The Metropolis Ruhr meets the Rhineland. An exceptional theatrical union which has existed since 1956: the Deutsche Oper am Rhein performs at the Opernhaus Düsseldorf just as frequently as it does at the Theater Duisburg.
The extent to which the residents of Duisburg love "their opera", with its own ensemble, was made clear in 2012 when, as part of measures to cut costs, the city administration discussed only having guest performances take place in the Theater Duisburg. The result was a petition from concerned residents to preserve both institutions that received more than 53,000 signatures.
The Theater Duisburg was opened in 1912. At the time, the programme offered operatic and theatrical performances from a range of ensembles. Initially, a theatrical cooperation with the Schauspielhaus Bochum under its founding artistic director, Saladin Schmitt, took place between 1921 and 1935. In 1942, immediately after a performance of the Wagnerian opera "Tannhäuser", the Theater Duisburg was destroyed by an air raid. It was rebuilt and, following the conversion and renovation of the auditorium in 1970, now offers seating for 1,118 visitors.
With its central position on Opernplatz, the theatre is one of the city centre's most striking buildings. On the triangular pediment above the entrance to the theatre, large letters spell out a quote from Friedrich Schiller's "Homage of the Arts": "Mit allen seinen Tiefen seinen Höhen / Roll ich das Leben ab vor deinem Blick, / Wenn du das große Spiel der Welt gesehen / So kehrst du reicher in dich selbst zurück." [With all its depths, with all its heights serene, / I life's great map before thy view unroll. / When thou hast once the world's great drama seen, / Thou comest back more rich to thine own soul.].
The gleaming white façade is reminiscent of temple entrances from antiquity – a very unusual sight in the Ruhr area. However, it's not only its architecture that makes the Theater Duisburg worth visiting. Each season, approximately 80 opera and ballet performances are given on the Deutsche Oper am Rhein's main stage. In addition to this, the theatre is also home to a range of different guest performances which take place in its section for plays, as well as events which form part of the Akzente cultural festival. Smaller performances take place in the opera house foyer, whose style still bears the hallmarks of the 1950s.
From a poetic point of view, it is the Rhine which connects the Theater Duisburg with the Opernhaus Düsseldorf. However, from a more practical point of view, theatre buses, vans and articulated lorries provide the real connections, running back and forth between the Deutsche Oper am Rhein's two locations and bringing artists, costumes and sets to wherever the next performance is taking place
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