Philippe Manoury

Die letzten Tage der Menschheit

Fri /
jun 25
Opernhaus / 6:00 p.m. – 10:30 p.m. / Uraufführung


An heir to the throne is murdered. Shortly afterwards, the world is in flames, the “last days of mankind” have begun. Over 100 years ago, the Austrian writer Karl Kraus documented the developments of the First World War and transformed them into a megalomaniac drama for a “Martian theatre”: “Theatre-goers of this world will not be able to withstand it”, he prophesied.
How the world can suddenly slide into war is something Karl Kraus tries to capture in the 220 scenes of his monumental tragedy, along with the interaction of propaganda, media, religion, education and corporate greed that fuels the global conflagration. Street conversations, newspaper reports, advertising posters, slogans and discussions are unleashed by Kraus as satirical bullets.
The French composer Philippe Manoury is known as a pioneer of electronic music. At the same time, in recent years he has enriched both orchestra and opera with innovative approaches. He and the director Nicolas Stemann are connected by their search for relevant, contemporary music theatre. In a two-part evening that moves from the banality of a conversation in a café to the apocalypse of the “last night”, they concentrate the “unholy plot” of Karl Kraus into two instalments.
What emerges is a “mega brain game” in which language and song, video and stage machinery, theatre and opera, symphonic orchestra and electronic sounds play an equally important role. Based loosely on Karl Kraus, the mega brain game tells the story of a permanent war which is further accelerated by the progress of communication media. That reality surpasses the most terrible flights of the imagination is something no-one knew better than Karl Kraus: “The most garish inventions are quotations.” “The last days” is also a moving tragedy of humanity.
Philippe Manoury is regarded as one of the most important French composers and as a researcher and innovator in the field of music with live electronics. He transforms the large orchestra in particular into a sound laboratory. Over the past few years Philippe Manoury has created a trilogy for the Gürzenich Orchestra: “Ring”, “In situ” and “Lab.Oratorium”. “Kein Licht” was created for the Ruhrtriennale 2017.

With the kind support of the Board of Trustees of Cologne Opera.


Musikalische Leitung N. N. / Inszenierung Nicolas Stemann / Bühne Katrin Nottrodt / Kostüme Katrin Wolfermann / Mediale Inszenierung IXA (Claudia Lehmann, Konrad Hempel) / Lichtdesign Rainer Casper / Klangregie & Live-Elektronik IRCAM / Chorleitung Rustam Samedov / Libretto & Dramaturgie Patrick Hahn / Dramaturgie Stephan Steinmetz /

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