Apr 19, 2017
In May/June of 2018, Pablo Heras-Casado will lead the Spanish premiere of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten, a work that originally premiered in a limited form at the Oper Köln in 1965. Calixto Bieito directs the production, a co-commissioned staging with Operhaus Zürich and the Komische Oper Berlin, featuring set designs by Rebecca Ringst. Mr. Heras-Casado conducts the performances on May 16, 22, 24, 28 & 31 and June 3, with a cast that includes Steven Humes (Wessner), Susanne Elmark (Marie), Julia Riley (Charlotte), Stefan Vinke (Desportes), and Nicky Spence (Pirzel). For complete casting details, visit Teatro-Real.com.
The only opera that Bernd Alois Zimmermann composed was considered of such overwhelming technical difficulty that the Oper Köln (Germany) rejected it after having commissioned the work: it was too difficult to stage. A simplified revised version – although also devilishly complex – was finally accepted, it was to become one of the key works of the 20th century. The opera is based on the adaptation of an 18th century text of the same name by German poet Jakob Lenz, and it deliberately rebels against the rule of the three unities –place, action and time – of classical dramatic theatre.
The result is a variety of ancillary and disconnected events in fragmentary succession which do not always constitute scenes in the traditional sense. Added to this is a spherical concept of time where everything that has happened in the past will be repeated in the future and exist simultaneously. In other words, it is our perception that makes us believe that events follow one after the other, when in reality, this is not the case. Yesterday, today and tomorrow converge. In presenting a theatre of situation which opposes the psychological theatre, Die Soldaten emerges as an audacious, essential and radical work.