In front of, on or behind the stage: Junge Oper, UFO and Tanz mit! invite young people with school and extracurricular projects to help shape the fascinating world of musical theatre and dance through creative experience and their own forms of expression.

Junge Oper am Rhein

„Nils Karlsson Däumling“
The Deutsche Oper am Rhein’s Junge Oper offers a wide-ranging programme for children, young people, young adults and families. Its stage programme consists of the large-scale children’s operas that are presented on both stages in Duisburg and Düsseldorf as well as smaller foyer productions such as ‘Die Zauberflöte für Kinder’ and mobile productions for nurseries such as ‘Nils Karlsson Däumling’ or for primary schools such as ‘Kreative Pause’. An additional focus of the Junge Oper’s work is music theatre and dance projects for different age groups and comprehensive educational provision around the opera productions in the repertoire.
In the 2013/14 season the Deutsche Oper am Rhein launched a co-operation with Oper Dortmund and Theater Bonn entitled ‘Junge Opern Rhein-Ruhr’. This project was unique in Germany and its aim was to fire the enthusiasm of children and young people for lively music theatre with works that were composed and staged especially for them. New commissioned compositions have been written each year, with the result that so far there have been seven productions that have each been performed in all four cities.
„Die Schneekönigin“
A significant element of the Junge Oper’s work is in educating and informing young audiences about the operas for children, and also the operas in the broader repertoire. This is done through morning workshops in nurseries, primary and secondary schools and by providing educational material. For nurseries, the Junge Oper offers ‘Oper und Spiele’. This gives nursery-age children the opportunity to familiarise themselves with opera as an art form in a familiar environment over several sessions using an age-appropriate, play-based approach.

„Otello Today“
In addition to the education work in the mornings in schools and nurseries, there is a comprehensive programme of participatory projects outside school hours that opens up the possibility for young people to express themselves and experiment artistically irrespective of their background. With this, the Junge Oper reaches people between the ages of 5 and 30. Its most comprehensive form is ‘Opernmacher 2.0’: here young people compose and stage their own opera on an overall theme with professional guidance and this is performed by professional singers and musicians.

UFO – Junge Oper Urban

Opera in a UFO? That sounds galactic, exciting and a bit crazy? Yes, it does!

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein goes on a voyage of discovery and lands a UFO in the cities of Düsseldorf and Duisburg. At eight different venues during the 2021/22 and 2022/23 seasons we will examine the big questions: What does music theatre sound like for young audiences? What does it tell them? What are the current trends and where will its journey take us? Who or what can opera encounter in city neighbourhoods? The UFO - Junge Oper Urban seeks to take on board new ideas, spaces for thought and realities and offer them a stage. As a standalone venue and mobile sound lab, it will bring together different composers and staging principles and devise new pieces for and with young audiences.
With the UFO – Junge Oper Urban, the Deutsche Oper am Rhein is expanding its long-standing commitment to music theatre for children and young people. With the experience of previous Junge Oper am Rhein projects behind it, the UFO plans to devise a diverse, colourful repertoire for young audiences ages between 4 and 12. It intends to observe and tell stories that are closely connected to the everyday lives of young audiences. The process by which an opera is created will not take place behind closed doors, quite the opposite: the creative and rehearsal process will be visible and audible for everyone, embedded in the sounds of life in an urban neighbourhood. The transparent working processes on site allow the public to listen to a composer at work, look over a librettist’s shoulder while they write, or hear a singer sing an entirely new song. And in this cosmos of sound there will also be a place for the ideas and impulses provided by the children and young people during workshops.

The UFO had its first landing in autumn 2021 at Duisburg main station and brought with it ‘Die unbedingten Dinge’ (The Essential Things): the world premiere by the duo of sonic artists from Cologne Merzouga (Eva Pöpplein/Janko Hanushevsky) called on everyone aged 6 and over to look for things that make life sound good. The UFO’s next stop in February 2022 was Düsseldorf-Garath. Here, in the world premiere of ‘Als wir nicht wussten wer wir waren’ (When We Didn’t Know Who We Were), Jan Sobrie (librettist) and Misha Cvijović (composer) told a story of the friendship between a young girl and an old lady whose world has gone seriously out of control for everyone aged 8 and over. In March 2022, the UFO will travel on to Duisburg-Bruckhausen, where the project ‘Songs with Roots’ (director: Wouter van Looy) will look into the homes and hearts of the residents and listen to their stories and their favourite music. The UFO will then land in Düsseldorf-Gerresheim in June 2022, where the world premiere of Caio de Azevedo’s ‘Glas’ (libretto by Friederike Karig) will ask everyone aged 4 and over, whether supposed troublemakers don’t actually make life a lot more cheerful and fun.

„Die unbedingten Dinge“
While exploring life in different neighbourhoods in the city, the UFO is supported by a series of local institutions. Its landing sites include the Kulturbunker Bruckhausen in Duisburg, the Anne Frank Haus in Düsseldorf-Garath and the glass-making quarter in Düsseldorf-Gerresheim. Co-operation partners such as the Hochschule Düsseldorf and the Fliedner Fachhochschule Düsseldorf help the UFO to make a soft landing. And in collaboration with the Junge Oper am Rhein, contacts are continually being made with local kindergartens, schools and institutions.

The Deutsche Oper am Rhein’s UFO is its own mobile venue and a mobile sound lab that was conceived and constructed by the architectural collective raumlabor berlin. Jan Liesegang, Olof Duus and Lukas Hamilcaro have designed a theatre building that works like an adapter.
An octangular theatre space which various different things can be plugged into, depending on what is required and how much space is available: a trailer with a sound studio, a transparent bubble, a mobile horn… this makes the UFO extremely flexible and ideally equipped for any unexpected challenges in new places. Ready for landing!

An UFO doesn’t simply happen. From the initial idea to its practical construction and planning an artistic programme requires a lot of people and a lot of phone calls, emails and meetings. Craftsmen and acoustic engineers who create the best possible sound space, musicians and singers who bring stories to life, composers, directors and librettists who lay down artistic foundations and many, many more. But in the end, it is the children and young people and the residents of the various different neighbourhoods in the city who will bring the UFO to life.
The project is organised by Michaela Dicu, who develops and implements ideas for the UFO together with Alicia Nsukami, the dramaturgs and the Junge Oper am Rhein. The technician Christian von der Heide completes the core team for the Deutsche Oper am Rhein. Jan Liesegang, Olof Duus and Lukas Hamilcaro from the architectural office raumlabor berlin are responsible for the conception and construction of the sound lab.

Tanz mit!

One thing is certain: we are all dancers! Every culture in the world has evolved its own way of dancing and passed this on as an intangible legacy over centuries. But which dance form are we personally closest to – ballet or breakdance, plié or paso doble? When do we get up on our feet? At a wedding, under the shower, sweating to an electronic beat? In public or only in the privacy of our own home? Up close with someone we love, with our hearts beating in time? Perhaps even as an expression of grief, like people in New Orleans? Or simply for joy? Or breaking out of step…

At the Ballett am Rhein dancing is our passion and we have one big request: dance with us – Tanz mit!
In the new dance outreach department initiated by Ballet Director Demis Volpi ‘Tanz mit!’ we want to encourage dance in all its forms. Our objectives are to make even more people excited about ballet and also to expand provision within the Ballett am Rhein.
Dance is an important ingredient in the life of all human beings – an outlet for emotion, an image of cultural history and not least a form of communication that easily slips beyond the limits of the spoken word. Dance is language, it is self-expression and life. That is why we care so much about reflecting this universality in our programme. There really should be something for everybody here. Our programme ranges from projects that accompany our season or present insights into the everyday life of the company, though platform discussions and conversations with audiences, to initiatives that take dance to places and to people who would otherwise find it difficult or impossible to engage with it.

„Leichter getanzt als gesagt“
When we move, we do it together. This is why our ideas for ‘Tanz mit!’ can only progress in collaboration with our audience.

We swarm outwards in our dance mission – we might even be waiting on the next street corner. We are eager to infect as many people as possible with our passion for dance.