The Opera Course

The International Opera Course at Oper Oder Spree has been a meeting place for many young artists from Germany and abroad for decades. The International Opera Course has set itself the task of supporting students and graduates of music and art academies in their vocal training and giving them valuable opportunities for practical stage experience. In the meantime, the course is known far beyond the borders of Germany and participants from many different European countries as well as from America, Asia and Australia have benefited from it. Thanks to this international recognition, it has been possible in recent years to involve outstanding artists in the projects, who contribute to the overall success of the events. The current course will take place from 09.08.2023 to 28.08.2023 at Beeskow Castle.

The International Opera Course alternates annually with an opera production from 2023 onwards. The 2024 production builds on both this year’s opera course and this year’s opera production of “A Little Midsummer Night’s Dream” for children. It will develop “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in its own version with music from different adaptations of Shakespeare’s classic and perform it outdoors at different locations in East Brandenburg.

The next regular opera course is planned for summer 2025.

Course content and implementation

The course has distinguished itself in particular by the fact that, in addition to lessons, participants take part in performances under professional conditions and in front of large audiences. The individual performances are prepared in compact group and individual lessons with the singing teachers and accompanists. In addition, there are drama lessons and courses in breathing techniques. With vocal coach Snežana Nena Brzaković, opera singer Bernhard Hansky and the three accompanists Insa Bernds, Alexej Ilenko and Evgeny Nikiforov, the International Opera Course has experienced and renowned teachers at its disposal. Since 2017, the experienced choral and orchestral conductor Vinzenz Weissenburger (Berlin Staatsoper) has been assisting the participants in the intensive preparation and performance of the opera gala together with the Prussian Chamber Orchestra. As a trained opera director, Prof. Lars Franke passes on his diverse experience in the production collage “Opera in the Barn”. In addition, there is professional development coaching to prepare the young singers for audition situations and the process of gaining employment in  opera. All participants, the vocal coach and accompanist are accommodated in Beeskow Castle for the duration of the course. The castle offers ideal working conditions for the entire ensemble with its studios, concert hall (each equipped with piano/ grand piano) and picturesque inner courtyard.


The International Opera Course is aimed at young singers who are studying at German or foreign music academies and conservatoires and/or are already active as professional artists. Through the awarding of scholarships and prizes as well as the use of subsidies, it is possible to keep the young singers’ financial contribution to their stay and tuition as low as possible. In total, the 2023 course has capacity for up to 12 participants.


All participants of the opera course take part in the preparation and development of the opera collage “Opera in the Barn” with three performance dates. The course will conclude with three further performances of the festive opera gala, at which the participants will be accompanied by the Prussian Chamber Orchestra. This year, for the first time, we will also establish the opera gala at a location in Bad Saarow. Within two and a half weeks, there will be six events at different performance venues with different thematic focuses. This gives the participants the opportunity to perform and develop their skills in front of the audience with the support of the singing teachers and accompanists.



  • Snežana Nena Brzaković

    Snežana Nena Brzaković

    Snežana Nena Brzaković studied singing in Belgrade/Serbia and in Berlin. She has received numerous prizes and awards. She completed her further artistic training with Prof. Norma Sharp, Brigitte Fassbaender and Inge Borgh. She sang numerous roles in her field and gave concerts and recitals in Germany, Austria, Belarus, Ukraine, Lithuania, Spain, Poland, Serbia, etc. From…

  • Bernhard Hansky

    Bernhard Hansky

    Born in Eisenhüttenstadt, the baritone Bernhard Hansky recently appeared as PING in “Turandot” at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin in 2022 under the musical direction of Zubin Mehta. Permanent engagements have taken him to the Hamburg State Opera and the Semperoper Dresden, where he can be heard in all the great baritone roles.…

  • Prof. Lars Franke

    Prof. Lars Franke

    Born in Zwickau, Lars Franke has lived in Berlin since 2011 and works as a director at various venues. He presented his first productions during his time in permanent positions at the Hanover State Opera and the Stuttgart State Opera. During his time as a freelance director, he was commissioned to stage productions at the Volkstheater…

  • Vinzenz Weissenburger

    Vinzenz Weissenburger

    The conductor and choral director Vinzenz Weissenburger works with conductors such as Daniel Barenboim, Vladimir Jurowski and Sir Simon Rattle and has conducted orchestras such as the Konzerthausorchester Berlin, the Staatskapelle Berlin and the Lautten Compagney in concert and opera. Outside Europe, he has appeared as a conductor in Argentina, Vietnam, China, Qatar and the…

  • Insa Bernds

    Insa Bernds

    Insa Bernds studied piano, music theory and violin and then musicology and comparative literature in Lübeck, Freiburg, Milan and Berlin. She works as a freelance musician and musicologist in Berlin. The focus of her pianistic work is on accompaniment. She participates in numerous music theatre projects as a répétiteur and/or pianist in the performances and…

  • Evgeny A. Nikiforov

    Evgeny A. Nikiforov

    Evgeny A. Nikiforov began his studies at the Technical School for Culture and Art in Miass/Russia. In 2000 he graduated with distinction as a concert pianist, accompanist, chamber music pianist and piano teacher at the State Ural Conservatory “Mussorgsky” (Ekaterinburg). This was followed by the Concert Exam (2004) and the song accompaniment exam (2006) at…

  • Aleksej Ilenko

    Aleksej Ilenko

    Aleksej Ilyenko was born in Russia in the town of Sysran (Volga region). From 1967 to 1972 he attended the music college in Petropavlovsk (Kamchatka) studying piano and accompaniment. From 1972 to 1981 he completed his studies (piano, choral conducting and conducting) at the conservatory and college in Vladivostok, Kazan and Krasnodar. From 1983 to…

  • Prussian Chamber Orchestra

    Prussian Chamber Orchestra

    The Prussian Chamber Orchestra (PKO) was founded in 1993 as a young, innovative and versatile ensemble. The ensemble has its home in Prenzlau, in the heart of the Uckermark. Just as the Uckermark sees itself as the antipole to the metropolis of Berlin, the orchestra sees itself as an agile and mobile counterpart to the…