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Andersen's Tales

Opera drama by Jherek Bischoff and Jan Dvořák
World premiere / commissioned work

A cross art form project involving opera, theatre and ballet. In German with German and English surtitles. Recommended ages: 10 and above

The lives and works of authors frequently influence each other. However, it is possibly less well known that the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen and perhaps his best known character, the Little Mermaid, were kindred spirits. Director Philipp Stölzl, writer Jan Dvořák and com­poser Jherek Bischoff take this kinship as the starting point for an evening of theatre full of powerful images, words and sounds.

«Far out at sea the water is as blue as the petals of the most beautiful cornflower and as clear as the purest glass. And at its deepest point lies the Sea King’s castle. He has six beautiful children but the youngest one is the most beautiful of them all, but like all the others she has no feet: her body ends in a fish tail». This is how the fairy tale «The Little Mermaid» begins, which Hans Christian Andersen is just starting to write when he turns up at his friend Edvard Collin’s house the night before his wedding in order to confess his love for him. However, he is rejected once again. Upset by this, Andersen continues spinning his yarn and allows it to take a tragic turn: for love of a prince, the Little Mermaid wants to be human, at any price. To achieve this she enters a fatal bargain with the Sea Witch. The Little Mermaid then becomes a human being – but she is still unable to gain the prince’s love.

Andersen discharges his unfulfilled longings in a fictional story and in turn that story then influences his personal life. Side by side with the Danish writer who escapes into an imaginary world in order to be able to gain greater control over his own life, we dive deep into the world of the Little Mermaid.

The multi-award-winning film, opera and theatre director Philipp Stölzl has previously directed the operas «Faust» and «Der fliegende Holländer» in Basel and the play «Frankenstein» – now for the first time he combines opera, theatre and ballet. The music for this cross art form project has been written by the American composer Jherek Bischoff. His music is a unique mixture of classical, pop and electronics. He prefers writing for a large orchestra and experimenting with sound and sonic surfaces. A particular feature of his style is a pop—like use of the voice. Alongside numerous albums of his own, he has also composed for the Kronos Quar­tet, David Byrne, Robert Wilson and Neil Gaiman. At Theater Basel he was previously responsible for the music for Erich Kästner’s «Das fliegende Klassenzimmer».


A co-production between Theater Basel and the Residenztheater Munich

Preisstufe 9 (von 30.– bis 120.–)

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