Monk and Dionysos

The Composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann


Listening to Michael Gielen talk about the dramatic history of the creation of Bernd Alois Zimmermann's great opera "Die Soldaten” (“The soldiers) is exciting. The conductor remembers the events at the Cologne Opera almost 50 years ago so precisely, as if it all happened only yesterday: the first rejection of the piece, which could not be realized with the usual number of rehearsals, "simplifying" the composition and Zimmermann's second version, the struggle for the premiere, which demanded the utmost stamina from Michael Gielen and well-meaning parts of the orchestra and singers. 

The conductor allows his listeners to experience the stormy twists and turns surrounding "The Soldiers" with an intensity and attention to detail that makes it clear what it means when a composer like Bernd Alois Zimmermann breaks completely new ground. 

Bettina Ehrhardt's conversation with Michael Gielen about “The soldiers", reproduced here in full length, took place while she was producing the documentary Monk and Dionysos – the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann, a coproduction of bce films & more with WDR, first broadcast in December 2013. The Munich-based film author and director has become known for her films about Luigi Nono, Pierre Boulez, Helmut Lachenmann and Wolfgang Rihm. Monk and Dionysus is the first television portrait of the composer Bernd Alois Zimmermann.


film editing    
Carolle Alain

Hans Albrecht Lusznat
Fritz Moser
Volker Tittel

Vidicom TV

Volker Bernhart
Marc Bürkle
Jesus Casquete

Andreas Neumann

sound mixing
Nico Krebs

colour correction
Flo Wolf

Jan Besmehn

production assistant
Felix Opahle              
Dieter Quermann
Lea-Rosa Seiler

production management
Joachim Knaf

Requiem für einen jungen Dichter
Uraufführung 1969 in der Düsseldorfer Rheinhalle
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester
Musikalische Leitung Michael Gielen
Verlag Schott Music, Mainz
Aufführung 2012 in der Kölner Philharmonie
Junge Deutsche Philharmonie
MDR Rundfunkchor und WDR Rundfunkchor Köln
Herren der EuropaChorAkademie
Michael Rotschopf und Jakob Diehl, Sprecher
Musikalische Leitung Peter Rundel
Klangregie Joao Rafael
Bildregie János Darvas

Musiques pour les soupers du Ubu Roi
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, 1994
Musikalische Leitung James Conlon
Verlag Bärenreiter, Kassel
Szenische Uraufführung 1968
Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf
Musikalische Leitung Hans Zender

Sonate für Cello Solo
Siegfried Palm, 1969
Die Befragung, Choreographie John Cranko, 1968
Verlag Edition Modern, München

Die Soldaten
Kölner Uraufführung 1965, Städtische Bühnen Köln
Gürzenich-Orchester Köln
Inszenierung Hans Neugebauer
Musikalische Leitung Michael Gielen
Verlag Schott Music, Mainz
Opernhaus Zürich, 2013
Inszenierung Calixto Bieito
Susanne Elmark, Marie
Philharmonia Zürich
Musikalische Leitung Marc Albrecht
Ruhrtriennale 2006
Inszenierung David Pountney
Claudia Barainsky, Marie
Claudio Otelli, Stolzius
Kathryn Harries, Stolzius Mutter
Hanna Schwarz, Weseners alte Mutter
Bochumer Symphoniker
Musikalische Leitung Steven Sloane

Städtisches Orchester Gelsenkirchen, 1968
Musikalische Leitung Ljubomir Romansky
Verlag Schott Music, Mainz

Ich wandte mich und sah an alles Unrecht, das da geschah unter der Sonne Ekklesiastische Aktion
Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, 1985
Leitung Gary Bertini
Verlag Schott Music, Mainz

photo archive
Adolf Clemens
Bernd-Alois-Zimmermann-Archiv der Akademie der Künste, Berlin
Privatarchiv der Familie Zimmermann

many thanks to
Ensemble Modern
Gesine Otto
Roland Diry
Operhaus Zürich
Julika Weinecker
Hansjörg Hellinger
Villa Massimo
Joachim Blüher
Allegra Giorgolo
Eike Roswag
Antonio Bruni

Lothar Mattner

written and directed by  
Bettina Ehrhardt