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Work of the Week – Wilhelm Killmayer: Yolimba oder Die Grenzen der Magie

On 26 October Wilhelm Killmayer’s Yolimba opens at the Theatre Münster in a new production directed by Ulrich Peters and conducted by Thorsten Schmid-Kapfenburg. Marielle Murphy and Gregor Dalal perform the principal roles of Yolimba and Moehringer.

Drawing on elements of musical comedy, operetta, pantomime and cabaret, Killmayer’s work flits liberally between styles, scenes and musical ideas, something which has allowed the work to remain free of associations with any particular genre.

Wilhelm Killmayer – Yolimba: Power of magic

The protagonist in the opera is Moehringer, an inventor who hates love. His hatred motivates him to create Yolimba, a creation that exists for the sole purpose of killing anyone who mentions the word ‘love’ but Moehringer’s apparently flawless plan is eventually foiled when Yolimba itself falls in love.

The work concludes with Moehringer’s demise as he is disposed of in a rubbish bin, a scene accompanied by the magical final piece “Great ode to the garbage disposal, the limits of magic and finale”.

In the comic genre, there is a style that has progressed to a limited extent, but by no means as explosive as that in the serious. My musical farce sees itself as an attempt to contribute to artificial entertainment theatre. – Wilhelm Killmayer

Following the first performance Yolimba will be performed six further times in Münster on 2, 8, 17, 28 November; 22 December; 8, and 24 January.


Photo: R_Yosha / Adobe Stock