Schwestern im Geiste

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Schwestern im Geiste
Music Thomas Zaufke
Lyrics Peter Lund
Productions 2014 Neuköllner Oper Berlin (Germany)

Schwestern im Geiste ("Sisters in Mind") is a musical written in German language by Peter Lund (lyrics), with music by Thomas Zaufke and choreography by Neva Howard. The musical was co-produced by the University of Arts Berlin and the Neukölln Opera. The issue of emancipation is told from the perspective of three young women in contemporary Berlin on the one hand and by three pastors daughters who live during the Victorian era in England on the other. It's a try of undertaking a musical journey.


The musical parallels the restricted lives of the Bronte girls with those of three women of today.[1] The 18 -year-old Berlin pupils Milly and Aydin are close to graduating from high school. More the two young women, however, do not seem to have in common: Milly tries to enjoy life to the fullest, and the visit of techno parties, the use of designer drugs and noncommittal sex are expression of her personal freedom and her seemingly self-determined life. The possibilities that would give her the degree she is ignoring. Aydin, however, feared her high school not being able to quit, cause a marriage with her cousin from Bursa is arranged, but she does not even know him. While Aydin would like to decide for herselve about her live, she doesn't know exactly if not perhaps her father's attempts to help her, are more likely to find a good man than to seek such on their own. The two very different settings of the two students provoce repeatedly violent polemics and criticism of the way of life of each other; conversations her teacher Lotte Birkner does not tolerate in the classroom, because she is annoyed of the feminismdebates. She tries to focus the interest of the pupils on the lesson: the literary work of the three Brontë sisters.

The novels and letters these in England during the Victorian era living pastor daughters Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë leave, make them to pioneers of emancipation. Cut off from the rest of the world's they write about the scopes, which the specified role of women in civil society has and about their visions of how it could be better. To be accepted by publishers, the Brontë sisters have to give themselves male pseudonyms. After its release the books are hotly debated of the British public, because of the progressive representation of women's fates, and also their own brother Branwell, who tried himself as a writer as well, is shocked when he recognizes the ambitious attempts of his sisters.

Reading the Brontë works reveals the pupils and their teacher that they have the same discourse, like in the middle of the 19th century in Victorian England, the mastermind of bourgeois society haunted : What the Brontë sisters have left in their novels and letters, is quite sudden surprisingly contemporary,[2] and they identify themselves increasingly with the sisters. The young women of today and here and the three dead writers become Sisters in Mind".

The expert of the history of the Brontës knows how their lives ends: They died young, but left world literature that must be seen as a milestone of emancipation. Addicted to opium and alcohol, and full of despair about his own lack of genius the brother dies first of tuberculosis. Shortly thereafter Emily follows and the second-youngest sister Anne a year later also. After the death of all of her siblings Charlotte Brontë gives up the utopia of freedom and self-determination and marries the staid curate Arthur Nicholls, who urges her to stop writing. Even in today's Berlin, in terms of emancipation the story ends rather with a set of knowledge gains than with a „happy ending".

World premiere[edit]

Schwestern im Geiste was specifically written for graduates of the Universität der Künste (University of Arts) by the author and director Peter Lund who has worked here as a professor. The world premiere was the result of a longstanding cooperation between the Universität der Künste and Neuköllner Oper Berlin instead, and it took place there on March 13, 2014 in the Neukölln Opera, Berlin. The musical is subtitled by the author itself as a musical journey through time.


Ensembles and productions[edit]

Performance in Berlin (Berlin-Cast 2014)[edit]

13. März bis 25. April 2014[3]


  • Conducted by: Hans-Peter Kirchberg / Tobias Bartholmeß
  • Choreography: Neva Howard
  • Director: Peter Lund
  • Stage: Ulrike Reinhard
  • Costumes: Anna Hostert



  • Katja Reinbold (flute)
  • Christian Vogel / Max Teich (clarinet)
  • Max Nauta (bass)
  • Christin Dross / Sibylle Strobel (violin)
  • Anja-Susann Hammer (violoncello)


External links[edit]