Programme Guide

Luigi Dallapiccola created a compelling thriller for the opera stage with his one-act work Il prigioniero. Based on Auguste de Villiers de L’Isle-Adam’s story La torture par l’espérance (The torture by hope), the opera is about a political prisoner who manages to escape. However, his joy at his unexpected freedom is short-lived, as he is recaptured and condemned to death: hope as the highest degree of torture. Through this work, which ends in disillusionment, Dallapiccola made a powerful appeal to engage in reality for the freedom and humanity denied on stage – concepts such as oppression, imprisonment and truth had increasingly moved to the centre of his compositional work since the political developments in fascist Italy in the 1930s.

The Berliner Philharmoniker and Kirill Petrenko present Dallapiccola’s masterpiece in a concert performance with an internationally renowned ensemble of soloists. The programme also includes music by two other representatives of the post-war avant-garde: Iannis Xenakis’s orchestral piece Empreintes, and Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s Symphony in One Movement, which explores emotional extremes, and was written after the Second World War “in a time of collapse that was probably like no other” (Zimmermann).

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