… explained by armourer Andreas Krellmann

In unserer Produktion von Verdis DON CARLO gibt es eine berüchtigte Schussszene. There’s a famous scene in our production of Verdi’s DON CARLO where a gun is fired. Rodrigo gets shot onstage by an extra who emerges from the shadows. One night we were doing the scene and the blank gun didn’t go off. The singer was waiting for the bang and when it didn’t come, he opted to »die« of a heart attack. Since then, we’ve being firing a back-up gun simultaneously – which the guy has to time perfectly, so the audience doesn’t hear two separate discharges. The guns are loaded with a gunpowder shell and a detonator. When the person fires the weapon, the impact of a metal pin striking creates energy and heat. The powder is ignited and goes from solid state to gaseous, expanding in an instant and producing the bang. It’s not without risks. Even blank guns generate little spurts of flame that can burn a person, which is why when Cavaradossi is executed by firing squad in TOSCA, the relevant men are aiming past him, not directly at him. And it always makes a din. Everyone plugs their ears when my colleague and I are standing in the wings ready to shoot.

Before the shooting of Cavaradossi © Bettina Stöß, 2019


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Adventsverlosung: Das 10. Fensterchen

Before Tobias Kratzer's third production of INTERMEZZO premieres on our stage in April 2024, you can win his debut production for your home DVD collection in today's Advent calendar: Alexander von Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG.

In today's Advent calendar window, we are giving away two DVDs of the Naxos recording of Alexander von Zemlinsky's opera DER ZWERG, which was nominated for the GRAMMY in the "Best Opera Recording" category and is one of the most successful new DVD productions of recent years. If you would like to take part in the prize draw, please send an e-mail today to with the subject line "The 10th window".

A vain, superficial princess - a dwarf artist: the protagonists could hardly be more different, but the story only becomes a tragedy when the dwarf, unaware of his appearance, misinterprets the mockery of court society as a sign of honour and the princess's coquetry as proof of love. When he finally recognises himself in the mirror, he cannot escape the glances of the others - and collapses dead. This fairy tale about an outsider has had biographical parallels in mind since its premiere: Zemlinsky was small and rather slight in stature and suffered from his brief but passionate affair with Alma Schindler for the rest of his life. A quarter of a century of trauma management passed between the liaison in Vienna and the first performance in Cologne, during which the once renowned artist gradually found himself sidelined: too avant-garde for the traditionalists, too traditional for the avant-garde ... Experience David Butt Philip, Mick Morris Mehnert, Elena Tsallagova and Emily Magee in the main roles under the musical direction of Sir Donald Runnicles in a production by Tobias Kratzer.

We would like to thank the Naxos label for the great collaboration of recent years, which - in addition to Zemlinsky's DER ZWERG - has documented recordings of DAS WUNDER DER HELIANE, FRANCESCA DA RIMINI, DER RING DES NIBELUNGEN, DER SCHATZGRÄBER and DIE MEISTERSINGER VON NÜRNBERG, as well as ARABELLA and ANTIKRIST in the course of 2024.

Closing date: 10 December 2023, the winners will be informed by email on 11 December 2023. The DVDs will then be sent by post. Legal recourse is excluded.