Great Open Eyes

New opera on the topic of mourning and the loss of a child

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Project description

Based on Henrik Ibsen’s drama “Little Eyolf” (1894) and augmented by contemporary accounts of those who suffered a similar fate, the chamber opera “Great Open Eyes” by the opera start-up Civic Opera Creations addresses the subjects of mourning and the loss of a child. Staged in an intimate atmosphere, the interdisciplinary production combines innovative music theatre and new operatic elements to explore the feelings experienced individually and moments of mourning experienced in the company of others. Three singers, one child, two conductors and 36 musicians will interpret the avant-garde music of Manuel Zwerger and express the phases of mourning experienced by Mr and Mrs Allmber who have lost their son Eyolf in Ibsen’s play. The immersive spatial concept of the production aims to create a marked proximity between the audience, actors and musicians.

Initiated by Civic Opera Creations in Vienna and in cooperation with the Theater Münster and the Vienna Music Theatre Festival, “Great Open Eyes” will be individually produced in collaboration with local participants in Münster and Vienna. The development process will be discursive in nature; the producers of the piece will begin by speaking with afflicted parents, with whom they will establish contact through grief counsellors, bereavement groups and psychotherapists. In a second step, the stories and thoughts of the mourning parents will be artistically adapted for the performance and integrated into a shorter preliminary video and sound installation. Interested members of the public are invited to participate in this phase, which will include rehearsals and workshops on coping with the loss of a child. By actively seeking suitable (artistic) forms of expression, the production aims to remove some of the taboos surrounding this subject. At the public performance, the participants of all phases will have the chance to meet again and engage in dialogue in a space specially created for this purpose.

Artistic director: Carmen C. Kruse
Artists/project participants: Ulf Brauner, Susanne Brendel, Valentin Mattka, Leonora Scheib, Manuel Zwerger, Carolyn Amann, Civic Opera Creations, Theater Münster

World premiere and presentations: Theater Münster, Münster: 13 May – 21 Jun. 2023; Civic Opera Creations, Vienna: autumn 2023



Verein für Kunst, Kultur & Soziales
ZVR: 1792837722, Wien, Austria