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  • Apocalypse Now: Antikrist at the Deutsche Oper


Apocalypse Now: Antikrist at the Deutsche Oper

This rare opera is augmented by a mixed reality set design and filled with images of apocalypse, catastrophe and plague

Image for Apocalypse Now: Antikrist at the Deutsche Oper

Photo: Rued Langgaard, Det Kongeliege Bibliotek

Based on the last book of the New Testament, catastrophes, plagues and famines herald the end of the world and culminate in God’s final judgment in this rarely-staged opera by Danish composer Rued Langgaard.

The romantically charged score is reminiscent of Wagner and Strauss and, under the musical direction of Stephan Zilias, a suitably grand Wagnerian orchestra will pack the kind of forte-fortissimo punches you’d expect of the former.

Composed in the 1920s, Langgaard’s only opera is inspired by the capitalist excesses and hedonism of that tumultuous decade. The personifications of the Antichrist represent the seductive and fateful vices of mankind, featuring the characters of “The Mouth that Speaks Great Words”, “The Lie”, “The Great Whore”, “Hatred” and “Discontent.”

Far ahead of its time, Antikrist was rejected several times by Copenhagen theatres and was not performed until 1999, almost half a century after the composer’s death. Now it’s the turn of wunderkind director and Berlin native Ersan Mondtag to haul this enigmatic tale into the 21st century.

For his opera directing debut, Mondtag has created a “mixed- reality” set design inspired by Christopher Nolan’s film Inception and also co-designed the costumes. While the dancers will be dressed in spectacular garments, the opera singers and chorus will appear naked in painted body suits.

Antikrist was the first new production the Deutsche Oper had to put on hold because of the lockdown. A year and a half later, the apocalyptic opera will be more topical than ever.