Der Protagonist, op. 15

Opera in one act.
Libretto by Georg Kaiser

Performance Information
Principal Productions

Drawing of set design, Dresden, 1926.


Based on Georg Kaiser's play. A troupe of traveling English actors in Shakespeare's time rehearses a comic pantomime. Their leader, the Protagonist, meets with his sister, who fearfully informs him that she has taken a lover. To her surprise, he is not offended; she says she will bring her lover to meet him. Then word comes that a bishop will be among the spectators, thus a comedy will be inappropriate. The Protagonist directs his troupe to rehearse the same pantomime but with a tragic twist; he will play a deceived husband. As they rehearse, his sister returns with her lover. The Protagonist is so caught up in the play that he stabs her to death, then requests that he not be arrested until after the performance, because he is playing his best role.

Performance Information

English title: The Protagonist
Cast: The Protagonist (dramatic tenor), Catherine, his sister (soprano), The Young Lord (baritone), Major-domo (tenor), Innkeeper (bass), 3 actors (alto, baritone, bass), eight musicians of the duke
Orchestra: 2 ob, 2 bass cl; 3 hn, 3 tbn; timp, perc; strings; stage orchestra - 2 fl, 2 cl, 2 bn, 2 tpt.
Duration: 75 minutes
Authorized Translations:
English -- Lionel Salter; John Eaton
Italian -- Marcello Cortis

Principal productions

Capriccio 60 086 Robert Wörle,
Amanda Halgrimson, 
Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin,
John Mauceri, cond.

Scene for mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass
and wind instruments from the opera Der Protagonist.

Performance Information

Orchestra: 2 fl, 2 cl, 2 bn, 2 tpt.
Duration: 10 minutes
First performance (as a concert piece): September 12, 1975, Berlin, Berliner Festwochen, London Sinfonietta, David Atherton, cond.

LP DG 2740-153
Polydor 429 333-2. 
DG 459 442-2
DG 463 529-2
Mary Thomas, mezzo, Ian Partridge, tenor
Benjamin Luxon, baritone, Michael Rippon, bass
The London Sinfonietta
David Atherton, cond.