The history of the Bayerische Staatsoper Chorus goes back to the year 1523, when Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria engaged nineteen professionally trained singers divided into the voice categories bass, tenor and alto, for a choir. In 1773, the chorus consisted on 44 singers. In 1825 it was 64, and during the reign of King Ludwig II, the chorus grew almost to its present size. This period marked the legendary world premières of Richard Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde (1865), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868) and Parsifal (1882). There followed further world premières of works by Richard Strauss, Franz Schreker, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Paul Hindemith and Josef Rheinberger.
The chorus underwent an artistically extraordinary period during the era of Chorus Master Udo Mehrpohl from 1985 to 2003. The sound of the Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper was formed and shaped by such outstanding conductors as Bruno Walter, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Peter Schneider, Carlos Kleiber, Zubin Mehta and Kent Nagano.
The repertoire of the Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper covers some 100 works spanning the entire operatic literature from Monteverdi all the way to contemporary commissioned compositions.
The Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper has received outstandingly enthusiastic reviews over the past decades for its complete recordings on LP, CD and DVD. Beyond this the chorus has taken part in large-scale recordings of works from both the classical and modern repertoire, such as Händels Messiah, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri, Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem and Verdi’s Messa di requiem.
Today the Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper has 97 members originating from 23 different nations.
In 2019, Chorus Master Stellario Fagone assumed the task of preserving and further developing the vocal and artistic standards of this distinguished ensemble.