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The Nose in Hamburg

Reading time: 2 min. HamburgShostakovichThe Nose

On 7 September 2019, the premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's The Nose will take place at the Hamburg State Opera, with a total of six performances on the programme. In productions such as The Nose, you never know exactly what to expect – Shostakovich described the opera at the time of its creation as a terrible story, not a comic one. Nevertheless, the extraordinary plot offers plenty of scope for interpretation, as was seen in Berlin last year.

One morning, the barber Yakovlevich finds a nose in his breakfast sandwich. At the same time, the assessor Kovalyov looks in the mirror – and finds that his nose is gone. The barber tries to get rid of the nose; Kovalyov tries to find it, and encounters it, large as life, at the cathedral. It is wearing a uniform, wants nothing to do with its owner, and disappears. Kovalyov wanders around town, thinking it is all a bad dream. Or is he the victim of a conspiracy? At any rate, the “mechanism of petit-bourgeois gossip” has cranked into high gear, and soon the entire city is awash with talk about the incident. When the opera was written, Shostakovich was only 22 years old. He loved animated films, worked at a cinema as a pianist, was deeply impressed by Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and applied the mercurial editing technique of films to opera.


Director: Karin Beier
Set Designer: Stéphane Laimé
Costume Designer: Eva Dessecker
Choreography: Altea Garrido
Dramaturgy: Christian Tschirner
Video: Meika Dresenkamp
Lighting Designer: Hartmut Litzinger


Read the full score:

The Nose