Oedipus hopes to escape his foretold destiny. Having previously fled his homeland, he saves the Thebans from the Sphinx and becomes their king, marrying the widow of the murdered King Laius. Now he must save the people from the plague, which requires him to find the old king’s murderer. In his hubris he ignores all the danger signs and finally recognized the dreadful truth that he himself unwittingly killed the king, his own father, and married his mother. Stravinsky’s ritualistic drama in neo-classicist style, performed in both Latin and German and written by the poet Jean Cocteau, employs massive choral forces to conjure up the devastating horror of this myth in its fateful hopelessness.
»Oedipus Rex«: Opera oratorio in two acts, Libretto by Jean Cocteau and Igor Strawinsky based on »Oidípous Týrannos« by Sophokles, performed in Latin and German with German and English supertitles
The mother of the prisoner hopes to see her son again. This yearning turns into terrifying images of death. The tortured prisoner has renewed hope when the gaoler, calling him »brother«, leaves the gates to the prison unlocked. This thrilling anticipation of freedom at seeing the sky turns into the worst of all tortures: The camaraderie and promise of freedom are revealed to be a deception of the Grand Inquisitor, who, disguised as the gaoler, dashes the primeval hope of the condemned man before he is led to the place of execution. Dallapiccola explores the inner life of an individual who hopes to defy fate and gain his freedom. The score’s exuberant lyricism based on the twelve-tone system transports bel canto into entirely new sonic landscapes.
»Il prigioniero«: Opera in one prologue and one act, Libretto by the composer based on texts by Philippe-Auguste Villiers de l’Isle-Adam and Charles de Coster, performed in Italian with German and English supertitles
Making-of »Oedipus Rex«/»Il prigioniero«
Part 1 – Production Concept by Elisabeth Stöppler
Part 2 – Costumes by Frank Lichtenberg
Part 3 – With the actress Catrin Striebeck
Part 4 – Lighting Design by Fabio Antoci
Part 5 – With Stephan Rügamer (Oedipus), Claudia Mahnke (Iokaste) and Lester Lynch (The Prisoner)