Comparatively younger artistic directors are gradually appearing at German opera houses, occasionally even women. Berlin respects proportional representation. Since this season, Susanne Moser, born in 1974, and Philip Bröking, born in 1966, have been working together, and Elisabeth Sobotka, born in 1965, will come to the State Opera in 2024.
Now the new director for the third house of the city-state has been named. Aviel Kahn, born in 1974, will take over the Deutsche Oper in 2026, the largest opera house in the city, which is artistically mostly overshadowed by its two competitors. That could change with Aviel Cahn. Because Cahn, who was born in Zurich, is an imaginative opera maker who has repeatedly created spectacular and surprising cast coups.
He persuaded the actor and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz to stage Richard Strauss’s “Rosenkavalier” and engaged the Nobel Prize winner for literature Dario Fo for Gioachino Rossini’s “Il viaggio a Reims”. Such coups are all the more striking as Aviel Cahn has so far only directed houses where the big stars are rarely found: Helsinki, Bern, the Vlaamse Opera, he is currently in Geneva. In addition to a feeling for such cast coups, Cahn can also work with all progressive directors of the scene, with Tatjana Gürbaca, Peter Konwitschny, Calixto Bieito, Michael Thalheimer, FC Bergman and the choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, he has brought several world premieres to the stage.
Aviel Cahn studied piano and singing, but also law. He has worked in China and his productions have received many awards. All of this shows him to be a cosmopolitan and self-confident opera maker who always seems to find ways to turn his artistic visions into reality. And this mixture of manager and visionary makes him an ideal candidate in Berlin. Incidentally, Donald Runnicles’ contract ended in the year after Cahn took office. The crucial question is whether Cahn extends his contract or looks for a younger conductor. Why not. After all, Cahn is unconventional enough to go his own way on this issue as well.