With unique and diverse style German theater arts are comprises of a different blend of drama and music. At first Germany lacked behind while England and Spain were evolving in their own theater styles. The Germans were always involved in war and religious riots which distracted their attention from the field of arts. There was also a lack of proper capital which could become the epicenter of such progress. The old stories had a very medieval look and weren’t polished enough. But once the interest was developed it became more of a cultural interest which later resulted in an academic interest with various universities providing courses in the various field of arts. The theater was one place in Germany where people were free to express and exchange their ideologies.
In 1767 the first German national theater was established and in the year 1890 Deutsches Buhner-Jahrbuch made its first appearance. Presently, the “Three Category House” is the theater structure responsible to encourage performing arts like opera, music, drama and dance. Every season, five thousand and three hundred productions are performed by this board and on a yearly basis, a total of hundred and twenty thousand. New productions are being created as well as age old musical dramas of Shakespeare like “Romeo and Juliet”,” Midsummer Night’s Dream” is also enacted. The storyline of most of the performances are socio-economic, political and reflects the ups and downs of the society. Directors like Max Reinhard, Erwin Piscator and Berthold Brecht have evolved on these subjects and have created a theoretical analysis called “epic theater”.
The seventeenth and the eighteen centuries were the struggling period of German opera. Opera took its full form later on with composers such as Handel and Gluck. Ferruccio Busoni was a renowned composer although originally he was an Italian. In 1678 the Theater an Gansemarkt was brought up in Hamburg specially meant for opera performances. It was inaugurated with the performance of Johann Theile’s Der erschaffene, Gefallene und Aufgerichtete Mensch which had the storyline of Adam and Eve. It was then followed by operas with religious themes. This was encouraged by the Pietist church to maintain the reputation of the theater as moral regulator. Later it was taken over by composer Reinhard Keiser who composed nearly hundred operas over broader themes which included history and mythology. He brought along many other traditions into the original opera which was the beginning of many more changes.
The country’s fifteen states are controlled by one organization Lander with respect to theater arts by supporting them financially and politically. Every year they spend US $2 billion on opera houses, theaters and orchestra. Every year festivals too are being held to celebrate the spirit of arts. Altogether sixty festivals are the venue for rewarding renowned actors, actresses, writers, plays and encouraging new talent.
But the modern theater of Germany began experimenting with the traditional performances. As times changed so did the society. The writers of today are forcing the audience to come out of the old set mode of linear flow, replacing it with patchworks. The use of contrastive language, impersonalized figuration and destructive illustration has made the audience and critics question about the legitimacy of the post-modern theater and rather refer to the present situation as an artistic crisis. Few directors like Frank Castorf, Thomas Ostermeier, and Falk Richter can be relied upon for good work.