Joseph Haydn

Die Schöpfung

Sat /
oct 24
StaatenHaus Saal 2 / 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. / Premiere / 20 € - 140 €
Buy Tickets

Introduction 30 Minutes before the start of the performance in Saal 3.


There is probably no other work in the history of music that so joyfully praises the creation of something new, celebrates the surmounting of something old and past, and awakens curiosity for unimagined discoveries and experiences: with his groundbreaking oratorio “Die Schöpfung” (“The Creation”), Joseph Haydn created a song of praise for the creation of the world.
Joseph Haydn started work on “Die Schöpfung” after resigning from his position as Hofkapellmeister (court music director) to Prince Esterházy. During his stays in London, he attended performances of George Frideric Handel’s oratorios, where hundreds of singers thrilled audiences of all social classes with their choral singing in the language of the country. Fascinated by their radiance, Haydn resolved to compose something similar in his homeland. As inspiration, Haydn chose John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and Genesis from the Bible. By his own account, the composition was a profoundly religious experience for Haydn - deeply rooted in Catholicism as he was.
The public premiere was staged with great success on 19 March 1799 in the old Burgtheater in Vienna. The work caused a sensation like few others before it and it became the greatest triumph of Haydn’s career. In a period when the Napoleonic Wars were raging in Europe, the “Schöpfung” also stood for the vision of the new humanism, as a musical allegory for the Age of Enlightenment. At the same time, hardly any other work demonstrates so clearly how the world view has changed over the past 200 years.
Where does humanity stand today? Who decides on the categories of good and evil, on the role of men and women? Who writes the story and how does the story go on? The British director Melly Still, who is making her German debut at Oper Köln, casts a modern and critical eye on the creation myth and shifts the process of storytelling into the foreground in a way that is visually very powerful.

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


Musikalische Leitung Marc Minkowski / Inszenierung Melly Still / Ausstattung Merle Hensel / Video Pixellux Ltd. (Nina Dunn) / Licht Malcolm Rippeth / Chorleitung Rustam Samedov / Dramaturgie Svenja Gottsmann /

Further performances