Il prigioniero & Das Gehege

16/01/2018 - 27/01/2018

‘Hope: the final torture...’ Ever since a jailer called him ‘brother’, a prisoner has hope that he will be freed. The door of his cell, however, opens to reveal a long corridor that leads to the stake – the illusion of freedom thus becomes, for him, the ultimate torture. At La Monnaie, the conductor Franck Ollu and the stage director Andrea Breth recently gave us an acclaimed version of Jakob Lenz by Wolfgang Rihm, a composer with whom they now collaborate again. Alongside the 20th century masterpiece Il prigioniero by Luigi Dallapiccola, they give us Das Gehege by Rihm, in which a woman frees an eagle from its cage before killing it. The flamboyant lyricism of Dallapiccola is followed by the poetic twilight world of Rihm. The two works form a diptych that explores the ambivalent relationship between the victim and the executioner as well as general questions about personal freedom and the possible dead ends in our so-called free world.


Il prigioniero and Das Gehege: two stories about violence, captivity, and ambivalent relations between victims and jailers. When a warden calls him ‘brother’, the prisoner in Il prigioniero hopes he will be freed. The door of his cell is left ajar, but opens onto a long corridor that leads straight to the stake. The illusion of freedom turns out to be one last form of torture before his execution. In Das Gehege [‘The Cage’], a woman frees an eagle from its cage at night. The bird has an erotic fascination for the woman, who fantasises about being lacerated by his talons. Once the raptor is free, however, he turns out to be old and feeble and she immediately decides to shoot him.

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