To the lighthouse

Zesses Seglias

Chamber opera in three parts
Libretto by Ernst Marianne Binder after the novel by Virginia Woolf
Sung in English with German subtitles
World premiere

16 August 2017 – 8 pm, Werkstattbühne
1½ hours (no interval)
To the lighthouse

A young boy says he wants to travel by boat to the lighthouse. "Yes, of course," his mother responds, "if it's fine tomorrow". But father cuts them short by saying, "It won't be fine". The boy wishes there was an axe handy so he could kill his father on the spot.

It's with these antithetical emotions that Virginia Woolf's novel To the Lighthouse begins. In just a few words it sets out an apparently irresoluble conflict: Mrs. Ramsay believes in the power of imagination, which can also admit the impossible, while her husband – a philosopher – strives to inculcate a rigorous insistence on facts in his children and the people around him. His attitude inspires in six-year-old James, one of eight children, genuine hatred for his father. Thoughts and feelings, unarticulated and unutterable – inner voices like these form the core of the novel. Music creates the space in which what is unsayable can resonate. These possibilities fascinate the Greek composer Zesses Seglias, and together with the stage director and author Ernst Marianne Binder he has written an opera based on To the Lighthouse. The theatre space will be designed by Danish artist Jakob Kolding; his installations in recent years have increasingly been scenically conceived and this is the first time he has done a theatrical stage design. An open window on the creative process has been offered at a series of insight sessions organised by the Opera Workshop at Kunsthaus Bregenz and starting in May 2015, and now the finished opera will receive its world premiere.

Opera Workshop in association with Kunsthaus Bregenz


with Olivier Tambosi (stage director), Zesses Seglias (composer) and Jakob Kolding (set designer)
45 minutes before the performances starts (free admission)


Mrs. Ramsay Christie Finn
Mr. Ramsay Jean-Marc Salzmann
Lily Briscoe Sophia Burgos
James Ramsay Alexander York
James Ramsay (Kind): Matthew Richardson
Augustus Carmichael Adrian Clarke
Charles Tansley Taylan Reinhard
William Bankes Sébastien Soulès
Mrs. McNab Dalia Schaechter

Music director Claire Levacher
Stage director Olivier Tambosi
Set designer Jakob Kolding
Costume designer Vibeke Andersen
Lighting designer Stefan Pfeistlinger
Dramaturg Olaf A. Schmitt

Vorarlberg Symphony Orchestra

Additional information