Opera in one act [2019]
Moritz Eggert

M – A City searches for a Murderer

1h 45min (without intermission)
Fritz Lang’s famous crime thriller movie from 1931, in a score by multiple-award-winning pianist and composer Moritz Eggert in which language, noises and music combine to form an iridescent fabric of sound. At the heart of Barrie Kosky’s production is the dazzling figure of the murderer – played by the internationally successful Texan baritone Scott Hendricks – who is being chased by the city mob.
The city is up in arms! A serial murderer is on the loose. Several girls have already been found dead. Under great pressure and using all the means at their disposal, the police search for the culprit. And the city’s criminals are also keeping busy, as the increased police activities – which involve raids and house-to-house searches – is bad for business in every sense. And so the murderer, ultimately a victim of his own sick urges, is pursued, hunted and driven to madness by all the city’s thieves, burglars, whores, fences, beggars and con artists.
In a way that was virtually revolutionary at the time, Fritz Lang’s film – one of the first German talkies – questions the extent to which a murderer who is mentally ill can be considered to be criminally responsible. As he is hunted by people from all social classes, the culprit appears ever more as a victim. With its people, cars, buildings, smells and sounds, the city itself increasingly becomes a threatening antagonist in the mind of the hunted. Although we are never given the name of this big city, the film exudes the atmosphere of 1920 Berlin. Using children’s songs and poems written by the Berlin-born, German-Jewish author Walter Mehring, composer Moritz Eggert – whose oeuvre encompasses 20 stage works that are as idiosyncratic as they are diverse – creates a piece of musical theatre that represents a blend of radio play, Threepenny Opera and big-city symphony.
Libretto by Barrie Kosky and Ulrich Lenz, based on the film of the same name by Fritz Lang and using poems by Walter Mehring
A work commissioned by the Komische Oper Berlin, funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundatio


Stagedesign and Lighting
Costume design
Children's choir


M, the Murderer
Scott Hendricks
Alma Sadé, Tansel Akzeybek, Absolvent*innen und Studierende der Hochschule für Schauspielkunst »Ernst Busch« Berlin: Emilia Giertler, Noëlle Haesling, Laura Kiehne, Max Haase, Jan Eric Meier, Daniel Warland
Kinderchor und Kinderkomparserie der Komischen Oper Berlin, Sänger*innen des Opernstudios und des Vocalconsorts Berlin
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
Isabel Herzfeld, 07.05.2019
Warte nur ein Weilchen
»Hendricks … bewältigt expressive Melodik ebenso grandios wie Sprechgesang und Sprache: ›Immer spür ich, es ist einer hinter mir her. Das bin ich selber!‹ … Ein Hauch Wozzeck klingt an, wenn Hendrick seinem extrem gelagerten Gesang Glissandi und fast tierhaft klagende Falsett-Töne beifügt. Dies sind die Momente, in denen die Aufführung emotional anrührende Qualität erlangt. ... Eggerts Anspruch an ›moderne Oper‹ von direkter Zugänglichkeit erfüllt sich, indem er Bekanntes zu Neuem zusammensetzt, das eher im ›Banne des Unheimlichen‹ steht als sich harmonisch aufhellt. Dass es sich zur Freude des heftig applaudierenden Publikums unterhaltsam gibt, muss kein Mangel sein.«
See the full review