With the Neue Lusthaus – a renaissance building that served as stage for the Wurttemberg Court Theatre – the roots of the Stuttgart Opera’s history reach right back to the 17th century. The theatre, located at the city centre, had been modernised repeatedly over the years. It was finally destroyed by fire in 1902. Only the flight of stairs that ran along the outside of the building survived the fire and has since been re-erected in the park area of Schlossgarten.
The existing opera house (then called Royal Court Theatre) was built during 1909-12 by the architect Max Littmann. The building was designed as a dual complex with two separate houses for opera and drama which opened in 1912 with the world premiere of Richard Strauss’ Ariadne auf Naxos.
Only the opera house, decorated with neo-classical columns, survived World War II.
Many German first premieres took place in Stuttgart, like Handel’s Rodelinda, Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler or the first production of Falstaff in German as well as the world premiere of Oskar Schlemmer’s Triadisches Ballett. The remarkable tradition of staging German first premieres and world premieres has been continued until today with productions by Hindemith, Orff, Penderecki, Glass, Zender, Riehm, Hölszky and Thomalla. A DVD recording of the highly acclaimed Stuttgart production of Der Ring des Nibelungen from 1999 and 2000 was released. Amongst the renowned chief conductors of the Staatsorchester Stuttgart were Niccolò Jommelli, Rudolf Zumsteeg, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Peter von Lindpaintner, followed by Carlos Kleiber, Vaclav Neumann, Silvio Varviso and Riccardo Chailly in more recent times. In the sixties and seventies of the 20th century the Stuttgart Opera developed into the so-called „Winter Bayreuth“, for which theatre directors like Günther Rennert and Wieland Wagner were mainly responsible.
After World War II Walter Erich Schäfer took over as General Intendant until 1972. After Opera director Wolfgang Windgassen’s sudden death, Wolfram Schwinger held that post until 1992. From 1992 until 2006 Klaus Zehelein was in charge of the Stuttgart Opera, followed by Albrecht Puhlmann from 2006 until 2011. From 2011 until 2018, Jossi Wieler was Intendant of the Stuttgart Opera.
With the beginning of the 2018/19 season, Viktor Schoner followed Wieler as Intendant, whilst Cornelius Meister took the post as General Music Director.
With the beginning of the 2018/19 season, the Young Opera has acquired a new venue and home stage of their own: The new JOiN, „Junge Oper im Nord“, understands itself not only as a stage for the young audience, but also as a place for people of all ages to meet and to get involved in the theatre – by visiting rehearsals, getting engaged in productions and many more opportunities more to experience theatre on a first-hand / first-rate level.
The Staatsorchester Stuttgart realizes seven symphony concerts as well as seven chamber concerts per season. These concerts are performed in the Kultur- und Kongresszentrum Liederhalle and often star renowned soloists and guest musicians.