Radical, charismatic, and committed to taking a “fresh, challenging and courageous artistic approach”, Artistic Director Matthias Schulz is responsible for the major renovation of Berlin’s Staatsoper. Having relaunched this iconic landmark, he’s now on a mission to make younger generations fall in love with opera. Here he explains to Gordon Debus, the General Manager of our nearby Hotel de Rome how…
Do you think it’s important to try and make opera more accessible to younger audiences, and how does an iconic venue like yours go about doing this?
“This is an absolute top priority for me. My mission is to help people develop an interest in opera and classical music as early as possible. At the Staatsoper, we’ve founded a new children’s orchestra for children aged 7 to 12, which works with Berlin’s music schools and the Staatskapelle Berlin. I’m very much looking forward to the orchestra’s debut performance in April.”
How do you work with local schools and communities to help young people enjoy opera?
“Our Kinderopernhaus Berlin work with Berlin’s music schools, elementary schools and youth centres. As well as providing an opportunity for kids to perform at the Staatsoper, we want to give children the chance to experience opera and make music in a playful, hands-on setting. On top of that, we offer children’s concerts and operas, workshops, rehearsal visits, youth clubs and a youth choir.”
Opera is often thought of as reserved for mature audiences. How do you go about dispelling this myth?
“It’s so important to me that young people are able to enjoy our program too, so we have a range of special ticket schemes for people under 30. Pricing should not be an obstacle to enjoying opera and we want to be accessible to a young audience. It’s our responsibility to help reduce the inhibitions that might keep young people from giving opera a try. You don’t need any prior knowledge to enjoy opera—it really is something you can experience intuitively.”
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