Calixto Bieito revives a Nazi victim’s opera

Calixto Bieito revives a Nazi victim’s opera


norman lebrecht

June 08, 2022

The Czech national theatre is putting on a new production of Flammen by Erwin Schulhoff, unseen since 1932. The composer died ten years later in a concentration camp.

‘I was not sure if I could ever completely understand this work, but I felt that I would be able to fill it with my own imagination,’ said the Spanish director Calixto Bieito. ‘Flammen is a work that allow us to speak of darkness, emptiness inside a man, images appearing in our dreams, the passing of life into death, of seduction, desire and love. It is an opera breathing the absolute freedom of our imagination.’

The opera runs from this Sunday.


  • Peter San Diego says:

    Filling a work he’s unsure of understanding with his own imagination. Hmmm… seems characteristic of Bieito’s work in general…

  • Akutagawa says:

    In case anybody’s interested, this production is also being performed in Brno on Sunday 20 November as part of the biennial Janáček Festival.

  • dramaturg says:

    Not “unseen since 1932”. There were performances in Leipzig and LA in the 90ies.