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No matter what kind of culture you’re craving, this city has it in spades. These spectacular concert halls host all sorts of musicians.
From punk concerts to experimental theatre, titillating cabaret shows to classical opera, Berlin’s rich, wildly eclectic cultural scene has it all. Here are just a few of the essential places to see a show while you’re in town.
As the second largest opera house in all of Germany, the Deutsche Oper’s long, complex history is tethered to the story of Berlin itself. In one form or another, it has resided in Charlottenburg ever since the district was an independent city in Prussia. Under the Third Reich, Joseph Goebbels used it spread political messages and diatribes on behalf of the Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. In 1961, the opera house reopened in a striking, brutalist space designed by Fritz Bornemann and acknowledges the company’s sombre past, while looking forward towards the future.
Rescued from dilapidation by David Regehr and Christian Schulz in 2005, this grand ballroom dates all the way back to the Weimar Republic, when Fritz Bühler and his wife Clara, or “Clärchen,” made it the talk of the town. Although the space has been revamped, the new owners deliberately left some of the atmospheric markers of the passage of time. Watching a concert in the immense Spiegelsaal (mirrored hall) feels like stepping back a century in time.
Founded in 1742 as the Hopofer (court opera), this opera company is one of the nation’s longest running and most prestigious cultural institutions. Though the opera house has long held a place of prominence, in the decades following reunification, its status in the opera world has only continued to rise. The current space, which reopened after extensive refurbishments in 2017, is a fitting home for such a crucial piece of the city’s heritage.
Berlin’s theatre scene may be best known for avant-garde productions, but those seeking a glitzy, Vegas-inspired spectacle will find what they’re looking for here. Past shows have included collaborations with high-profile designers like Jean Paul Gaultier. Expect pyrotechnics, loads of glitter, Cirque du Soleil-style acrobatics, and scores of lithe dancing girls.