Hans Werner Henze

The Bassarids

Musical drama in one act
2 h 30 min, no intermission 
18:00 - 20:30
19:00 - 21:30
18:00 - 20:30
19:00 - 21:30
19:00 - 21:30
18:00 - 20:30
19:00 - 21:30
A blood-soaked tragedy about political demagoguery and the seduction of the masses. Hans Werner Henze’s The Bassarids tells the tale of the primordial human conflict between instinct and reason, between passionate excess and rational control. Following their success with Schönberg's Moses and Aron, Vladimir Jurowski and Barrie Kosky now take on a work of equal monumentality and archaism.
Livestream of the premiere
Sun, 13. Oct 2019, 18:00 CET
Young Pentheus has ascended to the throne of Thebes. Yet a stranger begins to undermine the king’s authority. In honor of the God Dionysus, he leads the people to intoxicating revelries devoted to pleasure and lust. More and more people join him, including Pentheus’ own mother Agaue. The king tries in vain to fight the power of instinct with reason. Finally, he wants to get his own impression and, disguising himself as a woman, joins the mass. In the excesses of a nightly orgy, he is brutally killed by his own mother who mistakes him for a wild animal. The next morning, she realizes she is holding her son’s head in her arms. The stranger reveals himself to be Dionysus and demands absolute, unconditional worship. One of the most important post-war German composers, Henze employed a gigantic orchestral machinery to set this timeless material to music. Taking structural orientation from the symphonic form, the score juxtaposes in four movements two opposing musical spheres representing Dionysus and Pentheus. In Barry Kosky’s production, the orchestra becomes the scene of battle for the antagonistic principles, breaking the physical boundaries of the orchestra pit and pressing onto the stage, where it becomes both witness and accomplice in the events unfolding.
Musical drama in one act by
Wystan Hugh Auden and Chester Kallman [1966]
Based on the tragedy The Bacchae by Euripides
Fri., 26. June 2020, 19:00


Stage design and costume design
Katrin Lea Tag
Franck Evin


Pentheus, König von Theben
Agave, Tochter des Cadmus und Pentheus’ Mutter
Autonoe, ihre Schwester
Tiresias, ein alter blinder Seher
Captain of the royal guard
Beroe, Amme der Semele und des Pentheus
Azzurra Adinolfi, Alessandra Bizzarri, Damian Czarnecki, Michael Fernandez, Paul Gerritsen, Claudia Greco, Christoph Jonas, Csaba Nagy, Sara Pamploni, Lorenzo Soragni
Chorsolisten Komischen Oper Berlin
Vocalconsort Berlin
Es spielt das Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin.

Sponsored by Dr. Marshall E. Kavesh und Martin Laiblin