19 | 02 | 18


30 | 08 | 2015
2 h 10 min



Frederic Rzewski

The Triumph of Death //

Opera based on »The Investigation« by Peter Weiss

Frederic Rzewski’s »The Triumph of Death« is counted among the innovative pieces of contemporary music theatre. On the basis of Peter Weiss’ documentary theatre collage »The Investigation«, Rzewski formulates a profound criticism of the social principles that enabled the »death machinery« of Auschwitz. Peter Weiss wrote his play under the influence of the first Auschwitz trials: Twenty former officials and commanders of the largest Nazi annihilation camp were indicted of aiding and abetting mass murder before a Frankfurt jury court from 1963 to 1965.

In his composition for voices and a string quartet, Rzewski combines different stylistic means which have so far been considered incompatible. Well-known melodies by Johann Strauß and country music are combined with sounds produced with additional objects. Rzewski’s performative musical idiom facilitates direct access to the historical statements and descriptions, making his work a politically-charged piece to this very day, 50 years after the premiere of »The Investigation« and 70 years after the end of the Second World War.

Together, the Deutsche Nationaltheater and the Kunstfest Weimar have organised the first performance in Germany of »The Triumph of Death«. In addition to singers from the DNT opera ensemble, the performance also involves musicians from the Staatskapelle Weimar.