The intercultural project of Komische Oper Berlin
In 2011, Komische Oper Berlin launched the intercultural project »Selam Opera!«.
»Selam Opera!« takes Komische Oper Berlin’s self-definition as an opera house for everyone literally, and seeks to create occasions for encounters between the city’s inhabitants and the opera. The intention is to strengthen the links between the opera house and the people of Berlin in the long term and thus contribute to a better culture of peaceful co-existence. Sensitising people with regard to »self« and »other« acts as a stimulus to shed ingrained patterns and to become open to a wider definition of cultural learning. Here the focus is not on the traditional »educational mandate«, which frequently seeks to »elevate« those being educated to a »higher level« – instead, the emphasis is on communal experimentation and action.
This cultural self-definition is reflected not only on the stage of the opera house, but also in the composition of the artistic staff and culturally sensitised employees. The audience is invited to share this journey. To the Komische Oper Berlin, »open to the city« doesn’t just mean opening wide the gates to the opera house, its music and its truly special artform for each and every person regardless of their cultural, social or financial background – it also means crossing our own threshold and going out into the city, including through projects such as the »opera dolmuş«. The work on stage also reflects the results of our continued engagement with the topic of »multicultural (city) society«, whether that’s in the previous season’s »Türk Müzik Festivali« with the celebrated performance of the famous group Kardeş Türküler and superstar Candan Erçetin, or in the première of the children’s opera The Town Musicians of Bremen (Bremen Mızıkacıları) written by the Antalya-based composer Attila Kadri Şendil. Here, not only has a contemporary Turkish composer set to music a German fairytale which is also popular in Turkey – the characters also sing together side by side in Turkish and German, in a completely natural way. The constant evolution of this project is just as important to us as the continuous collaboration with artists – which is why Şendil has worked together with librettist Susanne Felicitas Wolf to compose the children’s chamber opera »Ben and Henry« for the new edition of the opera dolmuş for children.