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Kurt Weill

Der Protagonist, op. 15

Translated titleThe Protagonist
SubtitleOpera in one act
Text AuthorGeorg Kaiser
Instrumentation2 ob, 2 bass cl; 3 hn, 3 tbn; timp, perc; strings; stage orchestra - 2 fl, 2 cl, 2 bn, 2 tpt


Authorized translations

English: Lionel Salter; Jonathan Eaton


Based on Georg Kaiser's play. A troupe of traveling English actors in Shakespeare's time rehearses a comic pantomime. Their leader, the Protagonist, meets with his sister, who fearfully informs him that she has taken a lover. To her surprise, he is not offended; she says she will bring her lover to meet him. Then word comes that a bishop will be among the spectators; thus, a comedy will be inappropriate. The Protagonist directs his troupe to rehearse the same pantomime but with a tragic twist; he will play a deceived husband. As they rehearse, his sister returns with her lover. The Protagonist is so caught up in the play that he stabs her to death, then requests that he not be arrested until after the performance, because he is playing his best role.


The Protagonist (dramatic tenor), Catherine, his sister (soprano), The Young Lord (baritone), Major-domo (tenor), Innkeeper (bass), 3 actors (alto, baritone, bass), eight musicians of the duke

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