© (c) Alfred Mayerhofer

Premiere of Dantons Tod on 24th March 2018

Gottfried von Einem’s Dantons Tod will celebrate its première in a new production by Josef Ernst Köpplinger at the Wiener Staatsoper on Saturday, 24th March 2018. To celebrate the 100th birthday of the composer, the work with which he achieved his international breakthrough at the Salzburg Festival in 1947 will return to the Wiener Staatsoper.

Von Einem’s adaptation of Büchner’s Revolution tragedy resulted in a work perfectly suited to the musical theatre and, following the advice of his teacher Boris Blacher, inextricably combined the musical and theatrical to ensure optimal musical conveyance of the drama to the audience.

Over the decades, no fewer than four of Gottfried von Einem’s operas as well as five ballets (including three opera and three ballet world premières) have appeared in the repertoire of Wiener Staatsoper. The first performance of Dantons Tod was in 1947 in the Theater an der Wien; a new production followed in the Wiener Staatsoper in 1967 which was shown last in 1972. From the 24th March 2018 the work will once again appear on the House’s programme precisely 46 years after the last performance on 24th March 1972.

The new production of Dantons Tod marks the State Opera debut of Susanna Mälkki. The Finnish conductor is First Guest Conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gulbenkian Orchestra as well as Principal Conductor of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra; was Musical Director of the Ensemble intercontemporain and most recently conducted orchestras including the San Francisco and Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Bavarian Rundfunkorchester and London Sinfonietta. As an opera conductor, she has appeared in Helsinki, Paris, Hamburg, at La Scala Milan and the New York Met.

The director is Josef Ernst Köpplinger – also making his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper. The Austrian pianist, singer and actor has been Intendant of the Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz in Munich since the season 2012/2013. Earlier positions during his career took him to such places as the state theatre in Regensburg, as Intendant to the Musicalfestival Schloss Prugg, as Theatre Director to the St. Gallen Theatre (2004-2007) and as Intendant to the Stadttheater Klagenfurt (2007-2012). To date he has directed operas, operettas and musicals in Switzerland, France, England, America and Japan, amongst others.

The production thus depicts the French Revolution – the director alludes towards the excess of violence caused by Revolution and deals with approaches to death through the eyes of different characters. He also deals with the question of the ever-turning wheel powered by the rise of the upper classes and the ever-widening gap between the poor and the resulting revolution, before the cycle begins once again.

Dantons Tod marksSet designer Rainer Sinell’s first piece of work for the Wiener Staatsoper. To date, has worked on projects in Germany (including several joint projects with Josef Ernst Köpplinger for the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich, in Austria (including the Stadttheater Klagenfurt, Graz Opera and the Burgtheater in Vienna), in Prague, Bordeaux and Washington.

Costume design is by the multi-award-winning Austrian costume designer Alfred Mayerhofer who has been working on operas, musical theatre and theatre pieces, cinema and TV films and advertising campaigns since 1992. He created the costumes for a new production of Lohengrin at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2005 as well as for off ballet in 2000 (premièred under the title Statoacusticus in the Vienna Odeon in cooperation with the association “Ich bin O.K.”).

The choreography is by Ricarda Regina Ludigkeit, also giving her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper. Her career as a choreographer, director and dance teacher has taken her to Austria, Germany and Switzerland, as well as others. She has already worked together with Josef Ernst Köpplinger numerous times, including in Strasbourg, Graz, Klagenfurt and at the Gärtnerplatztheater.

The Singers

All the singers in the première will perform in Dantons Tod for the first time at the Wiener Staatsoper:

The title role will be sung by the internationally renowned baritone Wolfang Koch who gave his debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2008 as Fritz Kothner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and has since performed as Hans Sachs (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Barak (Die Frau ohne Schatten), Telramund (Lohengrin) and Jochanaan (Salome).

Further roles will be sung by members of the ensemble:

Herbert Lippert – known to the State Opera Audience for many years in numerous roles will sing Danton’s ally Camille Desmoulins.

Jörg Schneider, whose most recent successes at the Wiener Staatsoper include Tamino in Die Zauberflöte and Maler in the recent première Lulu, will sing the role of Hérault de Séchelles.

The Robespierre will be sung by Thomas Ebenstein, who has sung numerous roles at the Wiener Staatsoper in the last season, including Marquis (première of Der Spieler) and Schreiber (Chowanschtschina).

Desmoulin’s wife Lucile is Olga Bezsmertna, who recently performed once again as Tatjana (Eugen Onegin) and Contessa d’Almaviva (Le nozze di Figaro) at the Wiener Staatsoper.

Further roles will be sung by Ayk Martirossian as St. Just, Clemens Unterreiner as Herman, KS Wolfgang Bankl as Simon, Wolfram Igor Derntl as Junger Mensch/Erster Henker, Marcus Pelz as Zweiter Henker, Alexandra Yangel (replacing Miriam Albano) as Julie, Ildikó Raimondi as Dame und Zoryana Kushpler as Weib.

Live broadcast of the new production

The premiere of Dantons Tod on Saturday, 24th March will be broadcast live on Radio Ö1 (+ EBU) and live and on demand for +72 hours via WIENER STAATSOPER live at home


Dantons Tod | Gottfried von Einem
Premiere: 24. März 2018
Reprisen: 27., 31. März 2018 03., 06., 09. April 2018
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