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Work of the week – Toshio Hosokawa: Erdbeben. Träume

On 1 July, Toshio Hosokawa’s new opera Erdbeben. Träume, commissioned by the Staatstheater Stuttgart, will receive its world premiere in a production by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito with Oper Stuttgart. This will be Jossi Wieler’s last production before Viktor Schoner takes over the management of the opera house next season.

Following Japan’s devastating Tohoku earthquake in 2011, Hosokawa has composed a series of works dedicated to the victims of the disaster, including his two most recent works for the stage: Stilles Meer and Futari Shizuka. In his new opera, Hosokawa has turned his focus to the future: a child whose parents were killed seeks a better understanding of where he came from, and so learns how to accept the present and come to terms with the past.

Toshio Hosokawa – Erdbeben. Träume: Questions of identity

Inspired by Heinrich von Kleist’s “Das Erdbeben von Chili” (1806), the libretto for Erdbeben. Träume was written by the Büchner prizewinning writer Marcel Beyer. Erdbeben. Träume tells the story of the young boy Philipp whose parents were murdered. After learning that he has been adopted, Philipp goes on a journey to find his real parents asking himself, ‘Where are my real parents?’ and ‘Who am I?’The story of his past then gradually unfolds in a series of flashbacks, as part of a dream sequence.

“The audience follows the aural and visual representation of the child’s existential voyage as he prepares to become an adult. Nevertheless, this journey is by no means without peril. Awaiting him are violent forces of nature (earthquakes and tsunamis), the terrifying unconscious mass violence hidden in the heart of the humans, and the ferocity of nature; on the other hand, there emerges the love story of his parents, the solidarity of mankind, and the grace of nature.” – Toshio Hosokawa

Following the world premiere on 1 July, five more performances of Erdbeben. Träume will follow on 6, 11, 13, 18 and 23 July at the Staatstheater Stuttgart.


photo: © Anna Viebrock