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Work of the Week – Ludger Vollmer: The Circle

Adapted from Dave Eggers’ 2013 bestselling novel The Circle, Ludger Vollmer’s new thought provoking opera re-tells the story of a powerful social media and technology company as it seeks to extend its influence further in peoples’ daily live. The Circle will receive its world premiere on 4 May at the Deutsche Nationaltheater in Weimar in a new production directed by Andrea Moses and conducted by Kirill Karabits.

Opera is central to Vollmer’s work who believes it can be used to touch all aspects of our lives. His operas Gegen die Wand and Lola rennt are based on films by Fatih Akin and Tom Tykwer respectively, while Border is an adaptation of Euripides and Schillers Räuber is based on Schiller’s Die Räuber. Vollmer careful choice of subject often explores current social issues by drawing connections with peoples’ lived experiences. The Circle similarly draws attention to the danger faced by a liberal society through the loss of privacy to the internet.

Opera has an ability to set up powerful emotional dimensions through music. The Opera The Circle illuminates Eggers’ plot and thus reflects a volatile social development. Is a liberal democracy diminishing the ability of its citizens to resist external rules? – Ludger Vollmer

Ludger Vollmer – The Circle: a worldwide bestseller on the operatic stage

The Circle follows the storyline of the novel closely, centering on the eponymous technology giant “The Circle” as it intrudes deeper into the private lives of its users. The protagonist Mae, begins as a low-level employee at the corporation before rising quickly through the hierarchy by committing herself to the system completely, revealing her entire life as well as that of her family and friends.

There will be nine performances of The Circle in Weimar. Sayaka Shiheshima is cast as the protagonist, Mae, and will be joined by Heike Porstein, Oleksandr Pushniak, Jörn Eichler, and Ray Chenez. On 8 June, a new staged production of Vollmer’s Border opens at Pfalztheater Kaiserslautern.



Photo: Deutsches Nationaltheater Weimar / Candy Welz