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19 Nov 2010

Die tote Stadt by Kasper Holten at the Finnish National Opera

Production team includes Es Devlin and Katrina Lindsay, Mikko Franck conducts


The psychological dream-world opera Die tote Stadt (The dead city) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold will be performed for the first time at the Finnish National Opera in a new production premiering on 26 November.

The production team is headed by two Nordic artists, Kasper Holten (b. 1973), Artistic Director of the Royal Danish Opera, and Mikko Franck (b. 1979), Artistic Director of the FNO. Franck names Die tote Stadt as his favourite opera of all time.

The sets for Die tote Stadt were designed by Es Devlin, who is widely involved in theatre, dance, opera and film worldwide and has created concert designs and staging for pop superstars such as Kanye West, Lady Gaga, the Pet Shop Boys, Take That, Jamie Cullum and Shakira. The costumes for Die tote Stadt were designed by Katrina Lindsay, the lighting by Wolfgang Goebbel and the choreography by Signe Fabricius.

Finnish soprano Camilla Nylund will make a guest appearance in the leading role of Marietta, while the leading male role of Paul will be taken by Klaus Florian Vogt and Mati Turi. Frank and Fritz will be played by Markus Eiche and Birgitta by Sari Nordqvist.

Die tote Stadt tells the story of Paul, who is pathologically devoted to the memory of Marie, his dead wife. He becomes attached to a dancer named Marietta who closely resembles Marie. Passion and guilt mingle in Paul's mind, and part of the action takes place in his dream. Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897-1957) was a child prodigy who wrote his first opera at the age of 16. Die tote Stadt, written during the First World War, became Korngold's greatest hit, although he found his widest audiences after moving to Hollywood and becoming an important figure in the development of film music.