The audience sits in the pharmacy and looks through the shop windows at Pasing Station Square. Viola, an apparently sad and disoriented woman, appears there. She seems to be in shock, having lost touch with time and space: “Is that inside or outside now? Is it still yesterday today?”

Blurring the conventional boundaries between audience and performer, venue and stage, Mathis Nitschke’s short opera Viola places its audience in the window of a shop, and turns the whole of the outside world into a stage. While audience members become an object of curiosity for passing pedestrians, one of the members of the public goes almost unnoticed – until she starts to sing. The shop windows become huge glass loudspeakers, transmitting Viola’s plaintive song to the viewers within, yet also preventing her from being able to make the connection she seems so ardently to desire.

“ln many ways, Viola felt like a sketch for a longer work, but its simple yet bold conception was remarkably effective, blurring boundaries between audience and performer to provocative effect. Nitschke’s music delivered via loudspeakers as a backdrop to the live singing swung knowingly between Baroque lament and pounding, rawdance music, and Martina Koppelstetter’s smooth, immaculately controlled contralto was the ideal vehicle for his expressionist vocal lines, It was a brief but undeniably potent work, and offered a genuinely fresh, ambitious conception of what new opera can be.”
David Kettle on VIOLA @Sonica 2017, The Scotsman, 07 November 2017


a short opera in public space
Libretto: Thomas Jonigk
Concept, Composition: Mathis Nitschke
Viola (alto voice): Martina Koppelstetter
Viola recording: Klaus-Peter Werani
Voice recording: Ursula Berlinghof

World premiere: 3rd-5th July 2015 in Bahnhofapotheke Pasing as part of the Pasing By art festival
Performances at Sonica Festival Glasgow in St Enoch Centre, 4th November 2017
Performances at Operadagen Rotterdam in May 2019

Related works:

VIOLA found a successor in 2016: KATHARINA >>
As an example of my opera work on the classical theatre stage, check HAPPY HAPPY >>