The harbour city of Hamburg boasts a rich and diverse cultural landscape. Its visitors will be pleased to discover a theatre and music scene that masterfully blends classical with contemporary and is home to some of the best ensembles in Europe. These are the best venues for enjoying world-class theatre plays and classical music concerts in Germany’s second largest metropolis.
The magnificent neo-baroque Schauspielhaus is the largest theatre in Germany and one of Hamburg’s most impressive architectural treasures. Opened in 1901, it is one of the leading theatres in the country, known for its original, contemporary productions of classical plays. Thanks to meticulous renovations the theatre’s guests can enjoy plays in a gorgeous ambience created by a beautiful fresco ceiling, stucco decorations, chandeliers, and luxurious red furnishings.
The Thalia Theatre, named after the Greek muse of comedy and poetry, was established in 1843. Today it’s home to one of Germany’s most celebrated theatre ensembles. Almost every month the theatre gives guest performances across the world and, in turn, invites excellent international artists to visit Hamburg for its yearly Lessing Days festival. Through its work in engaging young audiences and establishing partnerships with foreign artists, Thalia aims to become an international theatre and a platform for cosmopolitan city culture.
In the heart of Hamburg’s famous red light and nightlife district lies the beloved Schmidt Theatre. It celebrated its grand opening on the 8th August 1988 at 08:08 pm sharp. The red velvet seats, reminiscent of a 1920s variety theatre, invite guests to enjoy the Schmidt’s vibrant mix of theatre, comedy and music performances. Every party-goer is welcome to stop by for a cocktail at the theatre’s Nachtcafé. The Schmidt Theatre is flanked by its equally accomplished siblings the beautiful Schmidts TIVOLI and the young Schmidtchen.
Established in 1984 in a former crane factory, the Kampnagel is the largest independent production centre for contemporary performing arts in Europe. This unique theatre is undaunted by new formats, embracing unconventional ideas, and engaging with socially and politically important topics. Its diverse program includes local productions alongside international cooperations, special series and festivals, as well as conferences and symposia. The performances at Kampnagel often intersect various performance arts and aim to challenge, expand horizons and initiate discourse.
Founded in 1678, the Hamburg State Opera was the first public opera in Germany. The historic opera house suffered destruction during the Second World War, and the Hamburg opera celebrated its first performance in its current residence in 1955. The broad repertoire of this modern opera house ranges from Baroque operas to innovative contemporary projects. The Staatsoper is also home to the Hamburg ballet that enjoys international acclaim and is particularly known for its innovative and contemporary approach to classic ballet.
When the Laeiszhalle opened its doors in 1908, it was the most modern concert hall in the country. Over a century later, it remains one of the best concert halls in Europe. The beautiful neo-baroque building can accommodate over 2,000 guests in its Grand Hall, while smaller concerts are hosted in the Recital Hall, Studio E, and the Brahms Foyer. The Hamburg Symphony Orchestra is the resident orchestra of the Laeiszhalle but the concert hall regularly hosts other orchestras, ensembles and musicians, from local artists to international stars.
The newly opened Elbphilharmonie concert hall is an architectural masterpiece and an acoustic work of art. The magnificent Grand Concert Hall, developed in cooperation with Yasuhisa Toyota, is covered in a unique “white skin” – 10,000 gypsum fibre panels that guarantee perfect sound distribution. The vineyard-style seating of the hall ensures that none of the 2,100 members of the audience sits further than 30 metres from the conductor. The smaller wood-panelled Recital Hall seats 550 and is mainly used for chamber music, solo recitals, jazz and world music performances.