“Die tote Stadt is about love, renunciation, death, and the pain of longing. Words are not enough to describe these feelings – that’s why you need opera.”
– Kasper Holten, Director
Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) is the story of Paul, who worships the memory of his dead wife but finds himself attracted to Marietta, who resembles her. Is he able to let go of his past?
Tickets sold out for the first round of performances, but this season provides five new opportunities to experience Die tote Stadt and its world-class cast.
Recommended for children over the age of 12.
– Helsingin Sanomat
The gushing music by Erich Korngold, who later gained fame as a cinema composer, is 20th century opera at its best. The story takes place between dreams and reality, blurring the boundaries between the two. The relentlessly romantic music, which Korngold composed at just 22 years of age, is a kaleidoscope of the most beautiful elements of opera. Thanks to the breathtaking sets, this production directed by Kasper Holten is also one of the most visually striking performances of all time at the Finnish National Opera.
After the death of Marie, his wife, Paul has settled down in Bruges and turned his home into a shrine. He guards all the mementos of his wife in reliquaries. Paul confesses he has met a woman who resembles Marie. He feels like she’s come back to life in her form.
The woman arrives. She is Marietta, a dancer in a travelling theatre troupe. She bears a dazzling resemblance to Marie, and Paul can’t help being attracted to her. Marietta invites Paul to see her performance.
Once alone, Paul speaks to his deceased wife. They had promised to love each other forever, and Paul assures Marie that he wouldn’t take interest in Marietta if she didn’t resemble his wife.
Paul has a strange dream. Marietta and her troupe approach him in a boat along a channel. Marietta is dancing, performing the role of a woman who’s come back from the dead. Paul feels guilty about desiring her and interrupts the performance. He tells Marietta that he only finds her attractive because she reminds him of Marie. Marietta, however, seduces him, and they hurry to Paul’s home together.
Marietta wakes up in Paul’s bed and faces the dead Marie. She asks her to leave them alone, claiming that she loves Paul. Marietta fights Marie, desperate to have Paul all for herself. Paul defends Marie and ends up killing Marietta.
All of a sudden Paul snaps awake: it’s all been a dream. The dream has helped him understand that he must let go of Marie and begin to live again. He decides to leave the shrine and Bruges behind and carry on with his life.
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