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UNVERGESSEN ("Unforgotten"), opera in 3 acts

German language

The premere of Lühl's first opera in Jauary 2004 in Bolzano/Southern Tyrol, was acclaimed by the Italian audience, as well as the Italian and Austrian critics. The here enclosed snapshots are taken from the original production of the Premiere.

The opera plot is about a historical drama taking place during World War II. The work was premiered on January 8, 2004 in one of the most prestigeous concert halls in the South-Tyrolean capital: the Walther-Haus. Lühl's work was performed 10 times on stage after the premiere.

Among the main parts we can count in the young main hero and a nurse, who helps him out during difficult times.

The choir only intervenes during the two first acts and has a short intervention at the end of the third act.

Not unlike Bizet's "Carmen" or Mozart's "Zauberflöte", certain solo singers' parts feature spoken text, except for the main actors and the choir part.

The original score, despite the predominant German language, also counts several features in other tongues, like English, French, Polish and Italian.



unvergessen affiche


1          PROLOGUE : The opening instrumental scene exposes the main musical material which will be exploited during the entire work: Franz Thaler's theme (the main hero), and other minor leitmotives depicting human absolutes (Destiny, Hope, Liberty...). The choir introdues the First Act, showing the end of a mass in a little church set in a remote village of the South-Tyrolean countryside in 1944.

Act One

2          Franz Thaler, a young Tyrolean aged 18, flees from his obligatory German military service and runs into the woods, where he intends to hide until the war is over. He ist pursued for his crime and meets Nazi locals who are looking for him. Then he weeps for his country and dear fatherland.
3          Thaler finds shelter at a farmer's house. The scene opens on a most popular south-tyrolean musical theme. A Lamento of two men culminates in a surprise effect: a Nazi belives he recognizes Thaler from a distance and Thaler runs away.
4          This picture portraits a tempest during which Thaler finds an old barn where he can pray and rest for the night.
5          Thaler surrenders and is sentenced to 10 years in prison at the Dachau concentration camp. On his way there he meets two priests who give him hope.

Opera acte 1


Act Two

6         Everyday life at the camp. Thaler gets beaten up by an SS-Officer, followed by a second Lamento on human tragedy. .
7         Scene at the penal colony, where a group of prisoners has to collect stones for the overpopulated camp. The prisoners are guarded by menacing soldiers. Choir intervention.
8         Symphonic intermission: Thaler is sick and lies down on a bench. prisoners carry their demised colleagues backstage. An officer tells Thaler that his sentence has been reduced from 10 to 2 years.
9          A nurse, the only femal voice in the opera, gives hope to weak Franz Thaler.
10       An American airstrike interrupts this meditative scene and both prisoners and soldiers run across the stage to hide from the bombing.
11       The end of Act 2 depicts the arrival of the American Army at the camp. The prisoners gather in the main courtyard while the German soldiers try to defend what's left of the camp. Thaler and his friends discover freshly ironed SS-shirts in the laundry. GIs catch them and take them as their prisoners to France.

Opera acte 2

Act Three

12        OUVERTURE : For the first time since the bedinning of the opera the audience is faced with a relieving sensation while listening to this brillant fanfare. Its theme reminds one of the French "Marseillaise".
13        EPILOGUE : Thaler, free at last, returns back home and finds himself in his little church again, almost 40 years later. He is the same as before, though, sitting on a praying bench and showing his back to the public. His grand-daughter comes to collect him and they both leave the stage. The whole scene is played mute. Thaler forgave, but never forgot.

Opera prologue