Die Antilope at the Cologne Opera

Reading time: 2 min. Johannes Maria Staud

Johannes Maria Staud’s opera Die Antilope receives its German première on 5 March at the Cologne Opera. Further performances take place on 10, 12, 18, 23 and 26 March.

Howard Arman conducts the Gürzenich-Orchester Köln in Dominique Menthas production, featuring Claudia Rohrbach, Miljenko Turk, Michael Mrosek, Lucas Singer, Martin Koch, Dalia Schaechter and Emily Hindrichs.

The libretto was written by the German poet Durs Grünbein, who has already worked with Staud on the opera Berenice.

Johannes Maria Staud (c) Universal EditionThe composer on Die Antilope:

The opera tells the story of a young man, Victor, a character that draws on Victor Krap (Samuel Beckett, Eleutheria) and Bartleby, the Scrivener (Herman Melville). Victor, a nonconformist social outsider, escapes from an increasingly claustrophobic company party (complete with stagnant and meaningless party chit-chat) by jumping out of the window. This results in Victor stumbling through an absurdly distorted urban world, his “journey through the night” leading him to the strangest situations, sometimes menacing and appalling, sometimes funny and grotesque, always wavering on the threshold between real and unreal.

Our hero is torn between the desire to be an outside observer, a spontaneous man of action (he is not immune to moral indignation) and allowing himself to be swept away by the dynamics of the curious situations in which he finds himself. At the end of this journey, Victor – whose true motivation remains a mystery – turns up unexpectedly back at the company party under extremely strange circumstances. The party, which had been frozen in time during his absence, resumes as if nothing had happened. The Möbius band has closed.

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