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Berlin Opera Ballet


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The German ballet company based at the Opera House in the former West Berlin. Also known as the German Opera Ballet, or Deutsche Oper Berlin. It dates back to the opening of the Opera House in 1912, when dancers performed in ballets and opera-ballets, however the company did not become fully active until Rudolf Kolling's era as director between 1934 to 1945. After the Second World War, the company was moved out of the bomb-damaged Opera House to the Theater des Westens, not returning until 1961, but under the direction of Tatjana Gsovsky (1957–66) its repertory was expanded with her own new works including Hamlet and The Moor of Venice. Also in the repertory was Janine Charrat's staging of Egk's Abraxas in 1949 and Mary Wigman's controversial new version of Sacre du printemps in 1957. During the post-war period it was known as ballet company of the West Berlin Municipal Opera but in 1961 it became formally known as the Berlin Opera Ballet. When the British choreographer Kenneth MacMillan took over as director (1966–9) he created two new works for the company Concerto (1966) and Anastasia (1967) and built up its 19th-century repertory, with Antony Tudor's staging of Giselle; Nureyev's Nutcracker, and MacMillan's own stagings of Swan Lake and The Sleeping Beauty. Other foreign choreographers who have subsequently worked with the company include Balanchine, Cranko, van Manen, van Dantzig, Forsythe, and L. Childs, who choreographed the full-length Light Explosion in 1987. From 1972 to 1990 the company was directed by Gert Reinholm, followed by Peter Schaufuss, who staged the three Tchaikovsky ballets before departing in 1994. Richard Cragun succeeded him as artistic director (1996–9). In 1999 Angelin Preljocaj was appointed artistic adviser while the future of the company, by now in serious decline, was re-examined. In 2004 it was amalgamated, along with the German State Opera Ballet, and the Komische Ballet into a single company, the Berlin State Ballet.

See Berlin State Ballet.

Subjects: Dance.


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