New Productions

DIE GESPENSTERSONATE
(The Ghost Sonata)

Aribert Reimann
* 1936
Chamber opera in three acts
Libretto by August Strindberg
Translated from Swedish and adapted for music by the composer and Uwe Schendel
World premiere: September 25th 1984, Hebbel Theatre, Berlin Festwochen
First ever performance in Frankfurt
Sung in German with German surtitles

About the piece

Director Hummel introduces a student, Arkenholz, to people in a house who at first glance all seem to be leading normal lives. Exc ...
Director Hummel introduces a student, Arkenholz, to people in a house who at first glance all seem to be leading normal lives. Except »The Mummy«, an old woman who ekes out her existence in a storage space, who fascinates him. Arkenholz’ interest is aroused by a beautiful girl, in whom he immediately falls in love and wants to marry as soon as possible. Director Hummel, a power obsessed puller of strings and »people collector« evidently wants to help him – but not without getting something in return. The fates of all the characters appear to be grotesquely interwoven with one another. To the student’s horror he realises that the young woman and all the other members of the household are suffering from the consequences of what happened in the past. Invitations are made to regular »Ghost dinners« – at which the guests are always the same, and so are the conversations. The reversal of power relationships between the owners and servants further intensifies the claustrophobic atmosphere. Arkenholz sees through the entanglements of guilt and atonement, but does not want to destroy the web of dependency and betrayal. Aribert Reimann wrote a chamber opera for this August Strindberg story. The drama is full of symbolism and absurd scenes whose ethical and social critical content make the piece seem timeless. The underlying themes of justice and guilt, hushing up facts and the inability of anyone being able to go through life in total innocence are the foundations of Walter Sutcliffe’s production.

Synopsis

Arkenholz, a student, is able to see dead people, meets the ghost of a milkmaid. Director Hummel watches him and asks if he would ...
Arkenholz, a student, is able to see dead people, meets the ghost of a milkmaid. Director Hummel watches him and asks if he would work for him, offering to introduce him to the family in a mansion nearby that seems to fascinate him and marry a young lady who lives in the hyacinth room. Among the inhabitants is the mummy, who is married to the Colonel. Twenty years ago she spent a night of passion with Hummel. Unable to forget, she has taken to living in a cupboard. Preparations are made for the next Ghost Supper. Despite the fact that everybody in the house has had a relationship with another member of the household, none of this ie ever discussed. There is a statue of the mummy when she was young. The mummy and Hummel meet again. Hummel unmasks the Colonel as a confidence trickster. Arkenholz is introduced and led into the hyacinth room. The Ghost Supper begins. Hummel declares himself the legitimate father of the young lady in the haycinth room. The mummy accuses him of Fraud and the murder of a milkmaid, sentencing him to hang himself in the cupboard where she has been living. Arkenholz in the hyacinth room: although attracted to him the young woman declines his proposal of marriage. The appearance of the cook, who tyrannizes the occupants of the house, unsettles her further. Arkenholz, realising that everything in the house is fraudulous, insists of revealing his truth to the young woman, even though she says it will kill her. She dies, leaving him with the poem he found her reading.
Performances

Friday 31.01.2014 19:30 h

Further performances

Bockenheimer Depot

Pre-booking and Pricing

Cast

Conductor
Karsten Januschke
Director
Walter Sutcliffe
Set and Costume Design
Kaspar Glarner
Lighting Designer
Joachim Klein
Dramaturge
Stefanie Mieszkowski

Der Alte, Direktor Hummel
Dietrich Volle
Der Student Arkenholz
Alexander Mayr
Der Oberst
Brian Galliford
Die Mumie, Frau des Oberst
Anja Silja
Das Fräulein, ihre Tochter
Barbara Zechmeister
Johannson, Diener bei Hummel
Hans Schöpflin
Bengtsson, Bedienter beim Oberst
Björn Bürger
Die dunkle Dame, Tochter des Toten
Nina Tarandek
Die Köchin beim Oberst
Stine Marie Fischer

Orchestra of Oper Frankfurt

 
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