Jakob Lenz | Rihm

Chamber Opera

Chamber opera by Wolfgang Rihm (1952)
Based on Georg Büchner’s Lenz (1835)
Libretto Michael Fröhling
Premiere of the opera 1979, Hamburg
Premiere of this production 2016, Dialogues Festival, Salzburg
Revival 2019, Festival Le Balcon, Athénée Théâtre Louis-Jouvet, Paris

« Büchner’s Lenz is a description of the conditions within a process of collapse, moments of destruction already occurred but not yet accepted, evident in the points of contact with the environment. And it was those points of contact which Michael Fröhling attempted to reconstruct onstage.

The musical consequence : an hour of extreme chamber music. Although Lenz acts on many levels – or tries to or believes he is – he has no room to manoeuvre. That is why he is also tightly interwoven in his sonic surroundings; the voices which only he hears are just as much himself as the two men with whom he foregathers. They evoke responses which he deeply desires.

In Jakob Lenz, the human aspects often switch to magical ones, since the realism of a self-suasive, unhinged soul takes on sur- real traits – or we simply cannot understand that otherwise except as not being real. A character like Jakob Lenz on the stage is complex due to the fact alone that it harbours many stages within itself, and music must represent those constantly present stages. »

Wolfgang Rihm, 1979.
Source : Universal Edition.

Musical direction Maxime Pascal
Staging and video design Nieto
Sound projection Florent Derex
Set design Myrtille Debièvre


Jakob Lenz Vincent Vantyghem (Baritone)
Kaufmann Michael Smallwood (Tenor)
Oberlin Damien Pass (Bass-baritone)

Parveen Savart (soprano)
Léa Trommenschlager (soprano)
Elise Dabrowski (mezzo-soprano)
Emmanuelle Monier (mezzo-soprano)
Florent Baffi (basse)
Andriy Gnatiuk (basse)

Three children (The Spirits) Bérénice Arru, Gaspard Cornu, Georges Geyer.

Oboe Guillaume Gerbaud 
Oboe, english horn Paul Atlan
Clarinet, bass clarinet Ghislain Roffat
Bassoon, Doublebassoon Julien Abbes
Trumpet, piccolo trumpet Henri Deléger
Trombone Jean-Charles Dupuis
Harpsichord Alain Muller
Percussions Benoît Maurin
Celli Askar IshangaliyevElisa HuteauMyrtille Hetzel