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World Premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Revised Babylon in Berlin

Mar. 01, 2019

World Premiere of Jörg Widmann’s Revised <em>Babylon</em> in Berlin

On March 11, Staatsoper Unter den Linden presents the world premiere of the revised version of Jörg Widmann’s opera Babylon. The production, running through March 24 in Berlin, is directed by Andreas Kreigenberg and conducted by Christopher Ward. Jörg Widmann and librettist Peter Sloterdijk create a new interpretation of the myth of Babylon in their opera. Two figures represent contrasting principles: Inanna representing an exaltation of sensuality and the figure of the Soul signifying a child-like Platonic love. The composer notes:

“I would claim that the sounds of this city are not so very different from the sounds of our time: the co-existence and overlapping of such highly different cultures, peoples, and religions also creates a wild and fascinating simultaneity of things high and low, oscillating between an impassioned sacred tone and the sphere of triviality.”

Following the world premiere of Babylon in 2012, Widmann undertook revisions to the work, reducing the strings and adding a glass harmonica to the orchestra. He intensified the dramatic action through carefully considered cuts and additions and has given the characters greater depth through the creation of new arias. 

Listen to Jörg's Widmann's first Violin Concerto composed in 2007 here:

(Violin Concerto/Jörg Widmann/Bamberger Symphoniker/Jonathan Nott, conductor/
Alina Pogostkina, violin)

To learn more about Jörg Widmann, visit

Jörg Widmann
Babylon (2011-12/rev. 2018)
Opera in Seven Scenes
Libretto by Peter Sloterdijk (Ger.)
2 high S, 1 dramatic Mz, 2 Ten, 1 CT, 1 Bar, 1 BBar, 2B, 1 boy soprano, 1 speaker
4(4 pic,, 4.bfl).4(2.oboe d'amore,, 4.heckelphon).4(2.Ebcl, 3.bcl, 4.cbcl).4(3, 4.cbsn)-4(4 Naturhr.).4.4(3, 4. btbn or cbtbn).1-timp.4perc-2hp.cel.akk.pno·org-str 
On Stage: 7 Schofars.4tpt.; later, 1 solo tpt.Live Electronics ad lib.