Der goldene Drache

Peter Eötvös

Music theatre Libretto by Roland Schimmelpfennig after the play of the same name, set to music by Peter Eötvös

Premiere 13. December 2019

Performed in German


In the Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese fast food restaurant »Der goldene Drache« (»The Golden Dragon«), a motley group of individuals come together: two stewardesses, the old man Hans and his granddaughter as well as the owners of the restaurant, a Chinese family. While the restaurant fills with cheerful talk and orders are taken for medium-spicy Pad Thai Gai and the Thai Soup No. Six, dramatic scenes are taking place in the tiny kitchen: A young Chinese without a resident’s permit has toothache but no health insurance. Amidst steaming woks, his fellow countrymen quickly pull out the rotten tooth, which sails through the air and lands in the Thai soup of one of the guests. Beginning as a wacky comedy, Peter Eötvös’s chamber opera from 2014 quickly turns bitter and even grotesque, linking the fates of various individuals by the device of a lost tooth. 

If you are planning to visit a performance with your children or grandchildren, we recommend a minimum age of 16.


Part One
Inside »The Golden Dragon« Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant. Five Asian people are cooking side by side in the tiny kitchen. The smallest one is hunched over because of tooth pain. In the front part of the restaurant, stewardesses Inga and Eva sit down at their table. Above the restaurant a young woman visits her grandfather. Like always, Hans, the neighbour and grocer, orders the No. 103 at the restaurant. The smaller fellow screams with pain. He is in Germany looking for his sister, but he has no money and no papers. Going to the dentist is not an option.

The Ant stocks his pantry over the whole summer, while her neighbour, the Cricket, spends her time playing music. When winter comes, the Cricket begs the Ant for something to eat. But the Ant refuses.

The small fellow’s tooth is already black. In the kitchen, his compatriots decide to pull his tooth out for him using a pipe wrench.

Part Two
Above »The Golden Dragon« restaurant, the young woman shares her joyous news that she is pregnant. In the kitchen the little fellow’s pulled tooth flies through the air in a large arch and lands in the wok.

The Ant has a business idea: She rents the Cricket out to other people. The Ants rape the Cricket. One of the Cricket’s clients is the young woman’s grandfather from the »Golden Dragon« building.

Inga, the stewardess, finds the small fellow’s half rotted tooth in her soup. The small fellow’s tooth gap does not stop bleeding.

Part Three
The small fellow’s worried family from China is sitting inside the tooth gap, wondering whether he has found his sister yet. The granddaughter’s boyfriend is drinking away his exasperation about his girlfriend’s pregnancy, inside the grocery store together with Hans.

The grocer leaves the young man with the cricket. The encounter escalates. The young man breaks the cricket.

The small fellow bleeds to death in the kitchen of »The Golden Dragon«. He didn’t find his sister. The four other Asians wrap his body in a carpet and drown him in the river. Inga, the stewardess, stands on the bridge holding the small fellow’s tooth in her hand. She throws it into the river.