07:00 pm | Nationaltheater


Mieczysław Weinberg

Prices L , € 163 /142 /117 /91 /64 /- /15 /11 Munich Opera Festival, <30




Composer Mieczysław Weinberg. Libretto by Alexander W. Medvedev based on the eponymous autobiographical novel Pasażerka by Zofia Posmysz (1923-2022).

Opera in two acts (composed in 1968, concert world premiere in 2006)

Recommended for age 16 and older

Multilingual. With German and English supertitles. New Production.

Introductions take place one hour before the performance on the first tier in the anteroom to the royal box.
Limited seating available, duration approx. 20 min.


The plot spans two time periods: The frame story is set on a transatlantic ocean liner around 1959 / 60; flashbacks lead to the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp in 1943 / 44. In the new Munich production, the action is expanded at the beginning to include a third time level set in the present day.

Lisa is a passenger on a cruise ship. Together with her husband Walter, a German diplomat, she crosses the Atlantic. Both are happy to leave their homeland Germany and the past of the war years behind them. The emigration to South America should be the start of a time of new beginnings. Shortly after the journey begins, however, the marriage idyll ends: Lisa thinks she recognizes Marta, a former inmate of the Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp, in one of the passengers. Lisa was also in Auschwitz – as a member of the SS and a guard. Up to this point, Lisa has kept her crimes in the concentration camp a secret from Walter. The two get into an argument, but reconcile when a steward reassures them both that the mysterious woman Lisa thought she recognized as Marta is British, not Polish. Nevertheless, Lisa is increasingly overtaken by memories: memories of the head warden and the other SS men; of the inmates of the camp with their stories of suffering and their hopes; but most of all of Marta herself. The two share a complex history of dependence and humiliation. What happened between them catches up with Lisa. A confrontation with her past becomes unavoidable.

Lisa‘s experience oscillates between the events on board and her memories of the death camp: the Auschwitz camp commandant wants Tadeusz, a famous musician interned there, to play his favorite waltz for him. During the concert preparations, Tadeusz meets his fiancée Marta again for the first time. Lisa grants them a forbidden moment of togetherness and demands gratitude for her courtesies. She proposes to organize further rendezvous and thus wants to become a kind of protégée of Marta and Tadeusz, who are to become completely submissive to her. Tadeusz insists on his autonomy and self-determination – at the risk of not seeing Marta again. Meanwhile, the murder continues: the camp inmates confront the Auschwitz extermination machine with moments of mutual empathy, but are unable to escape death. The brutality and perfidiousness of the camp are brought to Lisa‘s full con-sciousness. The steward has to recant his information: the mysterious passenger is Polish after all. She could be Marta. An evening dance on board overlaps with the concert in the concentration camp: Tadeusz commits an act of resistance in front of the camp commandant. Instead of the requested waltz, he begins to play Johann Sebastian Bach‘s Chaconne. Tadeusz is murdered. Marta addresses the afterworld: "When your voices have disappeared one day, then we will all perish." Lisa is not granted redemption.


  • Bayerisches Staatsorchester
  • Chorus of the Bayerische Staatsoper