Die Reise zum Mond, Opera by J. Offenbach
The Moon has fascinated humanity for millennia and has inspired many fantastical tales. Jacques Offenbach’s Die Reise zum Mond, or The Trip to the Moon in English, is one of the more remarkable examples thereof. It is one of the first operas with a leading science fiction element. Inspired by Jules Verne, Offenbach worked off a French libretto by Albert Vanloo, Eugène Leterrier and Arnold Mortier. Le Voyage dans la Lune, as the original French title goes, premiered at Théâtre de la Gaîté in Paris on 26 October 1875. The fantastical plot and Offenbach’s matching score left audiences in awe, and the opera has enjoyed regular revivals ever since. Volksoper Wien stages a faithful production in German this season.
At the centre of Die Reise zum Mond is Prinz Caprice, an earthly prince who has just returned home from a trip around the world. His father, King Vlan, wants him to take over the throne, but the young boy’s heart is set on exploring further. As the Earth has just been explored, Caprice turns his gaze to the skies where he quickly finds his next destination: the Moon. The scientist Mikroskop devises a shell, with which the King, the Prince, and himself are propelled to the Earth’s satellite. There, they find a prosperous kingdom ruled by the wise Cosmos. As the two civilisations start getting to know each other, Prince Caprice of Earth and Princess Fantasia of the Moon begin an unlikely romance, thanks to an apple’s almost magical effect on the young lady. But there is one problem: on the Moon, love is considered an illness in need of immediate and decisive cure. How will the newly formed couple cope?
Die Reise zum Mond impresses with its many comical situations, inventive depictions of the lunar dwellers, and, of course, Offenbach’s playful and creative musical backing. The opera, complete with ballet numbers, is mainly known for its many catchy choruses, but the leading characters of the Earth and Moon royalty all get their notable moments in the spotlight as well. Vienna’s Volksoper is inviting you on the journey of a lifetime this season.