The last few months have been very intense and full of heavy lifting for the workers at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. This means packing up props, packaging light installations in such a way that they can’t be broken, and wrapping sets so that they aren’t damaged, even when roughly handled. The reason is that two opera productions are heading off to Asia for the 2017/2018 season.
“Forklifts, manpower, experience, and a good team – that’s all you need”
Not least due to the skills of Florian Kunz, head of logistics and transport, that the plan was able to be realized. The first steps for the Asia tour of the two operas “The Magic Flute” and “Tannhäuser” had to be taken more than a year in advance.
The first step was reserving cargo ships and convincing a logistics firm in Japan to cooperate with them. In addition, it was important that the Bavarian State Opera had access to a highly sophisticated transport system. The layout of the building facilitates quick and efficient transport within the opera. This was further assisted by the seamless transition between the stage area and the long, extended storage space where the floor can in part be raised and lowered hydraulically. One floor below this area is a gate to the adjacent street. This means carrying over long distances can be avoided.
Forklifts, manpower, experience, and a good team – that’s all that’s needed to store set pieces and props in the container.
Florian Kunz, head of logistics and transport at the Bavarian State Opera
The State Opera’s team loads the props in structures such as the 40-foot high-cubes with a capacity of 76.4 m3. This is particularly important for the large elements of the staging, which in some cases have to be on the road in one piece. However, they also use crates built especially for the transport, enabling them to fit in props with special sizes and shapes.
There were 19 trucks needed to transport all the stage sets from Munich to Hamburg. This mamoth act of transportation was followed by eight weeks at sea. This effort demanded organizational talent, a well-functioning team, and hands-on skills.
The travels of the stage, the ensemble, and the Bavarian State Orchestra can be followed on social media channels of the Bavarian Sate Opera.