Being present with heart and soul
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTOS © CHRISTIAN POGO ZACH
Munich’s legendary Gärtnerplatztheater goes back to 1865 when it first opened its doors as a public theatre. Today, it is one of only four theatres worldwide that incorporate opera, operetta, musical, dance and concert equally into their colourful programmes. Led by director Josef E. Köpplinger, Gärtnerplatztheater is a vital part of Munich’s cultural landscape and attracts over 150,000 visitors of all ages each year. Its message is crystal clear: we are open to anyone.
Diversity, humanity, tolerance and freedom – that is what the Gärtnerplatztheater stands for. It opened as a public theatre in 1865, but Bavarian King Ludwig II appointed it the third royal theatre a few years later in order to save it from closing down. But the vibe of being a theatre for the people remained over the decades and its aim to reflect on society, challenge the way we think and welcome everyone regardless of age and background, can be seen as a driving force behind it. This approach is also integral to their programme, which regularly includes all genres of musical theatre.
Just recently, on 31 January, the operetta Drei Männer im Schnee (Three men in the snow) had its world premiere. “Such new operetta creations are rare these days,” as Susanne Ullmann, marketing manager at Gärtnerplatztheater, points out.
La bohème premieres on 28 March and, as a firm highlight in every programme, it will certainly be worth seeing. “The revival of Purcell’s Baroque opera King Arthur, the premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s musical On the Town or the world premiere of the expedition-ballet Atlantis, all come highly recommended. But it does not all have to be grand: the special, smaller performances such as the chamber music concerts, recitals or the chamber opera L’heure Espagnole, are without a doubt highlights in themselves. Ullmann smiles and adds: “In a nutshell: you shouldn’t miss anything.”
The theatre also warmly welcomes kids with shows like the musical Pumuckl or the family opera Momo. Around half of the shows are available for just eight euros for school kids, students, apprentices or those doing volunteer service. “That is what our house also stands for,” Ullmann adds. “That every family can afford to see a performance.”
From performing Hansel and Gretel for 800 children to the cheers after the modern opera Danton’s Death – Gärtnerplatztheater is a place to be present and allow yourself to be fully captivated with heart and soul.
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