Many consider Schiller's Wallenstein trilogy impossible to perform in Germany's city theatres - a dramatic work that lasts more than 9 hours and features over 80 roles. Performing all three dramas (Wallenstein's Camp, The Piccolomini, and The Death of Wallenstein) is a challenge for all concerned - for the performers as well as the producers and audiences.
Wallenstein has an obvious political significance. With the example of the hesitant general, Schiller demonstrates the danger of indecisive action. The dramaturgical interplay between all three pieces has been celebrated as a "marvellous work of composition". By allowing many of the scenes to take place simultaneously, the poet was able to portray a historical tableau in all its facets. The seemingly endless repetitions appear as fugue-like variations of the work's central theme - the rise and fall of those in power.
For Peter Stein, this classical piece is highly relevant to modern-day Europe. His main concern was "to reveal the intellectual and musical power of Schiller's rhetoric, while at the same time, revitalize a text which is solely political and touches on topics of pan-European importance. Which political system can guarantee peace and security in Europe? Which laws of political action never lose their validity, to what degree are new ideas old and old ideas new, what is historical necessity and individual failure, how can one influence the course of history, and is it even possible to change a generally accepted political and economic system?" (Peter Stein)
This extraordinary theatre event was co-produced by the Berliner Ensemble and Peter Stein's Wallenstein GmbH.
Director: Peter Stein
Actors: Klaus Maria Brandauer (Wallenstein), Peter Fitz (Octavio Piccolomini), Daniel Friedrich (Count Terzky), Rainer Philippi (Illo), Uli Pleßmann (Isolani), Jürgen Holtz (Buttler), Walter Schmidinger (Seni Baptista), Axel Werner (MacDonald), Michael Rothmann (Devroux), Roman Kaminski (Wrangel), Elke Petri (Duchess of Friedland), Elisabeth Rath (Countess Terzky), Alexander Fehling (Max Piccolomini), Friederike Becht (Thekla).
Wallenstein premiered on 19 May 2007 at the Preuss-Halle (former Kindl brewery on Werbellinstraße) in Berlin-Neukölln. Twenty-nine weekend performances (Saturdays and Sundays) were held until 8 July and - following the theatre break - on the weekends between 25 August and 23 September. All three parts were performed each day. The entire trilogy lasted approx. ten hours.