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© Ruth Walz / Onp

Berg Wozzeck

From 10 March TO 30 March 2022
Opéra Bastille - Paris
Program

Berg : Wozzeck

Cast
  • Conductor
    Susanna Mälkki
  • Director
    William Kentridge
  • Performers
    Wozzeck: Johan Reuter
    Marie: Eva-Maria Westbroek
    Tambourmajor: John Daszak
    Andres: Tansel Akzeybek
    Hauptmann: Gerhard Siegel
    Doktor: Falk Struckmann
    Der Narr: Heinz Göhrig
    Margret: Marie-Andrée Bouchard-Lesieur
    Erster Handwerksbursch: Mikhail Timoshenko
    Zweiter Handwerksbursch: Tobias Westman
Premium Category

Category Premium (valid on some dates): This category includes seats in Category + (Optima), a glass of champagne per person in private rooms and one programme per booking.

The Premium price includes a contribution (€150 per ticket) to support the friends of the Opera (AROP).

  • Venue Info
  • Seating Plan
  • Synopsis

Opéra Bastille - Paris Location Place de la Bastille - 75012 Paris France

  • Venue's Capacity: 2745

From its beginnings under Louis XIV to the present day, including the construction of the Palais Gamier under Napoleon III, the history of the Paris Opera has been marked by the wishes and whims of the French government. The decision to build a new opera on the Place de la Bastille is no exception, made by Frangois Mitterrand less than a year after being elected President. A competition was organized, and of the 750 projects presented, the one designed by the Uruguayan-Canadian architect Carl Ott won. The new building, whose large ground surface ostentatiously marks the site where the French Revolution broke out, was inaugurated during the bicentennial celebrations of that same Revolution in 1989.

 

From the Place de la Bastille, the building's glass facade, with its "aleatory" lighting designed by Yann Kersale, suggests the sober modernism of its interior, even more so because the interior uses the same construction materials as the exterior, symbolizing a desire to open out to the public. Once inside, one can discover the warmth of the light wood that adorns the large 2703-seat hall with its proscenium stage. But the building barely stops here, for one must imagine the enormous backstage that takes up 55 per cent of the edifice's total volume, the six underground stories of technical premises, the workshops that make and stock the mobile sets as well as the costumes, not to mention the Gounod Hall, that has a stage identical to the main one, used for rehearsals. Designed around a symmetrical axis that is symbolized by the sculpted tuning forks that decorate the public premises, the Bastille Opera is a formidable computerized machine for staging opera productions, employing the population of a veritable city-within-a-city.

 

The conductor Myung-Whun Chung faced the difficult task of starting up this machine. The audience discovered productions staged by Bob Wilson or Peter Sellars, which it did not always unanimously applaud. But today, in full possession of its impressive technical means, permitting the rotation of different productions, the Bastille Opera proposes the most diverse performances. Currently managed by Hugues Gall and his music director James Conlon, revivals, premieres and major productions now share the season's billing, at a pace that leaves the audience little respite.

Since 2014, Stépahne Lissner is the Director of the Paris Opera.

Opéra Bastille

The seating plan is given as an indication and has no contractual value.
The division of categories may differ depending on shows and dates.

Synopsis

Wozzeck

WOZZECK: AN ATONAL OPERA


Wozzeck is a relatively modern opera composed by Alban Berg between 1914 and 1922. It was premiered in 1925 at the Berlin State Opera.


The Austrian composer Berg based the opera on the play called Woyzeck written by Georg Buchner. This play was incomplete when Buchner died and Berg rearranged extracts from it to create an opera of 15 scenes set within 3 acts. The subject matter is harsh, handling the hardship and exploitation of the poor. The composition of the opera took so long as Berg was fighting for Germany in the First World War. It was performed regularly until the Nazis decided it was 'decadent art' and banned its performance. Berg's opera was first staged in Britain at the Royal Opera House in 1952.
It is the first and most famous opera to employ atonality as a music structure. The lack of key and atonal music gives a sense of madness and starkness to the production.

HISTORY

The story of the opera revolves around the central character and his common law wife, Marie. Tired of living in poverty she succumbs to the advances of a passing soldier. He discovers their affair and vows revenge upon them. Despite Marie realising her mistake and asking for forgiveness, he kills her in a fit of anger, leaving her body to be discovered by her son and the other village children.
Act 1:
The opera opens in the Captain's suite where he is being shaved by Wozzeck. The Captain berates him for leading an immoral life and for having an illegitimate child and he responds that poverty makes morality difficult. Later he and his friend Andres are collecting firewood at sunset when they are overcome by frightening visions. A military parade passes the window of Marie, his common law wife. He tells her of his visions and leaves without seeing their son which upsets and angers her. The Doctor who has been treating him, scolds him for not following his instructions but feels his 'experiment' has succeeded when he hears of the visions. The act ends with Marie admiring the drum-major and succumbing to his advances.

Act 2

Act 2 opens with Marie and her son preparing for bed; she is admiring the earrings which the drum-major has given her and tells her common law husband that she has found them. Not sure whether to believe her or not he gives her some money and departs, leaving Marie feeling guilty. Together Doctor and the Captain tell Wozzeck that Marie is being unfaithful to him. He confronts Marie and goes to hit her but she stops him by saying that even her father never hit her. Another way of getting his revenge comes to him. The act ends with Marie dancing with the drum-major and the drum-major trying to fight her husband.

Act 3

Marie has become distraught and guilty and wants to seek forgiveness so she walks in the woods with her husband. However, in a fit of anger he decides that if he can't have her, no one will and he stabs her. Later he tries to dance with their neighbour Margaret but seeing blood on his hands makes him realise what he has done. Under a blood red moon he wades into a lake and drowns. The following morning the opera ends when children, including Marie's son, find her body.

MAIN ROLES

Wozzeck: aide to the Captain, common law husband to Marie (baritone).
Marie: his common law wife (soprano).
Captain: (buffo tenor).
Doctor: (buffo bass).
Drum-major: Marie's lover (tenor).
Andres: their friend (lyric tenor).

Opéra Bastille

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