The Staatskapelle Berlin is a German orchestra and the resident orchestra of the Berlin State Opera. Until the fall of the German Empire in 1918 the orchestra's name was "Königliche Kapelle", i.e. Royal Orchestra.
The orchestra traces its roots to 1570, when Joachim II Hector, Elector of Brandenburg established the rules for an orchestra at his court which had been constituted, at an unknown date. In 1701, the affiliation of the Electors of Brandenburg to the position of King of Prussia led to the description of the orchestra as Königlich Preußische Hofkapelle ("Royal Prussian Court Orchestra"), which consisted of about 30 musicians. The orchestra became affiliated with the Royal Court Opera, established in 1742 by Frederick the Great. Noted musicians associated with the orchestra have included Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Franz Benda, and Johann Joachim Quantz
The first concert by the ensemble for a wider audience outside of the royal courts was on 1 March 1783 at the Hotel Paris, led by Johann Friedrich Reichardt, the ensemble's Kapellmeister. After the advent of Giacomo Meyerbeer as Kapellmeister, from 1842, the role of the orchestra expanded and a first annual concert series for subscribers was launched. The orchestra gave a number of world and German premieres of works by Richard Wagner, Felix Mendelssohn, and Otto Nicolai.