Franz Lehár’s Giuditta, sometimes called a “comic opera”, sometimes a “musical comedy” or an “operetta”, celebrates its premiere at the Bayerische Staatsoper on 18 December 2021. Renowned for his beautifully capricious theatre performances, director Christoph Marthaler stages the piece and interweaves the composition with orchestra pieces and songs by Lehár’s contemporaries. The work therefore transforms into a new Giuditta in the version by Christoph Marthaler and Malte Ubenauf and relates a love story playing out amidst the trials, tribulations and turmoil of the 1930s. Welcome to the Giuditta.Files!

Here you will find the Giuditta film collages from Alexander Kluge.

OBSERVATIONS: GIUDITTA - Behind the scenes

In the latest edition of the OBSERVATIONS series, we provide a behind-the-scenes look at the new production of Giuditta. Director Christoph Marthaler and his dramaturge Malte Ubenauf sit in the "desert" and reflect on the gutting of operettas. In addition, conductor Titus Engel gives an overview of the musical material used, placing Franz Lehár's original composition in the context of its time with works by Viktor Ullmann or Arnold Schönberg. And Ödön von Horváth will probably also play a role.



„Freunde, das Leben ist lebenswert!“

Unter dem Motto #LEBENSWERT fragen wir unsere Künstler:innen, unsere Mitarbeiter:innen aber auch Sie, unser Publikum: Was ist für Sie besonders lebenswert? Die erheiternden, zum Teil nachdenklich stimmenden aber mit Sicherheit aufmunternden Ergebnisse finden Sie hier zusammengestellt. Die Ergebnisse dieser spannenden Umfrage teilen wir in den kommenden Tagen hier.

Giuditta by Franz Lehár is wonderfully oscillating musical theatre. It oscillates between genres, between opera, operetta and play, between sad, tragic, comic and absurd, between scenes in Southern Europe and North Africa, between magnificent orchestral sound and pop hits with piano accompaniment. I really look forward to this oscillation. And to boosting it a little bit more, with some unexpected inserted musical contrasts. Added to this is the fact that Giuditta contains an assertion, which I think one should repeat as often as possible to find out if and how it applies “Friends, life is worth living!” I think a sentence like this should be repeated up to 20 times. At least!

Christoph Marthaler on his new production of Franz Lehár’s Giuditta

So which genre is it then?

Operetta, opera, musical comedy or yes indeed comic opera? Lehár himself was only too well aware, “that Giuditta wouldn’t simply let itself be easily categorised in one of the ‘ushered-in’ genres”. Firstly, Giuditta’s conclusion is anything but cheerful. Lehár also flirted with the dramatic art of Giacomo Puccini, which he incorporated into his work. He didn’t believe Giuditta belonged in the operetta drawer. Its new genre is rather unclear. As if the confusion wasn’t enough, there is also an almost bewildering amount of settings – a town in southern Italy, a villa in Libya, a colonial nightclub in North Africa, and finally a bar in Italy. In the libretto Franz Lehár and his librettist referred to Giuditta as a “musical comedy” or “comic opera”, whereby in an interview Lehár qualified: “Well, you know, what’s in a name? Let’s say, dramatic operetta, lieder play or love play operetta, take your pick.” This will all be relevant for the Munich Giuditta in the version by Christoph Marthaler and Malte Ubenauf ... 

“Operetta” yourself if you can!

Scorned as light music, loved for its melodies – we give you the operetta. But why is the genre ridiculed so? We asked people who really should know about the veracity of common operetta prejudices.

Giuditta film collages

Munich author, filmmaker and artist Alexander Kluge has produced films, texts and images exclusively for the Giuditta programme – as an homage to the director, Christoph Marthaler. He begins here with the contemporary history of the Giuditta world premiere as a comic opera in 1934, and expands out into the past and future. “Recount the musical dramas beyond the conclusion of their last act”, runs the comprehensive title of a text dedicated to Marthaler. As the essence of Giuditta Kluge puts the themes of war and colonialism, love and the desert at the centre of its associations.  

The reality is ominous

Anna Viebrock, responsible for stage and costume, and Malte Ubenauf, production dramaturgist with Giuditta, sit at a table on the edge of the rehearsal stage. They are Christoph Marthaler’s constant artistic companions and are only too familiar with his modus operandi. Alexander Kluge, the programme’s author and artist, also takes a seat.
Dramaturgist Katharina Ortmann chats to them about the origins and content levels of the Munich Giuditta.

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By the way, on January 26, 2022 you can find the STREAM of the recording of the premiere of the play opera Giuditta at

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