Jakob Lenz (opera)

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Jakob Lenz
Chamber opera by Wolfgang Rihm
Rihm Wolfgang Philharmonie koeln 0806 2007.jpg
The composer in 2007
Language German
Based on Lenz
by Georg Büchner
Premiere 8 March 1979 (1979-03-08)

Jakob Lenz is a one act chamber opera by Wolfgang Rihm, written 1977-78 after the novella Lenz by Georg Büchner in turn based on an incident in the life of the German poet Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz.

Büchner's extraordinary opening pages describing the mountain landscape and hinting at Lenz's inner state with the single sentence "he did not feel at all tired, only it sometimes annoyed him that he could not walk on his hands instead of his feet" are reduced to a stage direction, but the rest of the libretto roughly follows Büchner's outline.

Performance history[edit]

The first performance was given in Hamburg on 8 March 1979. There was an ENO/Hampstead Theatre co-production at the Hampstead Theatre in London in April 2012, given in celebration of the 60th birthday of the composer. It was directed by Sam Brown, and conducted by Alexander Ingram, with Andrew Shore in the leading role.[1][2]


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 8 March 1979[3]
(Conductor: Klauspeter Seibel)
Lenz baritone Richard Salter
Pastor Oberlin bass Ude Krekow
Kaufmann tenor Peter Haage
Chorus of six solo voices (2 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 basses)


  • 2 oboes, bass clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, 3 celli, harpsichord and percussion.


External links[edit]