© Sinje Hasheider

Kissed by the Muse

Cultural moments at the Theater Lübeck

Lübeck’s stages

When theatre takes you off to imaginary worlds – that is pure joy! Theater Lübeck will expand your horizons and open up new perspectives. Enjoy the multifaceted experience of musical theatre, allow yourself to be captivated by the play and immerse yourself in spectacular concerts! Be there when unique original productions conquer the “boards that mean the world”. Artistic raptures await you behind the impressive Art Nouveau façade of Theater Lübeck on three different stages.

Theater Lübeck: one building – three stages

Eine Szene des Theaterstücks Cap Arcona im Theater Lübeck© Sinje Hasheider

Theater Lübeck has won numerous awards for its productions. Every season, its extensive repertoire on three stages is widely acclaimed. Großes Haus, Kammerspiele and Junges Studio put on premières as artistically as revivals. Experience the variety of musical theatre and drama! Draw inspiration from unusual dramatisations of world literature, musical drama productions as well as lavish new productions of classical drama. Enjoy the entire gamut of operatic repertoire complemented by musicals, operettas and works of musical theatre from the 20th and 21st centuries. The Philharmonic Orchestra is synonymous with a sound for which the Hanseatic city of Lübeck is famous far and wide. Lübeck’s Philharmonic, the choir and extra choir all help to shape the sound of the musical theatre – let the music transport you to faraway worlds!

Theatre productions – a look behind the scenes

No-one can escape the fascination of the theatre. How we long to immerse ourselves in this other universe. So many questions revolve around things that are hidden from view: What is the technology behind the velvet curtain? What artistic magic is involved before it goes up? Don’t miss any of the little secrets of the theatre, and find out things the audience never sees! Who keeps tabs on all the props? What does a costume maker do exactly? Does a souffleuse have to learn how to whisper? The public tours of Theatre Lübeck will take you behind the scenes.

All the world’s a stage. And men and women merely players.

William Shakespeare

A theatre conquers Lübeck

Die Außenfassade des Theaters Lübeck© Olaf Malzahn

Today, the historical Art Nouveau façade of Lübeck’s theatre attracts attention from all round the world. This architectural jewel was constructed in accordance with the plans of the architect Martin Dülfer from 1905/06. The official opening followed in 1908. However, theatre has been staged in Lübeck since the Enlightenment. For example, even Thomas Mann describes the preceding building from 1752 in his novel for the ages “Buddenbrooks – Verfall einer Familie” (Buddenbrooks – The Decline of a Family). 

A feast for the eyes – the architecture of Theater Lübeck

Großer Saal des Lübecker Theaters mit Blick auf die Bühne

The Art Nouveau architecture of Theater Lübeck characterises not only the façade but also the interior of the venue. The artistic relief which adorns the three-storey sandstone façade of the theatre is worth seeing. Apollo, God of the Arts, and the nine Muses form the centrepiece of this work of art. They are framed by Tragedy and Comedy – all works by the sculptor Georg Roemer. The pediment is supported by groups consisting of Caryatids and Atlases by the architectural sculptor from Hamburg Karl Weinberger. Numerous details from the Art Nouveau period adorn the interior of Theatre Lübeck. After the major part of the decorative Art Nouveau elements were lost in the 1930s during conversion work, they were lovingly reconstructed in the general refurbishment from 1992 to 1996. An entire work of art awaits you!

The history of the Theater Lübeck

Travelling theatres come to town, first documented in 1637. Plays are normally performed on Marktplatz (market square). Later, performances are also given in private houses.

Lübeck’s first opera production, “Ipermestra”, is staged in Hermann Hinrich Schröder’s private house in Königstraße, on the corner of Wahmstraße. The master carpenter is a true fan of the theatre. The opera is performed by an Italian opera company.

Herman Hinrich Schröder is granted theatre privileges for performances in his house.

Searching for larger premises, in particular for more complex opera productions, Schröder comes across the empty “Lüneburger Hof” in Beckergrube. In 1753, he opens a one-storey theatre with boxes here.

After 25 years, Schröder sells the house to the brothers Hinrich and Johannes Ebbe who continue to run it as their “Ebbesches Theater”.

A permanent theatre with a fixed ensemble replaces the travelling theatres before the turn of the century.

As the need for a representative building with modern equipment is growing, the decision is taken to build a completely new theatre following plans drawn by railway construction director Benda.

The old theatre closes its doors. The new building with ballrooms and function rooms is financed by members of the Senate and well-off merchant families.

The new theatre is opened. The Schwerin Court Opera company stages a guest performance of the “Freischütz” (The Marksman) by Carl Maria von Weber.

After several fires and growing complaints about the lack of comfort in the auditorium, the theatre is closed. Discussions within the city regarding a new building and how to finance it take several months until finally Prof. Martin Dülfer is commissioned.

The new theatre with its Art Nouveau decor is opened. This large edifice with its ceiling characterised by marine ornamentation delights audiences. The orchestra of the Association of Music Friends plays at the opening ceremony.

Comprehensive refurbishments are undertaken to restore the former Art Nouveau splendour and make modifications to bring the building in line with modern, technical and safety standards.

Numerous events to mark the centenary serve as a reminder of the theatre’s eventful history. As in the opening season in 1908/09, the programme includes Richard Wagner’s “Rheingold” and the “Walküre” as well as Giuseppe Verdi’s “Rigoletto”.

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