By May 2, 1945, Berlin had fallen to the Red Army. The city lay in ruins, its transport network had been crippled and all the theatres and museums had been either destroyed or at least severely damaged. The Berlin State Opera no longer existed. Seemingly lost forever, the beautiful opera house on Unter den Linden was proudly described by its architect Hans Georg Wenceslaus von Knobelsdorff in 1742 as “like a magnificent palace, detached on all sides,” a novelty in Europe at the time, “and there is easily enough room around its exterior to accommodate a thousand carriages... The theatre is one of the longest and widest in the world. The boxes are so spacious and comfortable that they resemble fully appointed rooms and yet they offer an unrestricted view of the arena all round.”
Major General Nikolai Berzarin, the first military governor of Berlin, gave the following order just two weeks after the city surrendered: “Performances must immediately be resumed.” He instructed Heinz Tietjen, the long-standing general director of all the Prussian state theatres, to take over the management of all the opera houses in Berlin and immediately start preparing for their reopening.
After the reopening and reconstruction of the opera house (under difficult circumstances) the building of the Berlin Wall in 1961 was the next watershed. The wall divided not only the city but also the cultural interests of both West and East Berlin. All the more astonishing is the sterling artistical quality of the Berlin State Opera later in the 1980s.
During the 1980s the Berlin State Opera had developed an extensive repertoire. The hereby presented compilation of works was released as vinyl at the ETERNA label in 1987. This release brilliantly reflects the remarkable prowess of the State Opera and is a historical reference of the time just before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the beginning of an even artistical new era. Arias, choral pieces and overtures from operatic works by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Carl Maria von Weber, Otto Nikolai, Richard Wagner and Richard Strauss.
Newly remastered on CD for the first time.