Greek / Open-Air on the parking deck

Mark-Anthony Turnage (*1960)

Information on the piece

An opera in two acts
Libretto by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Moore after Steven Berkoff’s 1980 verse tragedy of the same name based on “Oedipus Rex” by Sophocles
World premiere: 17th June 1988, Munich (as part of 1st Munich Biennale for New Musical Theatre)
Premiere at Deutsche Oper Berlin: 27th August 2021 (on the parking deck)

recommended from 16 years

approx. 90 minutes / no interval

In English with surtitles

Share this post
About the performance

The ancient myth of King Oedipus is given modern-day treatment in the form of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s GREEK. The season launches at the Deutsche Oper Berlin with an open-air production of grotesque and tragicomic musical theatre staged on the parking deck by Pinar Karabulut, one of the most talked-about directors of the younger generation.

Back in 1988 Hans Werner Henze commissioned an unknown 28-year-old to stage a hitherto unperformed work for the 1st Munich Biennale. Mark-Anthony Turnage had attracted attention primarily for his quirky and powerful musical language. Turnage’s instrumental pieces were eclectic to say the least, with the composer drawing for his inspiration on auteurs as diverse as Miles Davis, Janáček and Stravinsky. For his operatic debut Turnage opted for a text by the controversial writer and director Steven Berkoff. Berkoff had been part of the “angry young man” movement of playwrights in the 1960s, published works on the class struggle across English society and seen the loud, coarse and often foul language of his plays depicting social tensions brought to the stages of London’s fringe theatre landscape. GREEK, an adaptation of the Oedipus myth, remains one of his best-known plays. In GREEK the Oedipus character appears in the form of Eddy, a young, working-class man in the East End of London struggling to make his way in a deeply divided society. In a country marked by racism, violence and mass unemployment Eddy sets out to find himself, to free himself from the shackles of his environment and to challenge what appears to be his inevitable destiny. After killing his own father and marrying his mother, the original Oedipus has no alternative but to accept the fate foretold by the gods and own up to his guilt. Berkoff’s Eddy, on the other hand, is singularly unimpressed by fate, myths and morals, celebrating himself as “motherfucker” who revels in free sexual love with his wife and mother. The young Mark-Anthony Turnage saw this socially critical and anti-bourgeois version of the Oedipus tale as the perfect material for his own unconventional take on opera and used Berkoff’s no-holds-barred language – a blend of pathos-tinged refinement and rough Cockney slang – as the springboard for an equally powerful and stylistically varied score that combines elements of jazz, hip hop and even football anthems.

Deutsche Oper Berlin is once again changing venues for GREEK: the parking deck in the courtyard of the Deutsche Oper has established itself as a performance venue with outstanding acoustics. After the productions ORESTEIA (2014) and DAS RHEINGOLD AUF DEM PARKDECK (2020), the rough backyard architecture was also used for a summer outdoor opera spectacle in the summer of 2021, which will now once again be the backdrop for Mark-Anthony Turnage's music theatre for the 2022/23 season opener.

Pinar Karabulut, one of our most sought-after young theatre directors, makes her debut in the field of musical theatre. A number of her works have aired at the Radikal Jung Festival and for her production of Furcht und Ekel. Das Privatleben glücklicher Leute by Dirk Laucke she was awarded the NachSpielPreis of the Heidelberger Stückemarkt festival. She made her name with productions for the Schauspiel Köln, Volkstheater Wien and Volksbühne Berlin and in her capacity as director is part of the management team at the Münchner Kammerspiele.

Conductor of GREEK will be Yi-Chen Lin, who made her debut with the Radio Symphonie Orchester Wien. Since 2020, following guest appearances at the Rossini Festival Pesaro and in Lisbon and Bologna, Lin has worked as kapellmeister and assistant to the General Music Director at the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

Our articles on the subject

Pinar Karabulut … A place of serenity for my soul: the Hofgarten in Munich
Cockney for Beginners
Greek – The Synopsis
Playing the game?


News about the schedule
and the start of advance booking
Personal recommendations
Special offers ...
Stay well informed!

Subscribe to our newsletter

Subscribe to our Newsletter and receive 25% off your next ticket purchase.

* Mandatory field