Day at the Office, Night at the Opera with Karl Friedrich Schinkel
A lecture by Kurt W. Forster
An enormously busy man, teacher, administrator, painter, and author in close touch with European developments, Karl Friedrich Schinkel sought an outlet for his poetic imagination in his designs for optical displays and stage sets at the Royal Theatre in Berlin. He created sets for some of the most enduring plays and operas, such as the Magic Flute and Joan of Arc, within this spectacular building, a virtual viewing machine, where the public could immerse themselves in the poetry and music of his contemporaries Goethe, Schiller, and E.T.H. Hoffmann. Ever intent on “things that stir the imagination,” Schinkel found the stage to offer just the sort of magic he wished to create with his buildings. These media experiments in the theatre spilled over into the pictorial representation of Schinkel’s projects in what became the first true oeuvre complète created by a modern architect.