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Chaya Czernowin's Zaïde / Adama in New Version at Freiburg Stadttheater

Jun. 01, 2017

Chaya Czernowin's <em>Zaïde / Adama</em> in New Version at Freiburg Stadttheater

Following the acclaimed critical reception from last month's premiere of Chaya Czernowin’s bold new opera Infinite now, which Alex Ross hailed as “harrowing and darkly majestic”, the Freiburg Stadttheater debuts a new version of Czernowin’s second opera Zaïde / Adama on June 17, conducted by Daniel Carter and directed by Ludger Engels. The piece was originally premiered in 2006 at the Salzburg Festival, and returns to the stage in this new version with the addition of a choir.

Adama (Hebrew for earth) is Czernowin’s reaction to Mozart’s Zaïde, functioning as an independent musical sound space that regards the subject of Mozart’s opera from a contemporary perspective. Zaïde describes the conflict between the Orient and Occident civilizations through the lens of a European couple who are in love and are held captive in an alien Oriental country; in Adama, the situation as described by Czernowin is intensified, touching on the question of freedom and imprisonment from a different dimension. The lovers themselves speak two languages and encounter each other as foreigners, as a man from Palestine and woman from Israel. Performances run from June 17 to July 1. (photo right from Freiburg Stadttheater)

Infinite now continues its run at the Nationaltheater Mannheim through June 18. The opera merges two seemingly unrelated narratives—Luk Perceval's 2014 play FRONT, based on Erich Maria Remarque's novel All Quiet on the Western Front, and the novella Homecoming by Chinese author Can Xue—into a deeply affecting theatre work that touches on our existence and issues of hope and survival in the present moment. As Czernowin describes, the work is "an experience"—"a state: in the midst of a morass, in the presence of an imminent disaster. What is going on, how long, when will it end – all is unclear."

Watch a trailer from Nationaltheater Mannheim, below:

For more information on Chaya Czernowin, visit

Chaya Czernowin
Zaïde / Adama (2004-2005, rev. 2016)
new version with choir by Chaya Czernowin and Ludger Engels
Zaïde instrumentation:
Adama instrumentation: 1(pic.bfl).0.2(ecl.bcl).0-0.0.1(btbn).0-2perc-str(

Infinite now (2015-2016)
opera in 6 acts
libretto (En, Fr, Chi, Flem) by Luk Perceval and Chaya Czernowin
after texts by Erich Maria Remarque, Can Xue and soldier’s letters from the First World War
for soprano, mezzo-soprano, alto, countertenor, baritone, bass and actors
Instrumental soloists: gtr(amp).egtr-2vc
Orchestra: 3(pic).3(ca).3(bcl).2(cbsn)-