Selam Opera!

The intercultural project of the Komische Oper Berlin


Don Giovanni and Leporello at the market ...
Don Giovanni and Leporello at the market ...
Opera meets the city, and vice versa
With our pop-up opera, selected scenes from our current opera repertoire are brought to urban settings in Berlin, in order to engage in dialogue with local residents both before and after the performance about what they have seen, heard and experienced. The performances in every-day settings will be filmed by a camera crew and made accessible to a wide audience as short video clips via social media channels.

© Robert Recker
© Robert Recker
The intercultural project of the Komische Oper Berlin  In 2011, the Komische Oper Berlin launched the intercultural project »Selam Opera!«.

»Selam Opera!« takes literally the Komische Oper Berlin’s self-definition as an opera house for everyone, 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. »Selam Opera!« is made possible thanks to the support of the Robert Bosch Foundation, the Deutsche Bank Foundation and the Berlin office of Mercedes-Benz.

»Opera dolmuş«

Since the 2012/13 season, the »opera dolmuş« (the name is a play on the description for the group taxis typical of Turkey) minibus has been taking singers and musicians from the Komische Oper Berlin on regular visits to institutes in city districts with a high percentage of residents from all manner of cultural backgrounds, in order to locally present a condensed, acting- and music-based journey through 500 years of operatic history. To complement this project, the »opera dolmuş for children« was founded in 2014. Its programme is aimed at a young audience (and their families), and is performed at schools, parents' cafés and intercultural family centres.

Translation systemopera for everyone

Virtually every seat in the Komische Oper Berlin is equipped with an individual display on which the text of the performance can be optionally read – and in several languages too (excluding concerts, concert-based performances and children's operas). While the translations into English, French and German highlight Berlin's importance to international culture tourism, the translation into Turkish is also intended to serve as an important signal to the city. After all, Berlin is the city with the world's largest Turkish community outside of Turkey. In this regard too, the Komische Oper Berlin sees itself as the »opera house for everyone«.

More Pop-up-Opera

Carmen in Kreuzberg

Our singers in a famous bar in Kreuzberg called Südblock ...
Our singers in a famous bar in Kreuzberg called Südblock ...

La belle Hélène in Schöneberg

In a boxing club at Potsdamer Straße ...
In a boxing club at Potsdamer Straße ...
Contact »Selam Opera!«
Mustafa Akça 
»Selam Opera!« project manager
T +49 (0)30 20260 492

Oliver Brandt
Referent PR & Interkulturelle Kommunikation
T +49 (0)30 20260 386

Anisha Bondy
Scenic director

Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!