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The Makropulos Affair | Vec Makropulos tickets

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The Makropulos Affair | Vec Makropulos

Venue: Deutsche Oper Berlin

Deutsche Oper Berlin
Bismarckstraße 35
10627 Berlin
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Season 2018

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The Makropulos Affair | Vec Makropulos
Sat 10 November 2018
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19:30 Deutsche Oper Berlin 100 € Add to cart
The Makropulos Affair | Vec Makropulos
Fri 16 November 2018
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19:30 Deutsche Oper Berlin 100 € Add to cart
The Makropulos Affair | Vec Makropulos
Thu 22 November 2018
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19:30 Deutsche Oper Berlin 86 € Add to cart
Event details
Composer: Leos Janácek

Act 1

Kolenatý's law office, Prague, 1922

Vitek, Kolenatý's clerk, notes that the probate case of Gregor v. Prus has been going on for almost a century. Kolenatý represents the middle-class Gregors against the wealthy and aristocratic Prus family. Albert Gregor comes in asking about the case, Kolenatý has taken it to the Supreme Court, but has not returned because he is expecting the final resolution. Vitek's daughter Kristina, enters. She is a young singer, and praises Emilia Marty, a famous singer she has seen rehearsing and admits that she will never be the artist Emilia Marty is.

Kolenatý returns, accompanied (surprisingly) by Emilia Marty, who reviews the case with her. Baron Joseph Ferdinand Prus died in 1827, leaving no will or legitimate children. His cousin claimed the estate, but so did Albert's ancestor, Ferdinand Gregor, who asserted that the Baron had promised the estate to him both presenting different evidence to their case but no actual will. Here Emilia interrupts. Speaking with unusual familiarity of these long-ago events, she states that Ferdinand Gregor was the illegitimate son of Baron Joseph (who was a very centered and diligent man, contradicting Dr. Kolenatý's description of the man) and opera singer Ellian MacGregor. Kolenatý says that the case seems to be on the side of the Prus family, because there is no will. Emilia asks what would be required for Albert Gregor to win, and Kolenatý says the missing will. Emilia says that there is in fact a will and proceeds to describe an old cupboard in the Prus mansion where important papers were kept where he will find the document they need.

Kolenatý thinks Emilia is making up stories, but Albert insists he investigate at once and even threatens to take the case to a rival lawyer. Kolenatý leaves, and Albert tells Emilia that if he does not get the estate, he will be penniless and shoot himself. He is already infatuated with Emilia, and tries to make love to her. But Emilia, bored and indifferent, coldly refuses him. However, she asks his help in retrieving a document that will be found with the will.

Kolenatý returns with Jaroslav Prus. They found the will where Emilia said it would be, and Jaroslav congratulates Albert on his victory – if he can prove that Ferdinand Gregor was the Baron's illegitimate son. Emilia says she can prove that.
Act 2

The empty stage of the opera house

A stagehand and a cleaning woman discuss Emilia's extraordinary performance. Jaroslav enters, seeking Emilia, accompanied by his young son Janek, and Kristina.

Emilia enters, but spurns them all, including Janek, who falls under her spell, and Albert, who brings her expensive flowers. Old (and by now senile) Count Hauk-Šendorf enters, and thinks he recognizes Emilia as Eugenia Montez, a Romani woman with whom he had an affair in Andalusia half a century before. Emilia tells him Eugenia is not dead, and in Spanish, calls him by a pet name and asks him for a kiss.

All except Jaroslav leave. He demands an explanation of her strange interest in his family, and reveals that the mother of the Baron's child was recorded as Elina Makropulos, who might be the same as Ellian MacGregor, whose love letters he has read, Prus describes her as a passionate woman with probably flexible morals, to which Emilia takes offense. He continues saying that only a descendant of Ferdinand Makropoulos can claim the estate. Emilia offers to buy a mysterious document found with the will, but Jaroslav refuses and leaves. Albert returns and again pleads his love, but Emilia merely falls asleep, and Albert leaves. Janek returns, and Emilia asks him to get the document for her. Jaroslav overhears this, and orders Janek to leave, then agrees to provide the document himself if Emilia will spend the night with him.
Act 3

Emila's hotel room the next morning

Emilia and Jaroslav have spent the night together. Though Jaroslav was disappointed by Emilia's coldness, he gives her the envelope containing the document. They are informed that Janek has committed suicide due to his infatuation with Emilia. Jaroslav grieves, but Emilia is absolutely indifferent. Jaroslav hardly has time to express his anger at her reaction before Count Hauk-Šendorf enters, he has left his wife and plans to elope with Emilia to Spain. Albert, Kolenatý, and Kristina enter, with a doctor who takes Count Hauk-Šendorf away. Kolenatý has noticed that Emilia's handwriting matches that of Ellian MacGregor and suspects her of forgery. She leaves the room to get dressed, and says that after she has had her breakfast, she will clarify everything.

The rest of the party begins to search her papers and belongings. The searchers find many documents and keepsakes, all bearing names with the initials E. M., Jaroslav says that the handwriting of Elina Makropulos (on Ferdinand's birth certificate) also matches that of Emilia.

Emilia comes back, drunk and with a pistol, but Albert disarms her. Emilia at last decides to tell the truth: she is Elina Makropulos, born in 1585, daughter of Hieronymus Makropulos, an alchemist in Emperor Rudolf II's Court, who ordered him to prepare a potion that would extend his life. When it was ready, the Emperor ordered his alchemist to test it on her. She fell into a coma, and Hieronymus was sent to prison. After a week, Elina woke up and fled with the formula, and now she has lived an itinerant life for three centuries, becoming one of the best singers of all time. To conceal her longevity, she has assumed many identities: Eugenia Montez, Ekaterina Myshkin, Ellian McGregor, and others. She confided her secret to Baron Joseph and gave him the formula, which he attached to his will for his son.

The potion is finally wearing off. Elina wanted the formula to gain another 300 years of life. As the potion wears off and the first signs of old age appear on her face, they come to believe her. Elina has realized that perpetual youth has led her to exhausted apathy and resolves to allow death to come naturally to her, understanding that a sense of transcendence and purpose come from a naturally short span of life. Aging rapidly before the eyes of the astonished onlookers, she offers Kristina the formula so she now can become a great artist herself, but she burns it in a candle flame. Elina expires as she recites the first words of the Lord's Prayer in Greek.

Program details

Conductor: Marko Letonja 
Stage Director: David Hermann 
Set Design, Costume Design: Christof Hetzer 
Chorus Master: Jeremy Bines 
Videodesigner: Martin Eidenberger 
Light design: Ulrich Niepel 
Emilia Marty, formerly Elina Makropulos, a celebrated singer: Evelyn Herlitzius 
Albert Gregor: Ales Briscein 
Vítek, Kolenatý's clerk: Paul Kaufmann 
Krista, his daughter, a young singer: Jana Kurucová 
Jaroslav Prus: Philipp Jekal 
Janek, his son: Gideon Poppe 
Dr Kolenatý, a lawyer: Seth Carico 
Count Hauk-Sendorf: N. N. 
a Stage Technician: Andrew Harris 
a Cleaning Woman: Maiju Vaahtoluoto 
a Maid: Flurina Stucki 
Chorus: Chor der Deutschen Oper Berlin 
Orchestra: Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin 

Deutsche Oper Berlin

The Deutsche Oper Berlin is an opera company located in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, Germany. The resident building is the country's second largest opera house and also home to the Berlin State Ballet.

The company's history goes back to the Deutsches Opernhaus built by the then independent city of Charlottenburg—the "richest town of Prussia"—according to plans designed by Heinrich Seeling from 1911. It opened on November 7, 1912 with a performance of Beethoven's Fidelio, conducted by Ignatz Waghalter. After the incorporation of Charlottenburg by the 1920 Greater Berlin Act, the name of the resident building was changed to Städtische Oper (Municipal Opera) in 1925.

Deutsches Opernhaus, 1912
With the Nazi Machtergreifung in 1933, the opera was under control of the Reich Ministry of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda. Minister Joseph Goebbels had the name changed back to Deutsches Opernhaus, competing with the Berlin State Opera in Mitte controlled by his rival, the Prussian minister-president Hermann Göring. In 1935, the building was remodeled by Paul Baumgarten and the seating reduced from 2300 to 2098. Carl Ebert, the pre-World War II general manager, chose to emigrate from Germany rather than endorse the Nazi view of music, and went on to co-found the Glyndebourne opera festival in England. He was replaced by Max von Schillings, who acceded to enact works of "unalloyed German character". Several artists, like the conductor Fritz Stiedry or the singer Alexander Kipnis followed Ebert into emigration. The opera house was destroyed by a RAF air raid on 23 November 1943. Performances continued at the Admiralspalast in Mitte until 1945. Ebert returned as general manager after the war.

After the war, the company in what was now West Berlin used the nearby building of the Theater des Westens until the opera house was rebuilt. The sober design by Fritz Bornemann was completed on 24 September 1961. The opening production was Mozart's Don Giovanni. The new building opened with the current name.

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