When he chose the name Komische Oper (»Comic Opera«), Walter Felsenstein was making a reference not only to the immediacy and popularity of the French Opéra comique but also to the old Komische Oper in Berlin, at Weidendammer Bridge on Friedrichstrasse, which had been destroyed during the war. Hans Gregor, who was General Director there from 1905 to 1911, had been inspired by similar ideas and demanded »art without conventions, prejudices or artistic vanity«.
Felsenstein noted in the programme for the opening premiere of the Komische Oper:
»Although Komische Oper is the literal translation of Opéra comique, if it is taken literally it is misleading, suggesting a meaning which is not completely appropriate for the genre of musical theatre so unmistakably described by the French term. What is generally known in Germany as Singspiel, Opera Buffo, Operetta or Spieloper does in part fit into the category that is meant here, but it is largely lacking in terms of both musical and intellectual aspiration. The Komische Oper has set itself the task of cultivating the most artistically exquisite and at the same time popular works of international musical theatre from the past, present and future in a varied repertoire. And in doing so, equal emphasis will be placed on both parts of the term musical theatre. For music which does not grow out of a process of performance has nothing to do with theatre, while at the same time a performance which does not identify with the music precisely, in terms of artistic validity, would be better off without music.«