Bernhard Vogelsanger

Schwamendinger Oper

Galerie Tenne
Probsteistrasse 10
8051 Zürich
  • © Pierluigi Macor / Stadt Zürich KiöR («Neuer Norden Zürich»)

  • © Pierluigi Macor / Stadt Zürich KiöR («Neuer Norden Zürich»)

ca. 1945–1995

Bernhard Vogelsanger (1920-1995, Switzerland) was a trained decorator and installed in a three-room flat, which he shared with his mother, his Schwamendinger Oper. He was probably 25 or 30 years old when he began making opera stages out of shoeboxes, for musical works that he would doubtlessly have liked to sing and perform himself. Starting with these miniature theatres, Vogelsanger’s passion expanded over time, to fill an entire room. A room covered in red crepe paper, complete with theatre seating and a “professional” stage, was created in his flat.

On Saturdays, more or less in parallel to the programme on the stage of the Zurich Opera House in the city centre, he invited the residents of Schwamendingen to attend his opera, for which he specially produced posters and stage designs, and performed the grand dramas of love and passion with self-made cardboard characters, which he led through his on-stage worlds by pulling strings. He had around 80 operas, operettas and musicals in his repertoire, including Aida, Rigoletto, Porgy and Bess and My Fair Lady. To an increasing extent, Vogelsanger’s passion began to encompass other aspects of his life: he travelled through the metropolises of the world to gather inspiration for his stage designs and he dressed extravagantly, like the characters from the operas he loved. The current exhibition at Galerie Tenne is enabling the public to experience excerpts from this rich and unique body of artwork once again for the first time in 44 years.

Opening hours: Saturday and Sunday, 12:00 – 17:00