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Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (The Little Match Girl)New production

This listing is in the past
OpernhausFalkenstrasse 1, Zürich, 8008, Switzerland
2019 October 12 19:00, October 18 19:00, October 20 20:00, October 25 20:00, October 27 14:00, October 31 19:30, November 01 19:30, November 10 14:00, November 14 19:00

Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern (The Girl with the Matches) by Helmut Lachenmann is one of the most important works of musical theatre written in the past fifty years and a shining example of how contemporary music finds its way to audiences despite placing the most advanced demands on the listener in compositional terms. Lachenmann’s compositional style combines sound with noise, sweeping and knocking movements, blowing and scraping, and radically calls into question structures and materials – yet his score comes together to form an overwhelming piece of musical theatre that bewitches all the senses. This has brought the work cult status and many enthusiastically received performances since its world première in 1997. The German composer has given his only piece of musical theatre the subtitle «Music with images». The piece tells the story of Hans Christian Andersen’s extremely sad tale about a little girl who freezes to death in the snow one New Year’s Eve, barefoot and leaning against the wall of a house, because nobody buys a bundle of matches from her. Rebelling against the cold and the mercilessness of the world, she lights the matches and for a brief moment, amid the «zipping» sound of the flaming matches, imagines the delights of bourgeois affluence, and finally her dead grandmother, who takes the child with her to heaven. For Lachenmann, Andersen’s tale is highly political: his music reveals almost physically perceptible descriptions of the state of mind of a lonely human being abandoned by the entire world, and at the same time captures in sound the iciness of a modern society that engenders such desolation. In our new production of Lachenmann’s Mädchen, which is also the work’s Swiss premiere, Ballet Director Christian Spuck devotes himself to this composition, which defies all conventions and perceptual patterns, staging it for the first time ever as a ballet. Spuck thus adds a new, audacious dimension to his choreographic oeuvre, which is a challenge for all disciplines at the Opera House. The piece combines dance, images, singing and Lachenmann’s fascinatingly gestural, theatrical music – which also turns the auditorium into a sound space – resulting in an artistic venture of a very special kind.

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