The first castle festivals took place 26 years ago, from 11 June to 18 July 1993, in the castle courtyard.
The first staging was the drama "Marlowe´s Faust" by Christopher Marlowe.
The well-known drama "The tragic history of Doctor Faustus" is the precursor of Goethe's "Faust".
The heroic comedy Don Quixote after Jules Massenet was performed in the castle courtyard in 1994.
In a Spanish province the Junker falls in love with the frivolous Dulcineé. But she will only be his if he retrieves the necklace stolen by the rascals.
So Don Quixote sets off, tilts at windmills, falls into the hands of bandits and finally succeeds in recovering the jewellery.
Nevertheless, he remains unpaid after his return. Dulcineé laughs at him and Don Quixote dies of a broken heart in the forest.
The first performance of the opera took place in Monte Carlo in 1910. Today there are less performed works, since the demands on the ensemble are enormous - especially on the singers of the leading roles.
A play specially staged for Schwerin is the legend of Peter Dehler's Petermännchen.
There are different stories about the goblin and his life in Schwerin.
He is the good spirit of Schwerin Castle, he rumbled in the vaults at night and enjoyed that possible intruders had voluntarily taken flight. He had awakened fallen asleep soldiers of the night watch again, so that they could carry out their service. He had also been a blacksmith by profession.
For Schwerin he has played an important role for many years and it is impossible to imagine the cityscape without him, be it in the naming of the Pfaffenteich ferry or as a city guide. The Petermännchen is a Schwerin mascot.
Peter Dehler paid tribute to his character and dedicated the castle festival with the wonderful production "P.M." to him in 1995.
Giuseppe Verdi's opera "Il trovatore" (The Troubadour) was performed two years in a row in the castle courtyard. 1997 was the first and only year in which the Schlosssfestspiele showed a repertoire piece.
Fatal entanglements and a bloody civil war turned Count Luna and his gypsy son Manrico into enemies. They are henchmen of two opposing heirs to the throne and love the same woman, Leonora. The truth is overshadowed by a dark past - the two are actually brothers. Luna has Manrico executed and only finds out afterwards that Manrico was his brother.
The story takes place in Biscay and Aragon at the beginning of the 15th century.
The Spanish swashbuckler comedy "Lady Goblin" was written in 1629 by Pedro Calderón de la Barca.
His version is the most played one in the German-speaking area. There are several translations and settings into German.
In 1999, there were two productions performed due to the Schlossfestspiele.
The opera AIDA was shown on the Alter Garten and for the first time the cathedral courtyard became a venue.
The morality JEDERMANN by Hugo von Hofmannsthal attracted many visitors to the cathedral courtyard.
For another five years, the cathedral´s courtyard served as the venue for the castle festivals before the agreement was reached to relocate the Schlossfestspiele exclusively to the Alter Garten.
The summer in the millennium year was a very special one.
The Schlossfestspiele ran over a period of two months, at two venues and presented four productions:
- Castle Courtyard, play "Die Drei Musketiere" ("The Three Musketeers")
- Cathedral Courtyard, "Savitri", the opera "The Matron of Ephesus or The Tears of the Widow" and for the first time a musical: "Non(n)sense" by Dan Goggin
In Babylon there is a struggle for land and faith. Jerusalem against Babylon, the Babylonian king Nabucco against the Jewish high priest Zaccaria and in the middle of this war a love story. The king's daughters, Abigaille and Fenena, love Ismaele the Israelite. When Abigaille learns through a secret document that she is not the first-born Nabucco, but the daughter of a slave, she goes crazy. Abigaille turns against everyone: her family, Ismaele and all Israel. Now it is up to Nabucco to regain the freedom of his people.
Turandot is the last opera by Giacomo Puccini, it was completed after his death by Franco Alfano after Puccini's sketches and notes.
A Mandarin proclaims: The Chinese princess Turandot takes the first canvasser who can solve her three puzzles. If he cannot, he will be beheaded. During the execution of a Persian prince, Kalaf falls in love with the princess and also strikes the gong to become her husband. To her surprise, the prince can solve any riddle, but Turandot does not ask the emperor to deliver her to him. Kalaf now gives her a riddle: if she finds out his name overnight, she may dispose of it. Turandot finds no solution. In the end Kalaf betrays himself and Turandot proclaims to the people: his name is husband!
Don Carlos tears to France to get to know his bride who is destined for him. Princess Elizabeth and Don Carlos fall in love, but the king orders her not to marry Doc Carlos anymore, but his father, King Philip, to restore peace between France and Italy. Elizabeth finally agrees and leaves the man she loves. Her secret is revealed.
A masked ball or the original title "Un ballo in maschera" is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi.
2005 was for the time being the last year in which the cathedral courtyard served as the venue for the castle festivals. William Shakespeare's "Midsummer Night's Dream" was performed there.
Almost two weeks before Shakespeare´s premiere: Derniere at the Alter Garten of Verdi's opera "Rigoletto".
So there were two productions in a row, so that the Schlossfestspiele lasted from mid-June 2005 to mid-August 2005.
La traviata is one of the most successful operas in music history. But Guiseppe Verdi's premiere did not go down well at first, when it became a masterpiece in its own right.
Violetta Valéry and Alfredo Germont live together in a house outside Paris. Alfredo's father asks Violetta to end the love affair with his son in order to preserve the family's reputation, as Violetta was a courtesan. Since she will die of tuberculosis, she accepts that an end is best. As Alfredo's grief turns to anger, Violetta's condition deteriorates greatly.
Some time later, the father confesses which sacrifice Violetta made. Alfredo wants to beg Violetta's forgiveness and fails to stay. When the father blesses her love, she feels her old powers coming back, she rises - and falls down dead.
The Troubadour is an opera by Guiseppe Verdi called "dramma lirico", which takes place in Biscay and Aragon at the beginning of the 15th century.
Already in 1996 and 1997 Verdi's Il travatore was performed in the courtyard of the castle. In 2007, the masterpiece at the Alter Garten once again delighted many visitors.
Today, Carmen is one of the most popular works in the opera repertoire, even though its premiere was rather rejected by the audience, because Carmen is described as a "revolutionary break" in the Opéra comique.
Carmen gets arrested. To be released she seduces the brigadier Don José, who is imprisoned because of Carmen. Two months later he meets Carmen in a pub and follows her into the mountains with her gang of smugglers until his fiancée tells him that his mother is dying. José promises to return, but Carmen has a new lover. Some time later he tries to win her back, but she rejects him. In the end they can not come together since he stabs her in his jealousy.
The opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is one of the most famous and most frequently staged operas in the world.
Prince Tamino is to liberate Pamina, who was abducted by Prince Sarastro to a temple. So he sets off with his friend, the bird catcher Papageno. To protect them, they are given a golden magic flute and a magic carillon. In order to live peacefully together, Tamino, Pamina and Papageno must pass three tests, which Sarastro instructs them to pass: Maturity, secrecy and steadfastness.
The opera "La forza del destino" by Giuseppe Verdi was performed at the Alter Garten in 2010.
In 2011, the opera "Der Freischütz" by Carl Maria von Weber was the first open-air performance in the castle gardens to stage the Schlossfestspiele in Schwerin.
Bajazzo is a veristic opera in two acts by Ruggero Leoncavallo, which has been a triumph since its premiere in 1892 and has since become one of the most popular pieces in the opera repertoire.
Canino and his troupe set up their stage in a village and prepare the audience for a particularly realistic play. But the real dramas take place behind the scenes. When Canino realizes that his wife Nedda is cheating on him, the theatre becomes reality. The Bajazzo kills Columbina on stage and Camino is arrested for the murder of Nedda.
Johann Strauss' operetta "Die Fledermaus" is regarded as the high point of the golden operetta era from 1860 to 1900.
Gabriel von Eisenstein has to go to prison for a few days. His friend Dr. Falke advises him to have a good time first. So they go to Prince Orlowsky's masked ball together. Actually, Dr. Falke is planning revenge, because Eisenstein let him stagger home drunk in a bat costume a few years ago. Eisenstein embarrasses himself with the other guests, the whole society gets confused and everyone pretends to be different. Later it becomes clear that was the successful revenge of the bat falcon.
Nabucco is the abbreviation of Nabucodonosor and names a Babylonian king, as well as the successful opera by Guiseppe Verdi, which was already performed in 2001 at the Alter Garten.
It is about a Babylonian ruler with extreme overestimation of himself and the attempt of the Jewish people to free themselves from the Babylonian captivity.
"The Fallen" or Italian "La traviata" is one of the most successful operas in the musical history of Gusiseppe Verdi and was already presented in Schwerin in 2006 as a part of the Schlossfestspiele at the Alter Garten.
After its premiere in 1853, the plot was considered an unprecedented novelty, as Verdi had a woman excluded and rejected by society become the main protagonist. A masterpiece about a mistress who dies of tuberculosis.
Already the second time the opera "Aida" was performed at the Alter Garten. Around 27,000 visitors saw Verdi's opera in a dreamlike setting in front of the castle. After "Nabucco" and "La Traviata", "Aida" concluded the Verdi Trilogy of the Palace Festival. Singers from all over the world came to Schwerin, a total of about 200 artists were involved in the production.
The musical "West Side Story" by Jerome Robbins entered the Old Garden in Schwerin in the summer of 2017 and thrilled many thousands of spectators in the stands.
The renowned director and choreographer Simon Eichberger has staged the internationally renowned musical together with the music theatre ensemble, guest soloists, the ballet company and the Mecklenburg State Orchestra.