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Work of the Week – Stefan Johannes Hanke: The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs

On 8 March, Cologne Opera will perform Johannes Hanke’s children’s opera, The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs. Written between 2011 and 2012 on commission from Staatsoper Hannover, Hanke’s opera has since been performed in Dresden Basel and Munich. This most recent production will be conducted by Rainer Mühlbach.

Dorothea Hartmann’s libretto for The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs is a modern retelling Grimm’s fairy tale by the same name. The whole opera lasts around an hour and supports the libretto with a mix of musical styles.

Stefan Johannes Hanke – The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs: making the impossible possible

The plot follows the Child of Fortune who, through self-confidence and courage, liberates a distant kingdom from an oppressive force against seemingly impossible odds. Along the way, the Child’s adventure involves a scary encounter with three robbers in a forest and a journey into hell to retrieve the Devil’s golden hairs.

[Hanke’s] new children’s opera contains many funny moments with great theatrical effects. The contemporary music is characterized by the natural treatment of musical styles (from aria cadences in a major key, going through dissonant steps to allusions to folk music), but above all, he highlights the libretto in a sensitive and effective way. – Jutta Rinas (Peiner Allgemeine Zeitung)

There will be multiple opportunities to see The Devil with the Three Golden Hairs at Cologne Opera, where the production runs until 18 April.