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Erich Wolfgang Korngold

Die tote Stadt (The Dead City)

Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall
4 Dec 2020

Due to international travel restrictions because of the current COVID-19 pandemic and to ensure health and safety of our community, this production has unfortunately been cancelled. For any urgent enquiries, please email or phone (03) 9001 6412.


Admired by Mahler and Puccini, Korngold was only 23 when he composed this mysterious and hallucinatory study of grief, memory, and obsession. Based on a novella by Belgian Symbolist poet Georges Rodenbach, Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) was one of the biggest hits of the 1920s but has rarely been staged since World War II.

Unable to deal with the death of his wife, Paul retreats from the world to live in his memories. When he meets a dancer who bears an uncanny resemblance to his wife, his emotional state rapidly unravels leading to hallucinations.

With vivid, sumptuous music for a massive orchestra, this concert version features the Australian National Music Academy (ANAM) under the baton of internationally renowned conductor Simone Young, and superstar singers Marlis Petersen (currently artist-in-residence at the Berlin Philharmonic) and Michael Schade.

Prefiguring Korngold’s future success in Hollywood as a composer of film scores, Die tote Stadt is a sensual, intense psychological experience floating between illusion and reality.

Date & Time

Arts Centre Melbourne, Hamer Hall

Friday 21 August 2020, 7.30pm [CANCELLED]

Running time is approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes, plus one interval

Sung in German with English surtitles

Pre-Show Function Friday 21 August, 6.30 pm – $55 per person [CANCELLED]

Price reserve maps for this production can be found on our Venue Information page.

Cast & Creatives

Composer Erich Wolfgang Korngold
Librettist Paul Schott
Conductor Simone Young (ANAM Guest Faculty)


Paul Michael Schade
Marie/Marietta Marlis Petersen
Brigitta Liane Keegan
Frank-Fritz Samuel Dundas
Lucienne Shakira Dugan
Victorin Carlos E. Bárcenas
Graf Michael Dimovski


Australian Boys Choir
Victorian Opera Chorus


ANAM Orchestra

This production is supported by The Robert Salzer Foundation.

The appearance of Marlis Petersen is generously supported by Jane Hemstritch.

ANAM Orchestra and Simone Young are generously supported by Henkell Brothers Investment Managers.