It is striking that Ligeti used car horns and doorbells as instruments, while his works include titles such as Nonsense Madrigals and Hungarian Rock. Few composers have revealed such a pronounced sense of humour as Ligeti. He began his career by following in the footsteps of his Hungarian compatriot Béla Bartók, while exploring Hungarian folk music, before fleeing to Vienna and becoming a celebrated exponent of contemporary music. He experimented with electronic sounds, expanded the range of forms of vocal articulation and composed the iridescent musical sounds that Stanley Kubrick made famous in his film 2001: A Space Odyssey. As a composer he was inspired by a sense of mischief, while looking like an anti-bourgeois rebel who even today continues to surprise us with his unorthodox ideas. In the run-up to the Festival premiere of Ligeti’s Le Grand Macabre, which he called an “anti-anti-opera”, Ligeti’s Jukebox will provide a framing programme that will be as eclectic as his own output as a composer, allowing audiences to get to know one of the most unusual composers of the twentieth century.



György Ligeti (1923-2006), who fled to Austria in 1956 in the wake of the suppression of the Hungarian uprising, quickly became a star of the new music scene. After sensational orchestral works such as Atmosphères - world-famous thanks to Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odyssey - he created his only opera, Le Grand Macabre. The theme: the impending apocalypse in the fantasy realm of Breughelland. The inhabitants manage to outwit Death incarnate - he falls asleep in a drunken stupor. The end of the world does not come. But perhaps that is precisely the catastrophe of today: that everything continues as before ...?


„You can experience the music sensually, even if you don't understand its structure.“
- György Ligeti


On a date with Ligeti


Don't be alarmed if Maestro Ligeti himself wants to talk to you in the foyer. Ask him what you always wanted to know about contemporary opera!

Installation dates: 1 hour before the start of each performance and during the interval on 30.05. and 02.06. (Norma), 15.06. (Romeo and Juliet), 16.06. (La Cenerentola), 18.06. (La traviata)

Location: Foyer Nationaltheater/Balcony, in the left-hand gallery

Ligetis Juke-Box

Introduction to Le Grand Macabre


Munich is performing Ligeti's only opera for the first time? It's a point of honor that the composer himself will give the introduction in virtual form! Exceptionally, these events (one hour before the start of the performance, duration: approx. 20 minutes) take place in the Capriccio-Saal.

Dates: 28.06., 01.07., 04.07., 07.07.2024

Location: Capriccio Hall

Ligetis Juke-Box

Toccata à la Ligeti


Ligeti stole from Monteverdi and caricatured the famous brass fanfare to his opera Orfeo: in Ligeti's case, however, it is car horns. From the beginning of June, you will have the opportunity to try out Ligeti's horns for yourself in the stalls checkroom (in the left foyer area) and create your own soundscapes! Feel free to press the tube.

Dates: from the beginning of June 1 hour before the start of each performance

Location: Parquet wardrobe 

Ligetis Juke-Box

Rendezvous: Ligeti Meets Kafka at Kunstlabor 2


György Ligeti's musical range is enormous. He composed car horn fanfares and highly dramatic choral music, made metronomes swell into clusters and was adept at the most delicate piano music. At Stelldichein! at Kunstlabor 2 on Dachauer Straße, his wonderfully enigmatic chamber music meets bizarre and enigmatic texts by Franz Kafka and Daniil Charms. In a tour through the rooms of the Kunstlabor, the audience will encounter dance improvisations and a choreography to Ligeti's Three Pieces for Two Pianos, Kafka's and Charms' enigmatic and fascinating narrative miniatures as well as Ligeti's String Quartet No. 1 with the promising title “Métamorphoses nocturnes”. Members of the Bavarian State Orchestra will play, members of the Bayerisches Staatsballett will dance and Valentino Dalle Mura from the Residenztheater will read.

The public will also have the opportunity to visit the permanent exhibition in the art lab and the special exhibition by visual artist Dasha Minkina and to talk to participating artists afterwards. The Artist is Present!

Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 8 p.m., Kunstlabor 2, Dachauer Str. 90, 80335 Munich

Ligetis Juke-Box

Sehend hören

First to the museum, then to the opera!

In cooperation with the Bavarian State Painting Collections, the series sehend hören combines selected productions with a visit to the museum. The combination of stage and music, image and song gives the art form of opera its special power. In the museum, the specific emotional and interpretative approaches of current Munich productions are taken as an opportunity to encounter works of art. In a dialog, bridges are built between the arts and unifying and divisive aspects are made visible.

Dates: 25.06, 02.07, 05.07 

Location: Alte Pinakothek 

As part of four guided tours, Flemish Baroque painting expert Dr. Mirjam Neumeister will present the painting “The Land of Cockaigne” by Pieter Breughel the Elder in the Alte Pinakothek.



Opera in two acts (1978) | Premiere at June 28, 2024
Composer György Ligeti. Libretto by György Ligeti and Michael Meschke, based on the play La balade du Grand Macabre by Michel de Ghelderode.