Jakob Lenz

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm’s chamber opera is based on the life story of German poet Jakob Lenz. Director Caroline Petrick brings the opera back to life.

Wolfgang Rihm’s chamber opera is based on the life story of German poet Jakob Lenz (1751-1792). Lenz was one of the most important playwriters of the early romantic movement, and a figure cloaked in myth. He tried and failed to begin an affair with Goethe’s lover Friederike Brion, gradually becoming obsessed with her, and with his literary clashes with Goethe himself. Lenz was an obsessive, a schizophrenic, who eventually found sanctuary at the home of Oberlin, a pastor, who nursed him back to health. Yet Lenz was unable to remain under his roof, eventually leaving Oberlin’s house to continue his search for harmony and elightenment.



Büchner’s novel Lenz describes the period spent at the Oberlins’ and concentrates particularly on Lenz’s state of mind. The novel became the inspiration for Rihm’s opera in 1977, in which Rihm and his librettist (Michael Fröling) sought to bring out the most controversial aspects of Lenz’s life and persona, expressing the poet’s inner torment through a fractured and expressive score.



Director Caroline Petrick’s production emphasizes the contemporary resonances in Lenz, both personal and within our society. Her interpretation highlights the irony that while we live closely surrounded by others, our inner turmoil and tragedy remain almost uncommunicable.

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A production of Muziektheater Transparant in coproduction with Centro de Experimentación Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), deSingel and Beethoven Academie.

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Musical Direction: Alejo PerezCostume Design: Marcelo Salvioli • Concept | Direction: Caroline PetrickCo-operation set: Minou Maguna • Oberlin: Marek Gastecki • Kaufmann: Lorenzo Caròla • Jakob Lenz: Hagen Matzeit • Ensemble choir and musicians: Teatro Colón • Lighting Design: Alejandro le Roux