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Dramatic comedy in nine scenes
Libretto by Claus H. Henneberg after Luigi Pirandello's play Enrico IV (1922)
First performed April 11 1991, Schlosstheater, Schwetzingen
Performed in German with German surtitles
ca. 1 hour 30 minutes, without an interval
an introductory talk, in German, begins 30 minutes before every performance
Mad or sane ? Once upon a time, Enrico fell from his horse in a carnival procession dressed as King Heinrich IV his, then in vain, adored Matilda, as the Marchesa di Toscana, at his side. When he came round he really believed he was the king and other people – including his rival Belcredi – had great fun continuing to treat him as such. What began as game became reality for the supposed madman for more that twenty years until the question was raised as to who the real key player was, and why construed reality can begin to falter when real emotions become involved, when it is a matter of life or death.
Luigi Pirandello's play Enrico IV was the model for Manfred Trojahn's opera, first performed in 1991. Embedded in the gracile sound of a small orchestra, his music and Claus H. Henneberg's concise libretto combine to focus on the dramatic situation, define the characters and intensify Pirandello's premise: "Everyone creates his own mask, as he so wishes – the external mask". Trojahn structured the nine scenes of his dramatic comedy, which is split in two by a soft, reflecting notturno, with the help of ciphers, recurrent material, specific orchestral impulses and the very subtly differentiated tempo of his operatic dramaturgy. Trojahn found original expression for that which fascinated him in the play: its characters, its power.