Das Gespenst von Canterville, Opera by M. F. Lange
A re-imagining of the classic ghost story The Canterville Ghost by the inimitable Oscar Wilde, Das Gespenst von Canterville sees Berlin-born and -educated composer Marius Felix Lange at his creative finest. Updating Wilde’s tale of an American family moving into an old British castle and confronting the ghost that has been haunting it, Lange breathes new life into the well-known characters and creates a version that celebrates life, death and love’s triumph over both in equal measure while placing the events in a uniquely European context. The Vienna Volksoper is ready to give you some laughs, some scares and some food for thought this season!
Das Gespenst von Canterville’s plot begins unfolding when Georg König, a real estate mogul, acquires the Canterville Castle. Together with his calculating and short-tempered secretary and lover Frauke-Beeke Hansen, he has an unholy plan for this storied property. The schemes, however, hit a bump when a series of strange events reveal that the castle is haunted by the ghost of Sir Simon, leading to a number of confrontations which are both comical and a little unsettling. Virginia, König’s daughter, is the only character who takes the tired spirit’s plight to heart. Thanks to her purity and kindness, the story’s main message that love reigns supreme comes across and makes for a pleasant happy end.
Lange composed Das Gespenst von Canterville based on a libretto by Michael Frowin. The premiere at Opernhaus Zürich on 23 November 2013 was very well received, making the work one of the popular contemporary German-language operas. The adaptation of the characters and storyline preserve the trademark wit of the Oscar Wilde original, and the carefully crafted score resonates with the endearing story of humanity, discovery, love and care. On the stage of Volksoper Wien, a heart-warming modern classic takes place.