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Gurre-Lieder Arnold Schönberg (1874-1951)

Tickets on sale
19 Sep 12:00


Duration 2:00

By Arnold Schönberg

Language German

Surtitles Dutch and English

Rarely has a theatrical world premiere been so warmly received as Dutch National Opera’s production of Arnold Schönberg’s late-Romantic Gurre-Lieder in 2014. The production fulfilled a fervent wish of principal conductor Marc Albrecht.

In short

It was Albrecht’s idea to present Gurre-Lieder (a work written for the concert hall) as an opera. “The wonderful story and the inner drama lend themselves to it, and the enormous number of instruments fits in the Dutch National Opera & Ballet orchestra pit”.

  • The story

    The music of Gurre-Lieder is timeless, and so is its subject: a passionate, yet forbidden love. The story harks back to a Scandinavian saga, situated in Gurre. King Waldemar loves the girl Tove, who is a mysterious character, connected to both the world of people and the world of birds. The queen is jealous and has Tove killed. The Wood Dove tells of this in a moving song and the king accuses God of cruelty. A nightmarish scene follows, of a fierce army killed in battle, which rampages like a horde of ghosts. The radiant dawn at the end of Gurre-Lieder shows the insignificance of human destiny compared to the power of nature.

    Pierre Audi

    Director of Dutch National Opera, resident director

    PIERRE AUDI (stage director) became director of De Nederlandse Opera in 1988. As of 1 January 2013 he has become Director of Dutch National Opera. In the twenty-five years of his leadership of Dutch National Opera and its forerunner, De Nederlandse Opera, he is credited with giving the Netherlands its own opera tradition. His combined vision and audacity have earned him respect, both in the Netherlands and far beyond its borders, as both the Director of Dutch National Opera and as a stage director.

    Marc Albrecht

    Chief Conductor

    Marc Albrecht, Chief Conductor of The Dutch National Opera and The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|The Netherlands Chamber Orchestra is known not only for his interpretations of works by Wagner and Richard Strauss, but also for his affinity for contemporary music.

    Team, Cast and Chorus

    Musical director 
    Marc Albrecht
    Stage director 
    Pierre Audi
    Sets and costumes 
    Christof Hetzer
    Jean Kalman
    Martin Eidenberger
    Klaus Bertisch
    Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
    Chorus of Dutch National Opera
    Kammerchor des ChorForum Essen
    Rehearsal director/Overall choral direction  
    Ching-Lien Wu
    Rehearsal director  
    Alexander Eberle
    Burkhard Fritz
    Catherine Naglestad
    Anna Larsson
    Markus Marquardt
    Klaus Narr 
    Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke
    Sunnyi Melles


    There is a huge cast for Gurre-Lieder. The choruses and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra are expanded to include more than 200 people. The Chorus of Dutch National Opera is joined by the KammerChor des ChorForum Essen. Principal conductor Marc Albrecht and opera director Pierre Audi combined forces for the first time in Gurre-Lieder. Since then, they have also worked together on Lohengrin and Parsifal. Once again, Burkhard Fritz sings Waldemar, Emily Magee sings Tove and Anna Larsson sings the Wood Dove.

    Christof Hetzer designs both sets and costumes, and works in leading European theatres with directors like Hans Neuenfels, Jan Philipp Gloger, David Hermann and Stefan Herheim. He received the Hein Heckroth Award for set design. With Dutch National Opera, he has designed the sets and costumes for Il turco in Italia, Gurre-Lieder and the Anniversary Concert, and the costumes for Parsifal.


    Along with the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has been the regular orchestra partner of Dutch National Opera since 1985, and is internationally regarded as one of the best opera orchestras. Each season, the two orchestras perform the majority of the opera productions in Dutch National Opera & Ballet. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra gives a varied programme of concerts in the Concertgebouw and also performs at other major concert halls and festivals in the Netherlands and abroad. Marc Albrecht is the principal conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra and of Dutch National Opera. In recent seasons, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra has had great success with audiences and international press alike, with productions including Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, Der Rosenkavalier, Il Trovatore and Hänsel und Gretel. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Marc Albrecht, received an Edison for their recording of the DNO production Der Schatzgräber, in December 2014.

      Mon 13 Feb NRC Handelsblad, 2014

      ‘The oratorio Gurre-Lieder as an ‘opera’, which brought the house down at its world premiere, is an event whose significance can hardly be over-estimated’.

      Mon 13 Feb de Volkskrant, 2014

      ‘In his primal staging of Gurre-Lieder, director Pierre Audi has found a wonderful natural form to span this changing musical idiom’.