THE HISTORY OF THE BAYERISCHE STAATSOPER CHOIR
The Bayerische Staatsoper Choir’s history hails back to 1523. Wilhelm IV, Duke of Bavaria, commissioned 19 professionally trained singers to form a choir specifically according to the bass, tenor and alto voice ranges.
By 1773, the choir had 44 singers, in 1825 it had risen to 64 and during the reign of King Ludwig II it grew to almost its current size. It was during this period that legendary world premieres of Richard Wagner’s musical dramas, Tristan and Isolde (1865), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (1868) and Parsifal (1882) were performed in Bayreuth. Further world premieres by prestigious composers from Richard Strauss, Franz Schreker, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Paul Hindemith and Josef Rheinberger to Unsuk Chin (Alice in Wonderland, 2007) and Jörg Widmann (Babylon, 2012) followed.
The choir enjoyed an extraordinarily prolific artistic period during the era of choirmaster Udo Mehrpohl from 1985 to 2003. The sound of the Bayerische Staatsoper Choir was shaped and characterised by outstanding conductors such as Bruno Walter, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Peter Schneider, Carlos Kleiber, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano and Kirill Petrenko, and right now by Vladimir Jurowski.
The choir’s repertoire encompasses more than 100 works of international opera literature, from Monteverdi to contemporary works.
It also constantly expands its classical concert repertoire. Numerous concert programmes saw premieres of Georg Friedrich Händel’s Messiah, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Missa solemnis, Robert Schumann’s Paradise and the Peri, Johannes Brahms’s Ein deutsches Requiem, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem and Gustav Mahler’s Symphonies No. 2 and No. 3, among others.
The choir is regularly invited to give guest performances, for example in Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Paris and most recently in Oman.
Today the Bayerische Staatsoper Choir is the proud home of 97 members from 23 different countries.
Since 2019, choirmaster Stellario Fagone has dutifully performed the task of maintaining and further developing the choir’s outstanding vocal and artistic profile.