The first Schlossfestspiele took place in the castle courtyard from 11. June to 19. July 1993.
The first production was Christopher Marlowe’s MARLOWE’S FAUST.
The well known drama THE TRAGIC HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS is the precursor of Goethe’s FAUST.
The heroic comedy DON QUICHOTTE staged by Jules Massenet, was performed in the castle courtyard in 1994.
In a Spanish province, the squire falls in love with the frivolous Dulcineé but she only takes interest in him, if he retrieves the necklace stolen from her by the brigands.
He sets off, tilts against windmills and falls into the hands of bandits until he finally manages to retrieve the jewellery. Nevertheless, he remains without a reward after his return. Dulcineé laughs at him and Don Quichotte dies in the forest at cause of his broken heart.
The debut performance of the opera took place in Monte Carlo in 1910. Today it is one of the rarely performed works, because it has extortionate demands on the ensemble- especially on the singers of the leading role.
This is a play staged especially for Schwerin around the legend of the Petermännchen by Peter Dehler.
There are many tales about the goblin and his activities in Schwerin, but the most famous one is, that he was the good spirit of the Schwerin castle, he had rumbled in the vaults at night and joked about possible intruders voluntarily taken flight. He had woken up the night watch who had fallen asleep, so they could fulfill their duty.
He has played an improtant role for Schwerin for many years and it is impossible to imagine the cityscape without him, be it in the naming of the Pfaffenteich ferry or as a city guide, it will always stay the Schweriner mascot.
Peter Dehler paid tribute to his character and dedicated the Schlossfestspiele to him with the wonderful production P.M. in 1995.
Giuseppe Verdis opera IL TROVATORE was performed in the castle courtyard for two years in a row. 1997 was the first and only year, in which the Schlossfestspiele showed a repertoire piece.
Fatal involvements and a bloody civil war have made count Luna and vagabond son manrico enemies. They are followers of two warring heir apparents and love the same woman, Leonora. The truth is overshadowed by a dark past- the two are brothers. Luna has manrico executed and only finds out afterwards that he was his brother.
The Spanish swashbuckler comedy DAME KOBOLD (LADY GOBLIN) was written in 1629 by Pedro Calderón de la Barca. It has been translated to German several times and is one of the most frequently performed pieces by Calderón in the German-speaking world.
Doña Angela is hidden in the house by her brothers. Sometimes she manages to sneak out of the house, heavily veiled and with the help of her maid. When she is harassed on the street, her brother’s friend rushes to help. Don Manuell is to live with them from now on and is given a room, which is connected to Angela’s room by a secret door. Angela and her maid Isabel play tricks on him and spread the belief, that a goblin is haunting the house.
Eventually everything clears up and Don and Doña become a couple.
In 1999, two productions were performed at the Schlossfestspiele.
The opera AIDA was shown on the Alter Garten and the cathedral courtyard also became a venue for the first time.
The morality play JEDERMANN by Hugo von Hofmannsthal attracted many visitors to the cathedral courtyard.
The cathedral courtyard served as the second venue for another five years, before it was moved exclusively to the Alter Garten.
The summer in the millennium year was a very special one.
The Schlossfestspiele ran over a period of two months, at two venues and presented four productions:
- Castle courtyard, Drama, THE THREE MUSKETEERS
- Cathedral courtyard, SAVITRI, the opera THE MATRON OF EPHESUS OR THE TEAR OF THE WIDOW and for the very first time a musical NON(N)SENSE of Dan Goggin
There is a battle in Babylon for land and faith. Jerusalem against Babylon, the Babylonian king Nabucco against the Jewish high priest Zaccaria and in the middle of this war- a love story. The king’s daughters Abigaille and Fenena, love the Israelite Ismaele. When Abigaille finds out, that she is not the first- born Nabucco by reading a secret document, she goes crazy. Abigaille turns against everyone: her family, Ismaele and all of Israel. Now it’s up to Nabucco to regain the freedom of his people.
TURANDOT is the last opera by Giacomo Puccini. It was only completed after his death by Franco Alfano on the basis of Puccini’s sketches and notes.
A Mandarin procliams: The Chinese princess Turandot will marry the first suitor who can solve her three riddles. If he can’t, he will be beheaded. During the execution of a Persian prince, Kalaf falls in love with the princess and also strikes the gong to become her husband. To her surprise, Kalaf can solve all of the riddles, but Turandot asks the emperor not to hand her over to him. Kalaf now gives her a riddle: if she finds out his name overnight, she may dispose of him. Turandot finds no solution. In the end, Kalaf reveals himself and Turandot announces him as her husband to the nation.
Don Carlos travels to France to meet the bride that has been chosen for him. Princess Elizabeth and Don Carlos fall in love, but the King orders her to not marry Don Carlos, but his father, King Philip, in order to restore peace between France and Italy. Elizabeth eventually agrees to do so and leaves the man she loves behind. The king realizes, that his Elizabeth never loved him, so he puts his son in prison.
Sometime later Don Carlos is released. In an encounter with Elizabeth, they say goodbye forever.
A MASKED BALL or the original title UN BALLO IN MASCHERA is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi.
Count Riccardo secretly falls in love with Amelia, the wife of his best friend and secretary Renato. The fortune teller Ulrica predicts, that Riccardo will soon be murdered by the person who will shake his hand next. Then Renato appears and greets his friend with a handshake.
Amelia confessed her love to Riccardo, when Renato suddenly appears to warn him of conspirators who want to kill him. Riccardo flees and the conspirators force Amelia to show her face. This is how Renato learns about the love between his wife and his friend. He allies with the conspirators.
A lot will decide which of the conspirators will be allowed to murder Riccardo. Renato stabs Riccardo at the masked ball. He forgives his murderer and dies.
For the time being, 2005 was the last year in which the cathedral courtyard served as the venue for the Schlossfestspiele. William Shakespeare’s A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM was performed there.
Almost two weeks before the Shakespeare premiere Verdi’s opera RIGOLETTO had its derniere on the Alter Garten.
There were two productions in a row, so that the Schlossfestspiele lasted from mid-June to mid-August 2005.
LA TRAVIATA is one of the most successful operas in music history.
Giuseppe Verdi’s first release was unimproved by the audience, however after being reworked, it became a masterpiece.
Violetta Valéry and Alfredo Germont live in a house outside Paris together. Alfredo’s father asks Violetta to end her love affair with hiss on in order to preserve the family’s reputation, as Violetta was a courtesan. Since she knows, that she will die of tuberculosis, she accepts that an end is best. While Alfredo’s grief turns to anger, Violetta’s condition changes to the worse.
Sometime later, the father confesses the sacrifice made by Violetta. Alfredo wants to ask for forgiveness and begs Violetta to stay. When the father blesses her love, she feels her old powers come back, she rises- and falls down dead.
THE TROUBADOUR is an opera by Giuseppe Verdi, known as „dramma lirico“, set in Biscay and Aragon at the beginning of the 15th century.
In 1996 and 1997 the castle courtyard already hosted Verdis IL TRAVATORE. In 2007 the masterpiece delighted many visitors once again.
Today, CARMEN is one of the most popular works in the opera repertoire, even though the first release was rather rejected by the audience. It is described as a „revolutionary break“ of the Opéra-comique.
Carmen gets arrested. To be released, she seduces the brigadier Don José, who is imprisoned for her. Two months later he meets her in a pub and follows Carmen and her gang of smugglers into the mountains, until his fiancée tells him, that his mother is dying. José promises to come back, but Carmen has found a new lover a long time ago. Sometime later he tries to win her back, but she rejects him, so he stabs her.
The opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous and most frequently staged operas in the world.
Prince Tamino is to liberate Pamina, who was abducted by Prince Sarastro to a temple. So he sets off with his friend, the bird catcher Papageno. To protect them, they are given a golden magic flute and a magic carillon. In order to live peacefully together, Tamino, Pamina and Papageno must pass three tests, which Sarastro instructs them to pass: Maturity, secrecy and steadfastness.
ZORBA is a musical with a book by Joseph Stein, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and music by John Kander. Adapted from the 1952 novel ZORBA THE GREEK by Nikos Kazantzakis and the subsequent 1964 film of the same name, it focuses on the friendship that evolves between Zorba and Nikos, a young American who has inherited an abandoned mine on Crete, and their romantic relationships with a local widow and a French woman, respectively.
The opera LA FORZA DEL DESTINO by Giuseppe Verdi was performed on the Alter Garten in 2010.
Lenora de Vargas and Don Alvaro want to flee to live out their love. Leonora’s father Marchese wants to stop her and insults Alvaro. Alvaro pulls out a gun but reconsiders and drops the weapon. While he drops the gun, a shot is fired, which kills Marchese.
Leonora’s brother Carlo wants to take revenge on them. Thereupon Leonora flees to a monastery and swears to never leave this place again.
Not achieving what he wanted, Carlo commits himself to the war against Germany. Alvaro becomes captain.
They get to know each other and swear eternal friendship to each other, until Carlo finds a photo of Leonora in Alvaro’s things. They have a fight and Alvaro learns, that Leonora is alive, so he makes his way to the monastery.
Carlo follows him there, but once they get there, they start a fight. Carlo suffers a fatal injury and Leonora wants to help him. With his last breath, he stabs her.
In 2011, with the opera DER FREISCHÜTZ by Carl Maria von Weber, the open-air stage in the castle garden was a nonrecurring venue for the Schweriner Schlossfestspiele.
One shot is supposed to decide about the wedding of Max and Agathe, but Max misses every target. His friend Kasper wants to help him and show him, how to cast shotgun pellets, which never miss their target.
Kasper is under the spell of the devilish hunter Samiel. In order to prolong his life, he wants to hand Max over to the hunter. Kasper summons him to direct the last bullet at Agathe. Max overcomes his fear and climbs into the wolf pit, where they cast seven shotgun pellets together.
For his test shot, Max is assigned a white pigeon as his target. When he fires his last bullet, Kasper and Agathe fall to the ground. While Agathe is only unconscious, Kasper dies.
THE BAJAZZO is a veristic opera in two acts by Ruggero Leoncavallo, which has been a triumph since its premiere in 19892 and has been one of the most popular pieces in the opera repertoire ever since.
Canino and his troupe build their stage in a village and prepare the audience for a particularly realistic play. But the real drama takes place behind the scenes. When Camino finds out that his wife Nedda is cheating on him, the theater becomes reality. The bajazzo kills Columbina on stage and Camino is arrested for the murder of Nedda.
Johann Strauss operette THE BAT (DIE FLEDERMAUS) is considered the highlight of the golden operette era from 1860 to 1900.
Gabriel von Eisenstein has to spend a few days in prison. His friend Dr. Falke advises him to really make his last moments in freedom worthwhile. Together they go to the masked ball of Prince Orlowsky. Actually, Dr. Falke is planning revenge, because Eisenstein let him stagger home drunk in a bat costume a few years ago. Eisenstein embarrasses himself in front of the other guests, the whole society gets confused and everyone pretends to be someone else. Later it becomes clear, that this was the successful revenge of the Bat Falcon.
Nabucco is the abbreviation of Nabucodonosor and names a Babyonian king as well as the successful opera by Giuseppe Verdi, which was already preformed on the Alter Garten in 2001.
It is about a Babylonian ruler with extreme overconfidence and the attempt of the Jewish people to free themselves from the Babylonian captivity.
THE FALLEN or LA TRAVIATA is one of the most successful operas in the history of music by Giuseppe Verdi and was already presented in Schwerin in 2006 during the Schlossfestspiele on the Alter Garten.
After its premiere in 1853, the plot was considered an unprecedented novelty, because Verdi made a woman, who was excluded and rejected by society, the main protagonist. A masterpiece about a mistress who dies of tuberculosis.
The opera AIDA was performed on the Alter Garten for the second time. Around 27,000 visitors saw Verdi’s opera in a dreamlike setting in front of the castle. After NABUCCO and LA TRAVIATA, AIDA concluded the Verdi trilogy of the Schlossfestspiele. Singers from all over the world came to Schwerin, altogether about 200 artists were involved in this production.
The musical WEST SIDE STORY by Jerome Robbins entered the Alter Garten in Schwerin in summer 2017 and thrilled many thousands of spectators in the stands.
The renowned director and choreographer Simon Eichberger has staged the famous musical together with the music theatre ensemble, guest soloists and the ballet company, as well as the Mecklenburgische Staatskapelle with great speed.
For the first time in almost two decades there were two productions at the Schweriner Schlossfestspiele.
TOSCA, the Italian opera by Giacomo, is about the painter Mario Cavaradossi, who helps the political prisoner Cesare Angelotti to flee. The chief of police, Scarpia, uncovers the aiding and is onto them. Cavaradossi and Scarpia love the same woman: Tosca. The chief of police arrests Cavaradossi and blackmails Tosca to give herself to him in order to free Mario. She does not want to give in, so she stabs him. After a brief glimmer of hope, the painter is executed and Tosca leaps into her death.
Bram Stoker’s novel published in 1897 made Count Dracula the most famous vampire in literary history. Lawyer Harker is invited to the count’s castle. After a while senses evil and flees. In the meantime, Dracula has already shipped himself to London, where Harker’s fiancée finds two small holes on the neck of her friend Lucy. A Dutch professor sets off on the hunt.
In 2019, the musical ANATEVKA thrills the audience on the Alten Garten. In the castle courtyard the drama ensemble impressed with the romantic comedy CYRANO DE BERGERAC.
A village as painted by Marc Chagall, a fiddler on the roof and lovely people inbetween jewish tradition. Amid lives the wise Tevie, whose nubile daughters muddle everything up. ANATEVKA made its way into everyones heart with brilliant melodies and imperturbable humour.
Cyrano de Bergerac sets off to conquer the heart of the worshipped Roxane. He doesn’t have the heart to confess his love to her though, because he has a huge nose. The handsome Christian, that also worships Roxane, doesn’t have any insecurities or doubts about his appearance, but he is missing the right words to express his feelings towards her. That is how Cyrano becomes a ghostwriter, that writes loveletters in the name of his competitor.