Captain Nemo's Library

Johannes Kalitzke

Opera (2021)
Libretto by Julia Hochstenbach
based on the novel of the same name by Per Olov Enquist
Austrian premiere
in German

Commissioned co-production with Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele 
Supported by the The German Federal Cultural Foundation


approx. 1.5 hours (no intermission)


27 Juli 2022 - 8.00 p.m., Werkstattbühne

Performances & Tickets

Two little boys grow up in a village in Northern Sweden. They are childhood friends that could not be any more different: Johannes is a little ray of sunshine, His mother, however, is a cold, disreputable outsider. The first-person narrator, on the other hand, is very taciturn but his mother gets along well with the local community. When they boys turn six, the authorities decide that they were switched at birth.

Having been robbed of their family identity, they must live with each other’s birth mothers from now on. This cruel act engulfs them in misery and madness. Trapped in this unbearable situation the first-person narrator finds shelter in his very own fantasy world. He dives down to the library in Captain Nemo’s submarine, which is based on Jules Verne’s novel The Mysterious Isand.

The composer Johannes Kalitzke and the librettist Julia Hochstenbach stick closely to the book written by the Swedish novelist Per Olov Enquist. In their narration, they transform the fictional series of books into a refuge from pain and hopelessness. Literature becomes an anchor. In an artistic and creative space, the first-person narrator creates a new self that helps him cope with his suffering.

Stage director Christoph Werner, who is the artistic director of the Puppentheater Halle, and designer Angela Baumgart use puppets to capture the subtle game between reality and fantasy and explore how we all create our own realities and subjective perceptions.

Musical Director Johannes Kalitzke
Stage Director Christoph Werner
Stage Designer Angela Baumgart
Puppet Designer Louise Nowitzki
Video Designer Conny Klar
Dramaturge Christiane Plank-Baldauf
Sampler | Sound Designer Norbert Ommer 

Ensemble Modern

First-Person Narrator Iurii Iushkevich
Johannes Johanna Zimmer
Josefina | Alfild Noa Frenkel
Eva-Lisa Rinnat Moriah
Sven | Reverend Reuben Willcox
Puppeteers | Ines Heinrich-Frank, Franziska Rattay, Lars Frank, Nico Parisius

Additional information