Wolfgang Rihm, Kurt Weill and Gustav Mahler in Aix-en-Provence

Jakob Lenz - 5, 8, 12 July 2019

‘He did everything just like the others did, but there was a horrible emptiness within him. He felt no more fear, no desire; his existence had become a necessary burden to him. – Thus, he went on living.’ (Georg Büchner: Lenz, 1839).

First performed in 1979, Wolfgang Rihm’s chamber opera Jakob Lenz is based on Georg Büchner’s story ‘Lenz’ and describes the three-week stay of the Sturm-und-Drang poet Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz with Pastor Friedrich Oberlin in Alsace. At the time, Lenz was already exhibiting symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia. He loses touch with his surroundings, internalizing the external world in a twisted projection. In addition to the real figures of the story, Rihm’s Jakob Lenz features six voices – projections of Lenz’ inner state, his fears and dreams, but also voices of his surroundings. Overlayered, reality and hallucination grow indistinguishable; Lenz’ psychological experiences merge with the surrounding sounds. Since its premiere, Rihm’s one-act piece has become one of the most successful German-language operas of the 20th century. Under Ingo Metzmacher’s baton, Ensemble Modern performs the chamber opera with Georg Nigl in the role of Lenz and other renowned singers. Andrea Breth directs the production, which will be presented at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence on July 5, 8 and 12, 2019. For her production of this chamber opera – a co-production of the Stuttgart Opera, the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (Brussels) and the Berlin State Opera Unter den Linden – Breth already won the prestigious FAUST Prize in the category ‘Director, Musical Theatre’ in 2015.

-Ensemble Modern

Watch the French teaser of the production:


Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny - 6, 9, 11, 15 July 2019

‘It is an allegory about life today. The principle character is the city. It comes to life starting from man’s needs and mans needs are responsible for its grandeur and its decadence.’

-Kurt Weill: Remarks regarding my opera Mahagonny, 1930

Everything is allowed in Mahagonny. Everybody can purchase his part of happiness in this artificial paradise founded right in the middle of the desert by three crooks on the run. But beware of liberal minded thinkers who would like to shatter this illusion… With Mahagonny, Brecht paints a vitriolic picture of a capitalist world built on crime and debauchery, whereas Weill opens the opera with the glistening sounds of jazz and cabaret songs. A resolutely iconoclastic work of which the political and social significance remains contemporary is particularly fitting for the stage director Ivo van Hove for his first highly awaited collaboration with the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen. Cast: Ivo van Hove, Karita Mattila, Sir Willard White, Annette Dasch, Nikolai Schukoff, Alan Oke, Sean Panikkar, Thomas Oliemans, Peixin Chen, Sean Panikkar.

New production of the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence, a coproduction with Dutch National Opera (Amsterdam), The Metropolitan Opera (New York), Opera Ballet Vlaanderen (Antwerp / Ghent), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. With the support of Fondation Meyer pour le développement culturel et artistique

-Publisher and theatrical agent: L'Arche.


Über die Linie VIII & The Song of the Earth - 13 July 2019

For a single concert in Aix-en-Provence, the Orchestre de Paris conducted by Ingo Metzmacher will unveil an unprecedented programme. To the first ever French performance of the work Über der Linie VIII by Wolfgang Rihm, the final stage of a cycle on instrumental lyricism, undertaken twenty years ago and here broadened to meet the dimensions of a large orchestra, will reply the captivating Lied von der Erde (the Song of the Earth) by Gustav Mahler, interpreted by the duo Sarah Connolly and Andreas Schager. This suite of six symphonic lieder, inspired by ancient Chinese poems, suggests the earth, nature, time passing, solitude, farewell…

View the full scores:

Über die Linie VIII


The Song of the Earth


Jakob Lenz


Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny