Three operas at the Kissinger Sommer 2019

“Men say that he by the music of his songs charmed the stubborn rocks upon the mountains and the course of rivers”. Thus wrote the poet Apollonius of Rhodes about Orpheus around 250 B.C. The musician Orpheus, the first artist in history according to the tale, could stir living and lifeless nature with his art and yet he remained a stranger in this realm of nature that listened to him in awe. Awe and mutual respect still define an artist’s relation to their audience but so does an artist’s relation to nature around him.


When Orpheus sings of the “pure heavens” in the realms of the dead it seems as if he needs to introduce all the wonders of this world to us, the audience, all over again. Composer Willibald Gluck finds a musical expression for everything in “Orfeo ed Euridice”, whether it be the murmuring of the rivers or the chirping of the birds. A unity with nature, however, is only achieved when Eurydice enters the picture. The nymph that is not part of human nature integrates wholly into the orchestra sound and seems to always be present. This dramaturgic construction allows us to completely forego a physical representation of Eurydice in our performance of Gluck’s opera. Instead, Damian Scholl’s musical commentary gives her a voice.

Richard Wagner presents a different kind of nature, one that is more personified and reflected in grand orchestral sound. Friedrich Nietzsche wrote: “Of Wagner the musician it can be said in general that he has bestowed a language upon everything in nature which  has hitherto not wanted to speak: he does not believe that anything is obliged to be dumb.  He plunges into daybreaks, woods, mist, ravines, mountain heights, the dread of night, moonlight, and remarks in them a secret desire: They want to resound.” From this resounding, “nature motif”, everything is derived and when Alberich’s lust for power sees him destroying the unity of gold and water it is the beginning of the end for the gods. On the 23rd of June we can hear Richard Wagner’s richness of timbre when North West German Philharmonic delivers a concert performance of “Rhinegold” into the Max-Littmann-Saal under direction of Frank Beermann.

“Deutschlandfunk” has described the 2015 production from Minden that will be presented in the Kissinger Sommer as “east westphalian Bayreuth”. With young singers and an orchestra well versed in Wagner’s sound it will ignite that same spark yet again.

“Back to nature” without any symbolic subtext is Rosseau’s motto in his one-act opera “Le devin du village” (“The Village Fortune-teller”). On the surface it is just a harmless contemporary comedy in which the titular fortune-teller restores the love between Colette 


Orpheus Taming Wild Animals, 194 B.C.

and Colin. The differences in status only play a background role, the sheep herder Colette is saddened due to the departure of her beloved Colin who chases after a noble woman. He on the other hand is led to believe that Colette has a friend of high status… this is how harmless entertainment could be in 1752. In the Future Lab of the Kissinger Sommer we will add some modern elements. However, are current actors still able to show their emotions? Together with director Till Kleine-Möller our teachers and students will find the answer.

Operas in the Kissinger Sommer:
23.6.2019 Rheingold
6.7.2019 „Orfeo ed Euridice“
13.7.2019 „Der Dorfwahrsager“ – Kissinger Zukunftslabor
14.7.2019 „Der Dorfwahrsager“ – Kissinger Zukunftslabor