War and Peace. A Friendship out of Love.

Angelika Kirchschlager

 

Intimate play with music

 

Performance duration: 1 hour 20 minutes (with pause: + 15 minutes)

 

Angelika Kirchschlager as Bertha von Suttner

 

Erwin Steinhauer as Alfred Nobel

 

 

Bertha von Suttner (1843–1914), née Countess Kinsky, was an activist for peace, a charismatic aristocrat and an author.

 

Alfred Nobel (1833–1896), a Swedish chemical engineer, was an inventor and a wealthy arms manufacturer.

 

These two highly diverse characters were bonded by mutual affection. An initial flirtation in Paris was ended by Bertha in 1875 – although some subtle intimacy ca be noticed through their correspondence.

Their letters provide the fundamental textual basis for this production and offer a good insight in how these two personalities, over the years, develop growing mutual understanding throughout their travels in Europe. Bertha von Suttner and Alfred Nobel gave each other moral support as the threat of war arose in Europe, which was sensed at an early stage by both of them.

 

Angelika Kirchschlager, the internationally celebrated classical opera singer, will perform:  included are a few French pièces and arias (Daniel F. E. Auber, Franz von Suppé) that Bertha actually performed herself. As a young Countess hoping to build a career, Adelina Patti was Berthas idol at the time.

 

Erwin Steinhauer

Erwin Steinhauer, the well-known and popular Austrian allrounder in today's world of film, theatre and TV, represents Bertha's admirer, the people-shy supporter of peace as well as the poet Nobel.

 

In the course of their written communication, these two personalities left an impressive mark on world history, during a time of fundamental and desperate uncertainty.

 

In this production it is for the first time that Angelika Kirchschlager and Erwin Steinhauer perform together. The correspondence between Bertha von Suttner and Alfred Nobel was until recently virtually unknown and has just been translated from French into German by Elvira M. Gross.

Alexander Doent has produced the present version of the play from the original correspondence (up to Nobel's death in 1896) together with compositions that are closely tied to Bertha's own story. The exclusive premiere to this series of events took place at the original location, namely the Suttners’ Schloss Harmannsdorf in Lower Austria.

 

 „Madame, I am still under the spell of your amazing book …" (Alfred Nobel 1883; on Bertha's Inventory of a Soul)

 

„I thought about automn 1875 – it is exactly twenty years ago since we met. … a thinker and a poet … he passionately loves the wide horizon of human thinking and hates petty human stupidity. He understands all but desires nothing: that's how I imagined you and nothing has changed to this day …" (Bertha von Suttner, 1895)

 

War and peace. Bertha and Nobel.

A Friendship out of Love.

 

Angelika Kirchschlager and Erwin Steinhauer

Edda Andrea Graf, piano

 

Script: Alexander Doent

 

Translation and text editing: Elvira M. Gross

 

Premiere: Schloss Harmannsdorf, Lower Austria, April 21, 2018.

 

Further events in the Kammeroper Vienna: October 18, 2018 and  January 31, 2019, both at 7:30 pm.