Zemlinksy's The Dwarf

Tobias Kratzer (stage director), Donald Runnicles (conductor) — With Elena Tsallagova (Donna Clara), Emily Magee (Ghita), David Butt Philip (voice of The Dwarf), Mick Morris Mehnert (The Dwarf), Philipp Jekal (Don Estoban)...

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Tobias Kratzer — Stage director

Rainer Sellmaier — Set designer, costume designer

Adelle Eslinger-Runnicles — Alma Schindler

Evgeny Nikiforov — Alexander von Zemlinsky

Elena Tsallagova — Donna Clara

Emily Magee — Ghita

Mick Morris Mehnert — The Dwarf

David Butt Philip — The Dwarf's voice

Philipp Jekal — Don Estoban

Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Donald Runnicles — Music director

Program notes

Take a seat at the prestigious Deutsche Oper Berlin for a moving presentation of Alexander von Zemlinsky's Der Zwerg(The Dwarf)! Adapted from a fairy tale by Oscar Wilde, "The Birthday of the Infanta," the composer's rendition takes on autobiographical undertones, alluding metaphorically to Zemlinsky's love affair with the young Alma Schindler—later Alma Mahler, the wife of composer Gustav. As a prelude to the one-act opera, Adelle Eslinger-Runnicles and Evgeny Nikiforov take on the roles of Alexander and Alma, set to Schoenberg's Begleitmusik zu einer Lichtspielszene (Accompanying Music to a Film Scene).

Music director of the Deutsche Oper Berlin since 2007 (with a recent contract extension through 2027), Donald Runnicles breathes life into the legend with a wave of his baton. The amorous plight of the title character leads to despair when he sees, for the first time, his reflection in a mirror. The merriment of the festivities and the grandeur of the setting offer a cruel contrast with the internal conflict of the Dwarf, brilliantly performed by Mick Morris Mehnert and sung by tenor David Butt Philip. The dazzling Elena Tsallagova more than holds her own as the infanta (Spanish royal daughter), joined by Emily Magee and Philipp Jekal in Tobias Kratzer's superb staging.

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