Darmstadt: Why isn’t this the theater?

Well, it used to be. First from 1819, when it was built, to 1871, when it burned down; and then once again from 1879 to 1944, when it was destroyed by bombs.

After the Second World War, the ruins of the Old Theater remained standing for decades (like those of the Old Opera in Frankfurt), because nobody could quite decide what to do with them.

Finally, after half a century, the Old Theater was rebuilt, but with a different function. It is now used for city offices, including the “House of History” a.k.a. the city archives.

Haus der Geschichte, Karolinenplatz 3, 64289 Darmstadt

My photo in this post is from 2008. I revised the text in 2024.

See more posts on Darmstadt, Germany.

3 thoughts on “Darmstadt: Why isn’t this the theater?”

  1. One, I loved this. Your photos belong in a book…a collection.

    The other thing I wish to say is, thank you for always reading whatever it is I pen. Means an awful lot.

    Sincerely, Susannah

  2. After the war the opera continued to perform in Darmstadt. I (Tom Sutcliffe) sang Ottone in The Coronation of Poppea (Monteverdi) in September 1970 for Hans Drewanz and Harro Dicks in the Orangerie Theatre which served as opera house for some decades before the opera was rebuilt. The edition used was by Nikolaus Harnoncourt who created the Cobnentus Musicus in Vienna, with whom .I performed two solo Bach Cantatas at one of Vienna’s recital halls in 1969. From December 1966 to July 1970 I was the countertenor in Colin Mawby’s choir at Westminster Cathedral.

    1. Tom, thanks for this info. I never knew the Orangerie Theatre was used as an opera venue after the war.
      In the Poppea productions I have seen (two in Frankfurt, one in Stuttgart and one in Kiel) I think Ottone was usually sung by a contralto.
      I suppose Hans Drewanz was GMD in Darmstadt when you were there. I remember him especially from his time as interims-GMD in Frankfurt in the early 1990s. Also, it seems to me that his daughter worked at the Frankfurt opera for several years, in the KBB or some such.

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