"Cardillac" by Paul Hindemith

Feb 25, 2018 -- Posted by : Marian

A series of mysterious murders is agitating the people of Paris. For a long time, the murderer remains unidentified. There is only one element that links the crimes and constitutes an ominous clue: all victims had bought a piece of jewellery from Cardillac, the best goldsmith in town, shortly before they were killed! But when the bodies are discovered, the precious works of art are nowhere to be found…

Paul Hindemith’s first full-length opera premiered at the Semperoper in Dresden in 1926. The composer and his librettist Ferdinand Lion based their opera on E. T. A. Hoffmann’s crime novella “Mademoiselle de Scudéri”, which used historic figures and was included in the author’s collection “The Serapion Brethren” around 1820. Hoffmann’s novella was also the inspiration for the name of the so-called Cardillac syndrome in psychology. It describes the pathological inability of artists to part with their works, i.e. with their creations into which they have invested so much of their personality and artistic expression. Rumour has it that the character of Cardillac was modelled on the legendary artist, sculptor and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini of 16thcentury Italy.

Paul Hindemith’s (1895–1963) “Cardillac” of 1926 is considered one of the main works of New Objectivity. The composer uses structural musical elements such as aria, duet, ensemble, canon, fugue and variation to recall 18th century traditions. As one of the groundbreakers of Modernist music, however, he also creates completely new interpretations of word-sound relations in a sober and objective artistic language – almost resembling crime fiction.

Amélie Niermeyer, a much-sought after director who has for instance worked at the Residenztheater, the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and the Theater an der Wien, has staged several much-acclaimed opera productions at the Salzburg State Theatre, from “Stormy Interlude” and “Wozzeck” to “Rigoletto”. Musical director Robin Davis, the State Theatre’s new Principal Conductor, previously held the positions of conductor and assistant to the general music director at the Oldenburgisches Staatstheater and of principal conductor and principal répétiteur at the Theater Lüneburg.


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