Iannis Xenakis (1922 – 2001)

Work for baritone, chorus, children´s chorus and chamber orchestra
Based on the tragedy by Aeschylus
First performed on 14th June in Ypsilanti [Michigan]
First scenical performance on 21st August 1987 in Gibellina [Sicily]
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 9th September, 2014

In ancient Greek with German surtitles





The ORESTEIA in the open air: During the remodelling of the main stage the Deutsche Oper Berlin will be mounting a major 20th-century work of musical theatre in the rather unusual setting of the upper deck of its multi-storey car park. Iannis Xenakis’ composition for Aeschylus’ Oresteia trilogy is conceived as an out-doors spectacle, and the world premiere took place on the baseball field of an American town – a powerful work with a singular musical language that is radically different from other scores of the period. Few works of contemporary musical theatre place such emphasis on percussion and rhythm.

In presenting the ancient tale of the Atreidae, Xenakis borrows from Ancient Greek theatre, using a narrator, extended chorus sections and two monologues. These elements highlight a number of aspects of Aeschylus’ trilogy and pose the core questions relating to guilt, ritual and religion, to personal responsibility – in short, to the most agreeable system of social organisation.

The elevated car park of the Deutsche Oper Berlin – a landscape of different architectural forms and materials featuring windows, balconies and gantries that lend themselves to performance – is at once a functional urban space and an artificial setting whose very nature and appearance raise issues of the process of social civilisation, of protection and shelter, of uncertainty and disconcertedness.

The staging of this extraordinary work of opera lies in the hands of director David Hermann and set designer Christof Hetzer, both of whom attracted attention in 2012 with their production of Helmut Lachenmann’s THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Supported by Hauptstadtkulturfonds and the Förderkreis der Deutschen Oper Berlin e. V.

Presented by kulturradio vom rbb, tip berlin and taz.die tageszeitung.