Peter Nikolaus Kante, Elisabeth Selle, Statisterie | (c) Hans Jörg Michel
Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse
Ernst Toch
Opernhaus Düsseldorf
Wednesday, 11. December 2013
11:00 - 11:50 hours
/ Young Audience

Duration: about 50 minutes, no interval
18,00 €
For young audience from 6 years upwards
For young audience from 6 years upwards

Duration: about 50 minutes, no interval
The old King is very worried: his only son still has not chosen a bride, nobody seems to him good enough, short of a true Princess. But if the prince does not decide soon to marry and to have children, the dynasty is in danger. The court is still debating about how they can equip the Prince with a bride, when a girl turns up who claims to be of royal blood and on the run from her wicked stepmother. Suddenly the Prince has a change of face and is head over heels in love. But the courtiers are sceptical: what if this stranger is not a princess after all? To find the truth, the clever Nurse suggests subjecting her to the Pea Test – under a mountain of twenty mattresses and twenty eiderdowns provided for the tired girl’s repose she hides a pea. A genuine princess would surely feel the pea at once and complain. And lo and behold, the stranger cannot sleep and gives the whole household a piece of her mind. Everyone is delighted that at last they have found a partner fastidious enough for the taste of the Prince, and acclaim the discernment of his bride-to-be.

Invited to write a short opera for the German Chamber Music Festival in Baden-Baden in 1927, the Austrian composer Ernst Toch (1887–1964) was for the moment at a loss for a suitable libretto. It is said that the choice of a story of Hans Christian Andersen was made by pure chance when a book of Andersen’s tales happened to catch the eye of a friend of his, the sculptor Benno Elkan. In the co-operation of the two the fine irony of the libretto and the grotesquely expressionist characterization of the freaky figures were the foundation for one of the most amusing fairytale operas of the 20th century.

The imaginative staging by director Svenja Tiedt and her team already aroused the enthusiasm of thousands of children and adults alike with Frank Schwemmer’s “Robin Hood”, Montsalvatge’s “Puss in Boots” and Stravinsky’s “Nightingale” in Düsseldorf and Duisburg, and their staging of Ernst Toch’s opera is sure to make the same appeal to all age groups.
 
***
Ernst Toch
DIE PRINZESSIN AUF DER ERBSE
(The Princess on the Pea)

Musical tale in one act
Libretto by Benno Elkan after Hans Christian Andersen
 
In German with German surtitles
 

Musikalische Leitung Christoph Stöcker
Inszenierung Svenja Tiedt
Bühne und Kostüme Tatjana Ivschina
Licht Franz-Xaver Schaffer
Choreographie Amelie Jalowy
Dramaturgie Bernhard F. Loges
 
Der König Peter Nikolaus Kante
Die Königin Lisa Griffith
Der Prinz Cornel Frey
Der Kanzler Martin Busen
Der Minister Paul Stefan Onaga
Die Amme Jessica Stavros
Eine fremde Prinzessin Alma Sadé
Erzähler Guido Wachter
Orchester altstadtherbstorchester
 

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