Music Theatre | 2021

Das fliegende Klassenzimmer

Deutsche Oper am Rhein

Theatre Duisburg
Premiere: 14.5.2023
Other performances: 16.05, 18.05, 26.05, 27.05, 4.06, 5.06.2023

Opernhaus Düsseldorf
New performances: 22.10, 29.10, 10.11, 13.11, 16.11, 17.11. 2023

Libretto, Friederike Karig
Inszenierung, Ilaria Lanzino
Bühne und Kostüme, Emine Güner
Licht, Stephan Krimpert
Video, Andreas Etter/Fabio Stoll
Chorleitung, Patrick Francis Chestnut
Dramaturgie, Anna Grundmeier

Franka, Chorong Kim
Matilda, Hagar Sharvit
Uli, Valerie Eickhoff
Johnny,  David Fischer
Martin, Sander de Jong
Justus, Roman Hoza
Nichtraucher, Torben Jürgens

Duisburger Philharmoniker
Dirigent, Patrick Francis Chestnut
The students of the Johann-Sigismund Gymnasium are preparing a drama called The Flying Classroom written by one of them, Johnny. During the last four days of rehearsing, there are struggles within the group of the students of the Gymnasium and between them and the ones of the Realschule. At the beginning, then, the ideal school described by the students in their theater project contrasts with their violent daily life. Afterwards, the The flying class takes progressively the priority and influences the reality. In the end, the idealized school and the real one seem to overlap.
All the characters stay always on stage, together with the choir, representing the ensemble of the other students. The musicians on stage are also part of the students rehearsing the theatre piece. Everybody is in action and continuously gets into new conflicts, like in a sort of agitated mega-kaleidoscope, always turning. Progressively, then, each character seems to find the ideal position and balance and participates to the creation of a beautiful and intense fresco about friendship.

The global musical structure is based on a very fast andamento, with improvvisi happening and accelerating rhythmical patterns, like in an ancient popular dance bringing all the people together to panic or ecstasy. The composition is an attempt to see the plot from the perspective of the five young boys, facing their solitude and the difficult life of the boarding school, and dragged on by a series of complicated events.
The choir represents the other boys, the mass of hyper-active students living and studying in the college. They observe, comment and react, condemning, shouting, laughing, like a little public within the opera, an invited group of spectators looking at the surprising show conjured by the five protagonists.
The two adult characters, Justus and Nichtraucher, represent the reflexive and experienced  observers, both including different reflections by Erich Kästner. They act following another andamento and their vocal interventions are meditative and operatic.
The theater piece project is a moment of dream and suspension of the real life of the boys. As theater in the theater, it is the Mise en abyme and the more refined mirror of the special life’s experience of the five boys. The music, through elaborations from popular and old musical fragments, shows the need of the students to escape reality, their search of ideals, their dream to fly in other times, together with their futuristic imagination of a sci-fi new world.
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Opera in 12 scenes for soli, vocal ensemble, choir and orchestra (2020-2021)
Libretto by Friederike Karig after Erich Kästner
Commission: Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg
First performance: 14.05.2023, Deutsche Oper am Rhein Düsseldorf-Duisburg
Patrick Francis Chestnut, conductor
Ilaria Lanzino, direction
Emine Güner, set and costumes
Franka, Chorong Kim
Matilda, Kimberley Boettger-Soller
Uli, Valerie Eickhoff
Johnny, David Fischer
Martin, Sander de Jong
Justus, Roman Hoza
Nichtraucher, Torben Jürgens
Orchester Duisburger Philharmoniker
Published by Casa Ricordi, Milano
Duration: ca. 90 m