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  • © 2017, Realgestalt

Heliane’s Miracle

Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897 – 1957)

Opera in three acts
Libretto by Hans Müller-Einigen, based on Hans Kaltneker's „Die Heilige“
First performed on 7th October 1927 at the Hamburgischen Staatsoper
Premiered at the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 18th March 2018

In German with German and English surtitles

3 hrs 30 mins / 1 interval

Pre-performance lecture (in German): 45 minutes prior to each performance

Cast

Conductor

Marc Albrecht

Stage direction

Christof Loy

Set design

Johannes Leiacker

Costume design

Barbara Drosihn

Light design

Olaf Winter

Choir Conductor

Jeremy Bines

Dramaturge

Dorothea Hartmann

Dramaturge

Thomas Jonigk

Heliane

Sara Jakubiak

The ruler, her husband

Josef Wagner

The stranger

Brian Jagde

The messenger

Okka von der Damerau

The doorman

Derek Welton

The blind judge

Burkhard Ulrich

The young man

Gideon Poppe

The six judges

Andrew Dickinson

The six judges

Dean Murphy

The six judges

Andrew Harris

The six judges

Clemens Bieber

The six judges

Philipp Jekal

The six judges

Stephen Bronk

2 seraphic voices

Sandra Hamaoui

2 seraphic voices

Ronnita Miller

The Concert Programme

Erich Wolfgang Korngold spoke of this work as his “masterpiece”. HELIANE’S MIRACLE bears all the hallmarks of Korngold’s musical theatre - and goes one step further in scale, with a huge score and orchestra, intoxicating pathos and exquisitely expressive harmonies that play with polytonality - resulting in a gripping and sensuous drama. The world premiere in Hamburg in 1927 was a triumph, with more than a dozen houses booking the latest work by Korngold, at the time the second most performed composer of opera after Richard Strauss. In 1928 the work was presented at the Städtische Oper Berlin, with Bruno Walter directing, but here, as at other venues, the reception was cool, due in part to intrigues, in part to the charge that his Late Romantic score was behind the times. With the Jewish Korngold prevented by the Nazis from presenting his works to the public, HELIANE’S MIRACLE vanished from the repertoire, never to return. This is a timeless fairy tale portraying a cold ruler incapable of loving anyone, his wife Heliane, devoted to a Dionysian stranger, and a people waiting for a redemptory miracle to occur.

A precise psychological analysis of a work’s protagonists is what interests director Christof Loy, who is returning to the Deutsche Oper Berlin after stints here presenting JENUFA, FALSTAFF and EDWARD II. And it falls to Marc Albrecht, for many years a close collaborator with the opera house, to waken Korngold’s grand and opulent music from decades of slumber.