Alexander Moosbrugger

Text by the composer based on Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili
in the translation of Thomas Reiser and Joscelyn Godwin
World premiere

Opernatelier - a collaboration with the Kunsthaus Bregenz


19 August 2021 - 8.00 p.m., Werkstattbühne


approx. 1.5 hours

Performances & Tickets

A man falls into "sweet slumber" and finds himself in a mysterious world of euphonious voices, erotic temptation, hungry animals and marvellous plants. In his dreams, he enters weird and wonderful gardens and labyrinthine buildings. He witnesses astonishing performances such as a chess ballet and tempestuous winds. Finally, he meets the woman he has long yearned for: has Poliphilo found his Polia?

For his first opera, Berlin-based composer Alexander Moosbrugger, born in the Bregenzerwald, chose one of the most fascinating and enigmatic books in world literature: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, thought to have been written by the Dominican Francesco Colonna and first printed in Venice in the year 1499. The work plays with several languages; the protagonist's dreams take the reader inside colossal buildings and parks that are also portrayed in woodcut illustrations inside the book. This is one of the reasons why Umberto Eco described it as possibly the most beautiful book in the world. For artist Flaka Haliti the woodcuts are an important source of inspiration for her design of the performance space in the Werkstattbühne. She is collaborating with the composer on a piece of  music theatre that makes the sound and the up to nine metre long pipes of the organ into a protagonist alongside the singers and a string quartet. As Poliphilo is drawn in among the trees in the forest, so audience members will be drawn into softly breathing sounds and winds by the organ pipes, which they will be able to experience physically.

In the Werkstattbühne, in association with the internationally highly regarded organ building firm Rieger-Orgelbau, a piece of music theatre is being created that will transform us, too, into wanderers betwixt dream and reality.

Polia Hanna Herfurtner
Poliphilo Hagen Matzeit
Mezzosopran Juliane Dennert
Alt Barbara Ostertag
Bariton Luciano Lodi
Narrators Anna Clementi, Jürgen Sarkiss

Performance space Flaka Haliti
Musical director | Piano Michael Wendeberg
Scenic arrangement Leonora Scheib
Concept organ Alexander Moosbrugger, Wendelin Eberle
Organ building Rieger-Orgelbau GmbH
Sound director Thomas Hummel, Maurice Oeser, SWR Experimentalstudio
Dramaturge Olaf A. Schmitt

Quatuor Diotima
Schola Heidelberg


Additional information