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Kaspar Hauser


Composer: Alexis Pope (Berlin, London)
Director/Librettist: Anke Rauthmann (Berlin)
Conductor/ Music Director: Philip Headlam (London)
Designer: Num Stibbe (Lewes)
Producer: Matthias Janser (Barcelona)

Pianist: Kelvin Lim
Soprano: Stephanie Edwards
Counter Tenor: Ben Williamson
Tenor: Benjamin Regan
Baritone: David Milner-Pearce

On May 26, 1828, a teenage boy appeared in the streets of Nuremberg, Germany. He was taken to a police station, where he wrote down his name: Kaspar Hauser. For as long as he could remember, he had spent his life totally alone in a darkened hole, with only a straw bed to sleep on, a horse carved out of wood for a toy and each morning he would find bread and water next to his bed.

Kaspar Hauser aroused great interest and was made an object of international curiosity. Rumours arose that he was ‘blue blooded’, but there were also claims that he was an impostor. On December 14, 1833, Hauser came home with a deep wound on the left side of his chest which proved to be fatal. Many people in their personal quests for identity and self affirmation projected themselves onto Kaspar Hauser. His suffering poses various philosophical questions: what constitutes the identity of a human being? What if essential external factors such as heritage, nationality, socialisation, education, religion etc. are missing?

Kaspar Hauser´s experience is a parable on how society is dealing with a stranger.

The opera Kaspar Hauser was inspired by Jakob Wassermann’s 1908 novel, Caspar Hauser. Scenes from the opera were presented by a cast of young singers after a one-week workshop under the direction of Philip Headlam and Anke Rauthmann.

BIOGRAPHIES (as of 2008)

Alexis Pope – Composer
London born Alexis Pope studied composition and piano at the Royal Academy of Music with Alan Bush, Cornelius Cardew and Max Pirani and at the Chopin Academy in Warsaw. He regularly performs in contemporary music festivals and has recorded for BBC and Deutschland Radio. Influences include Cowell and African traditional music. His diverse output includes two Operas – The Bacchae and Antigone. Alexis Pope lives in Berlin.

Anke Rauthmann – Stage director, Librettist
studied Drama, Sociology and Literature. Assistant director at the New Israeli Opera, Bregenz Festival, Strasbourg, Liège, Bilbao, Bergen, Marseille, Avignon and Komische Oper Berlin.
Directed for the International Vocal Arts Institute Tel Aviv. Recent works include Mozart´s Le nozze di Figaro for Berlin International Opera and Pacini´s Don Giovanni for Rossini-in-Wildbad. Her libretti were commissioned by Opera Bonn, Opera Schwerin and Komische Oper Berlin.

Matthias Janser -Producer
Matthias has worked as assistant director for ROH, ENO, Glyndebourne and the Bregenz and Salzburg Festivals. For Opera Holland Park he directed L’amico Fritz and Manon Lescaut, La Damnation de Faust for Opera North and Vanda for University College Opera. He is currently based in Barcelona where he works as producer/project manager and translator.

Num Stibbe – Designer
Num Stibbe started her career as a musical instrument maker moving to designing and building sets for stop animation film. She was Head of Scenery at the Israeli Opera becoming Set Designer within the company. She designed for Teatro Klesidra and The English Theatre in Rome. Currently based in England, she is Associate Designer for The Paddock, designing plays, dance and opera.

Philip Headlam – Conductor
has worked extensively in concert, opera and contemporary music with ENO, ETO, WNO, Wexford Festival, Royal Albert Hall Opera, Aldeburgh Festival, Almeida Opera, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Britten Sinfonia, Vlaamse Opera Studio, Theatre de la Monnaie, Batignano, Banff Centre, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and the Israel Vocal Arts Institute. As the co-artistic director of The Continuum Ensemble he has performed over 50 concerts of contemporary music including broadcasts on BBC Radio 3 and Channel 4. Philip has worked with many of the leading composers in Britain and Europe.