Det Kongelige Teater

To Hell with Opera


Simon Steen-Andersen’s new opera, Don Giovanni’s Inferno, is a humorous and grotesque performance chronicling Don Giovanni’s descent into an operatic underworld.

Foto: Simon Steen-Andersen
Foto: Simon Steen-Andersen

In Don Giovanni’s Inferno, the innovative Danish composer Simon Steen-Andersen samples 400 years of operatic art, breaking through the barriers to hell with a twisted remix of opera hits, creating a performance that is humorous, grotesque, surprising, and provocative. He skilfully incorporates video, performance art, and the darkest corners of the Old Stage.

Drawing inspiration from the final scene of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Simon Steen-Andersen explores the destiny of the seducer following his fateful dinner with the Commander, whom he has slain. For his misdeeds, Don Giovanni earns a one-way ticket to hell. There, he encounters other fallen figures from the operas of Puccini, Wagner, Verdi, Berlioz, Gounod, and Monteverdi.

Simon Steen-Andersen constructs Don Giovanni’s Inferno as a masterful puzzle of fragments and characters from operatic history. Every word and note is meticulously sourced from existing scores. The character of Polystofeles is a chilling composite of 19 different Mephistopheles, Plutos, demons, and devils from the vast operatic repertoire.

Simon Steen-Andersen’s influence extends far beyond composition. He is the visionary behind the opera’s staging and its set, video, sound, and lighting design.

In his score, Simon Steen-Andersen describes Don Giovanni’s Inferno as “An evening of twisted classics, broken clichés, cinematic post-apocalypse, infernal misfits, upside-down arias, gender-bending, waterboarding, musical punishment, hampered singing, resonating stage-elements, mechanical contraptions, grinding stage-mechanics, light and smoke. In other words a comedy!”

Award-winning composer and Carl Prize-nominated opera
Simon Steen-Andersen’s international reputation continues to soar, with numerous honours over the past 15 years. Don Giovanni’s Inferno, created in collaboration with Opéra national du Rhin and premiered there in the fall of 2023, has been nominated for the Carl Prize 2024 for Classical Composer of the Year – Large Ensemble.

Simon Steen-Andersen (b. 1976), born in Aarhus, Denmark and residing in Berlin, defies categorisation. His works seamlessly blend music, performance art, theatre, choreography, and film. He has received numerous awards and grants, including the SWR Orchestra Prize 2019, the Mauricio Kagel Music Prize, the Siemens Composers’ Prize 2017, the Nordic Council Music Prize, and the SWR Orchestra Prize 2014. In 2016, he joined the prestigious German Academy of Arts, and in 2018, was appointed a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music.

In collaboration with Opéra national du Rhin.

Don Giovanni’s inferno | Premiere Old Stage | 20 April – 9 May 2024
Read more about Don Giovanni’s Inferno HERE.


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Solodanser Stephanie Chen Gundorph modtager Hans Becks Mindelegat22.5.2024 15:54:28 CEST | Pressemeddelelse

I dag har solodanser Stephanie Chen Gundorph modtaget det prestigefyldte Hans Becks Mindelegat på 30.000 kr. Legatet er uddelt med følgende motivation: "Stephanie Chen Gundorph er en danser med et helt særligt talent, der har beriget publikum med sin indlevelse, teknik og udtryk. Hans Becks Mindelegat er oprettet til minde om balletmesteren, der især gjorde sig bemærket ved at sikre Bournonvilles balletter for eftertiden, og Stephanie er som barn af teatrets balletskoler i Odense og siden København en fornem eksponent, også for den særlige stil, Bournonvilles balletter danses i." Om Stephanie Chen Gundorph: Født: 1993 Nationalitet: Dansk Uddannelse: Den Kongelige Balletskole i Odense og København Karriere: Stephanie blev optaget som aspirant ved Den Kongelige Ballet i 2010, blev medlem af corps de ballet i 2012, forfremmet til solist i 2019 og til solodanser i 2022. Tidligere modtagere af Hans Becks Mindelegat inkluderer prominente dansere som Vivi Flindt, Silja Schandorff og Caroline

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