Opera by Georg Friedrich Haas with text by Händl Klaus (2013) LAMENTO D’ARIANNA (1624) Claudio Monteverdi

Premiere at 23. May 2022

Georg Friedrich Haas’s chamber opera begins as many operas end – Matthias is dying, with his beloved Thomas by his deathbed. The piece begins, highly stylised, with the faltering breath of the dying man. Only after his death does the music start. It is entangled with a plot that portrays the processes that now follow in the hospital – doctors tend to the dead man, two nurses wash him lovingly, a funeral director explains formalities, Thomas keeps vigil at the deathbed, plagued by memories of missed opportunities. As the opera ends, the dead man appears to come back to life – a miracle or a hallucination by the lover now alone, who cannot fathom the death?

At the core of Haas’s music is Thomas’s pain at being left behind. Haas sensitively illuminates and deepens the specific text by Händl Klaus on many levels. The audience, the listeners, sit with Haas’s protagonist Thomas at the deathbed of his beloved Matthias and must also say goodbye.

Haas’s intensive musical theatre look at the themes of love and death is expanded on in this performance by the perspectives of another, no less radical composer – Claudio Monteverdi revolutionised musical language more than 400 years ago. He too was occupied with the themes of love and death in works that touch us deeply still today. In the Bayerische Staatsoper version, Thomas is interwoven with Monteverdi’s madrigal, Lamento d’Arianna – a symbolisation of grief and the pain of parting in the face of death.