Hindemith's first major opera Cardillac (1926) takes its material from Das Fraulein von Scuderi by E.T.A. Hoffmann. A modern metropolis is plagued by mysterious crimes – unsolved murders have the people terrified and the authorities resort to drastic measures. It is against this backdrop that the story of the jeweller Cardillac unfolds. He cannot abandon his art and becomes a murderer.