Opening premiere on October 3rd with Luca Francesconi’s QUARTETT

directed by Barbara Wysocka and under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim – with Mojca Erdmann and Thomas Oliemans

The opening premiere of the 2020-2021 season at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden will take place on October 3rd with Luca Francesconi’s QUARTETT directed by Barbara Wysocka, who is making her house debut with this production. Daniel Barenboim is the musical director and the Staatskapelle Berlin plays. The opera is based on Heiner Müller’s play of the same name, which was based on Choderlos de Laclos’ famous epistolary novel “Dangerous Liaisons,” premiered in English in Milan in 2011, now being staged for the first time in a German version. Mojca Erdmann and Thomas Oliemans make their role debuts as Marquise de Merteuil and Vicomte de Valmont. Francesca Ciaffoni is featured as a dancer. Barbara Hanicka designed the set, and Julia Kornacka designed the costumes.

In the production, Barbara Wysocka deals with a society in limbo: in the face of crisis and catastrophe, between longing for life and emptiness, the protagonists meet in a cynical gender struggle. The Italian composer Luca Francesconi, whose works are influenced by Azio Corghi, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Luciano Berio, combines dream-sequence-like soundscapes and a spatial sound generated by live electronics, with a colorful chamber music basic gesture of the music in QUARTETT.

The Polish actress, theater and opera director Barbara Wysocka was initially engaged as an actress at the Stary Teatr in Krakow from 2004-2014 and appeared at the National Theater in Warsaw, the Maxim Gorki Theater and the Schaubühne, as well as in feature films and television productions. In addition to her work as an actress in theater and film, she has been working as a director at major theaters in Poland and increasingly throughout Europe since 2007. She staged Büchner’s “Lenz” and “Dantons Tod” at the National Theater in Warsaw, “1984” at the Teatr Powszechny, “Woyzeck / Wozzeck” at the Munich Kammerspiele and “Don Karlos” at the Vienna Volkstheater. The actress also appears in her own music theater productions such as “Anti-Oedipus” and “Chopin without Piano.” For the opera production “The Fall of the House of Usher” by Philip Glass, Barbara Wysocka received the Paszport Polityki Culture Prize and the Main Acting Award for the role of Idalia in “Fantazy,” as well as the Golden Yorick for her production of Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar.”  In addition, the actress, theater and opera director staged “Lucia di Lammermoor” at the Bavarian State Opera, Dusapin’s “Medeamaterial” and “Don Giovanni” at the Bregenz Festival, the world premiere of Knapik’s “Moby Dick” and Różycki’s “Eros i Psyche,” as well as “Tosca” at the Polish National Opera. Future engagements include the Gran Teatre del Liceu and the Opéra National de Paris.

Mojca Erdmann’s work includes participation in contemporary music theater works such as Wolfgang Rihm’s monodrama “Proserpina,” written especially for her, the world premiere of Rodion Shchedrin’s “Cleopatra and the Snake” and the world premiere of “South Pole” by Miroslav Srnka. She made her debut at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in the world premiere of “Takemitsu – My Way of Life” under the direction of Kent Nagano. Under the musical direction of Daniel Barenboim, Mojca Erdmann made her role debut at the State Opera in the Schiller Theater in 2012 as Lulu in Alban Berg’s opera of the same name – in a production by Andrea Breth. Her other repertoire includes parts like Zerlina in “Don Giovanni” and Marzelline in Beethoven’s “Fidelio.” Mojca Erdmann has already made guest appearances at well-known houses such as the Bavarian State Opera, the Theater an der Wien, the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. At the De Nationale Opera in Amsterdam she appeared in Mozart’s “The Abduction from the Seraglio.” She made her debut at the Salzburg Festival in the title role of Mozart’s “Zaide.” During the 2013 Festival, she sang a series of world premieres with the Scharoun Ensemble. She is a frequent guest in renowned concert halls such as the Cologne Philharmonic, the Alte Oper Frankfurt, where she was a member of the ensemble from 2012 to 2013, the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and the Jones Hall of the Houston Symphony. She toured with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Vienna Symphony, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the Danish National Symphony Orchestra.

The Dutch baritone Thomas Oliemans studied with Margreet Honig, Robert Holl, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. He is a regular guest at De National Opera Amsterdam with roles such as Don Alfonso in “Così fan tutte,” Bill from “Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny,” Lescaut from “Manon Lescaut,” and Kothner from “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg.” He was also Hamlet at the GöteborgsOperan; Mr. Redburn in “Billy Budd” at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Real Madrid, and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; Silviode Nardi in “Bomarzo” at the Teatro Real; and Papageno at De Nationale Opera and at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence; as well as Gonsalvo Fieschi in “Die Gezeichen” at the Salzburg Festival. Recent engagements include Strauss’ “Die Frau ohne Schatten” with Yannick Nézet-Séguin and the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra and Ivor Bolton, the British premiere of Larcher’s “Alle Tage” with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner’s Mass in F minor with the Basel Symphony Orchestra, Mahler’s “Lied von der Erde” with the Amsterdam Sinfonietta, Martin’s “Jedermann-Monologe” with the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, and Mendelssohn’s “Elias” with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra under Vasily Petrenko and with the Academy for Early Music Berlin. Highlights of the 2020-2021 season include Papageno at the Metropolitan Opera and Danilo in “The Merry Widow” at De Nationale Opera Amsterdam.

In addition to the production, a chamber concert with works by Luca Francesconi will take place in the Pierre Boulez Saal on October 12th.


Opera in twelve scenes and an epilogue (2011)

Music and text by Luca Francesconi based on the play of the same name by Heiner Müller

First performance of the German version

Premiere on Saturday, October 3rd, 2020 at 1:30 p.m. EST

Further performances on October 8, 10 and 18, 2020

Staatsoper Unter den Linden

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