Die Soldaten: Press release from Teatro Real

Teatro Real will present the first-ever performances of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Die Soldaten in Spain on the composer’s centenary, with Pablo Heras-Casado’s musical direction and stage direction by Calixto Bieito.

Die Soldaten (1965) is considered of such overwhelming technical difficulty, complexity and grandiosity that it’s a landmark in the history of 20th century opera and a great challenge for a theater.

Teatro Real will offer 7 performances of this opera between May 16 and June 3, in a new production originally created for the Opernhaus in Zurich (September 2013) and the Komische Oper in Berlin (June and July 2014).

The scene direction of Calixto Bieito does not hide nor conceal the hardness and violence of the opera, confronting the spectator with the nonsense, the abjection, the horror and the despair that are typical of wartime.

Pablo Heras-Casado will be in charge of conducting this extremely difficult score, written for 16 singers, 10 actors, dancers, choir, and orchestra with more than 100 musicians – including a jazz band and 13 percussionists─, as well as using chairs and tables as percussion instruments, magnetic tape, war sounds, projections, etc.

The Orquesta Titular del Teatro Real ─ with its musicians dressed as soldiers and holding their instruments like weapons ─ will play in the center of the stage, with the performers in the pit, right next to the audience.

The highlights for the cast of Die Soldaten are the quartet of protagonists, with soprano Susanne Elmark (Marie), baritone Leigh Melrose (Stolzius), bass Pavel Daniluk (Wesener) and tenors Uwe Stickert and Martin Koch, who take turns portraying Desportes.

The 7 performances of Die Soldaten will alternate with 5 Street Scene performances, two operas that explore, from different periods, spaces and languages, the brutality of violence towards women.

Para profundizar en la inabarcable riqueza musical y metafísica de Die Soldaten, habrá un coloquio ─Enfoques─ el 9 de mayo, una conferencia sobre la ópera, el 11 de mayo, y la breve presentación de la producción, previa a cada función, de la mano de José Luis Téllez, disponible también online.

To delve into Die Soldaten‘s immeasurable musical and metaphysical richness, there will be a “Focus” symposium on May 9, a conference about the opera on May 11, and a brief presentation about the production prior to each performance by José Luis Téllez, also available online.

Watch the trailer below:

Pablo Heras-Casado is the Principal Guest Conductor of Teatro Real, Madrid, Director of the Granada Festival, Conductor Laureate of the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, artist of harmonia mundi & Deutsche Grammophon, also records for Decca Classics and Sony Classical, and is Global Ambassador of Ayuda en Acción.


Photos: Fernando Sancho