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Lady Macbeth von Mzensk

on June 12, 2023
This is the page for the performance on June 12, 2023.
Music Dmitri Schostakowitsch

Cast 12.06.2023

Conductor Alexander Soddy
Production Matthias Hartmann
Set design Volker Hintermeier
Costume Design Su Bühler
Choreography Teresa Rotemberg
Boris Ismailow Günther Groissböck
Sinowi Ismailow Andrei Popov
Katerina Ismailowa Elena Mikhailenko
Sergej Dmitry Golovnin
Axinja Evgeniya Sotnikova
Sonjetka Maria Barakova
Zwangsarbeiterin Jenni Hietala Jenni Hietala
der Schäbige Thomas Ebenstein
Verwalter Hans Peter Kammerer
Hausknecht Marcus Pelz
Pope Evgeny Solodovnikov
Polizeichef Attila Mokus
Polizist Hans Peter Kammerer
Lehrer Carlos Osuna
Wächter Marcus Pelz
Alter Zwangsarbeiter Dan Paul Dumitrescu
Geist des Boris Timofejewitsch Günther Groissböck


Synopsis: It tells the story of the unhappy Katerina, who is married to the rich merchant Zinovi and suffers from his unkindness, but also from the tyranny and lewdness of her father-in-law Boris. She falls in love with the labourer Sergei, whose brutality she is aware of, and nevertheless engages in an affair. When her father-in-law discovers it, he has to die at the hands of the lovers - as does Katerina's husband Zinovi. The murders are discovered, the perpetrators convicted. But while Katerina is attached to Sergei, he cheats on her with fellow prisoner Sonjetka, heralding a tragic end.


The young Katerina Ismailowa, from a poor background is unhappily married to the rich provincial merchant, Sinowi. After 5 years, the marriage is still childless, and Katerina suffers from a lack of affection of her husband. The daily accusations and innuendoes from her tyrannical father-in-law Boris, who supervises the family, also set the young lady off. Through the hiring of the servant Sergej, the daily nagging is abruptly interrupted. Katerina is warned of Sergej, and even has to witness him taking part in a collective rape, and still unresistingly falls under his spell. 

The fact that Sinowi is away from home for long periods of time, allows Sergej and Katerina countless undisturbed nights of love. One night however, the two are surprised by Boris, who then furiously whips Sergej publicly. In view of this cruelty, Katerina decides to kill Boris, and serves him a plate of mushrooms laced with rat poison, which he eats with great relish. Shortly thereafter, Boris dies. 

The two lovers Katerina and Sergej are surprised one night by the returning Sinowi. They unceremoniously kill him and hide his body in the cellar. A while later, Katerina and Sergej decide to marry and organize a big wedding party. In the meantime, a drunken builder finds the body of Sinowi and alarms the police, who interrupt the wedding party and arrest Katerina and Sergej.

Despite Sergej and Katerina’s punishment of forced labor, Katarina’s love for Sergej remains strong. Sergej however attempts to win the favor of Sonjetka, a pretty fellow prisoner. When Katerina notices that Sergej is chasing her, she kills herself and her rival.


The premiere in 1934 was a triumphant success: Shostakovich's ironic, pointed, but also moving music made both the audience and the press rejoice: the unvarnished, harsh story of oppression, devotion and murder was impossible to resist. But Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk also represents Shostakovich's ordeal, who fell out of favor with Stalin because of this opera: it did not correspond to the political-aesthetic guidelines.