

The cultural venues may be closed, but Covid-19 has opened up their performances to wider (online) audiences than ever before.  (The Guardian, 3/16/20)

Onstage in February 2020: René Pollesch renews the world at the Friedrichstadt-Palast, while King Lear’s daughters Regan and Goneril dismantle patriarchy at the Münchner Kammerspiele.  (The New York Times, 2/13/20)

Jaromir Weinberger’s Frühlingsstürme, “the last operetta of the Weimar Republic,” is back on stage at the Komische Oper.  (The New York Times, 1/26/20)

The music from Bartok’s opera Bluebeard’s Castle is entering the public domain—and so Tanztheater Wuppertal is reviving Pina Bausch’s “Bluebeard” for the first time since 1994.  (The New York Times,  1/15/20)

In memoriam: Harry Kupfer (1935–2019), “a towering figure in opera production with a career spanning 60 years.” (The New York Times, 1/3/20; The Guardian, 1/9/20)