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©Ruth und Martin Walz

Purcell King Arthur

From 02 November TO 08 November 2019
Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin

Purcell : King Arthur

  • Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
  • Conductor
    René Jacobs
  • Director
    Sven-Eric Bechtolf
    Julian Crouch
  • Performers
    Anett Fritsch
    Robin Johannsen
    Benno Schachtner
    Reinoud Van Mechelen
    Stephan Rügamer
    Neal Davies
    Arttu Kataja
Details on the Performance

King Arthur is a central figure in legends about the origins of the island kingdom of Britain.The »British worthy« is also at the centre of this »dramatick opera« by John Dryden and Henry Purcell, the most original English composer of the baroque. In the opera, Arthur has to defend England against the Saxon invaders, who have descended upon the land like a force of nature.

Arthur’s chance of loving bliss with his betrothed, the blind Emmeline, is under threat too, as the Saxon king Oswald also lays claim to her hand in marriage. In their conflict, both Arthur and Oswald are aided, led astray and rescued by wizards and spirits, but ultimately everything – Emmeline’s fate as well as England’s – comes down to a duel between the two adversaries.
»King Arthur« is a quintessentially British semi-opera. It creates a magical symbiosis of theatre, music and dance, and effortlessly combines sublime art of great seriousness with humour and spectacle. While the roles of the main characters are acted rather than sung, the opera also offers rich material for impressive musical tableaus performed by soloists and a chorus: countless fantastical events, pagan rituals, romantic moments, magical battles and a variety of natural and supernatural phenomena.

Source © Staatsoper Unter Den Linden

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Staatsoper Unter den Linden - Berlin Location Unter den Linden 7 - 10117 Berlin Allemagne

The Venue's History in few words …

When the opera house situated on the Lindenallee was inaugurated in 1742, Frederick the Great intended to turn it into the cultural symbol of his ideal capital, the hub of the "Forum Fridericianum." This "enchanted palace," as the enlightened despot called it, is one of the rare vestiges of the old city still visible today, and a large part of German musics cultural heritage is contained within its walls. The Berlin Staatskapelle, for example, the orchestra connected with the opera, was founded in 1570 and the list of its permanent conductors includes names such as those of Meyerbeer, Mendelssohn, Richard Strauss, Furtwangler, Klemperer and Karajan! During the 19th century, the Berlin Opera remained a royal opera, where Weber's FREISCHUTZ was premiered. The activities of the Berlin Staatskapelle developed under Spontini's responsability, the first "Preussischer Generalmusikdirektor," ever appointed. This goes to show the importance of the ensemble in German musical life at that time, an importance which constantly grew, especially after the "Sinfonie-Soireen" were created in 1842, open to the public by subscription.


In 1919, the Royal Opera became a state opera, and played an active role in the exhuberant artistic activity that rocked Germany during the twenties: Erich Kleiber presented Berg's WOZZECK and popular harmonies of composers such as Kurt Weill resounded in this shrine of the lyrical repertoire, until Nazism cut short a period of intense creativity. During the war, Karajan forged his reputation in the theatre, until bombs destroyed the building, partially in 1941, and completely in 1945.


Because of its geographical situation, the Staatsoper became, in 1949, the Opera of East Berlin. In 1955, the East German administration reinstalled the company in its illustrious hall, rebuilt along the original plans, and one could soon applaud singers such as Peter Schreier and Theo Adam on its stage, musicians who helped create a truly Eastern German singing tradition.


Since the German reunification, the institution has been completely reorganized, especially under the impetus of Daniel Barenboim, who became its General Music Director in 1992. Proud of its impressive history, the present day Opera Unter den Linden hardly neglects its baroque beginnings, and it henceforth counts amongst those that most often produce pre-Mozartian lyrical works, such as CLEOPATRA E CESARE by Graun which opened the Opera's first season in 1742. But the house also commissions works by Pierre Boulez, while defending the traditional repertoire, in which Wagner occupies a large place. By thus juxtaposing tradition and innovation, the Opera Unter den Linden has become one of the institutions most representative of Berlin's new dynamism.

Staatsoper Unter den Linden


King Arthur

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

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