Mauerschau | Bayerische Staatsoper

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Mauerschau is Hauke Berheide’s operatic interpretation of Penthesilea—Heinrich von Kleist’s 1808 tragedy about the mythological Amazon queen. The opera imagines a tumultuous, raging war in an emotional drama highlighting the complicated, abstract reality embedded in these conflicts.

Luftwerk’s design for the stage and video content for this opera reflected the confusion inherent in war. They set the tone of the opera with Roger Fenton’s iconic 1855 image of war—one in which a staged propaganda photo frames a distorted reality. Stemming from this, patterns derived from Morse code and Dazzle camouflage further highlight the abstract realm of war. Using forced perspective the set gives the illusion of a greater depth, altering the viewer’s perception and abstracting reality.

Using a mix of historic and contemporary visual materials, the set connected the historic story of war into the present in an atmospheric design. Together, the design elements set the mood of the opera while looking at how abstraction can exist in the reality of photography and the similarities of wars throughout time. Abstract details of message, approach, and history reside within and are reflected through this design for Mauerschau.


Die Deutsche Bühne

Süddeutsche Zeitung

Hauke Berheide
Oksana Lyniv
Amy Stebbins
Benedikt Zehm
Video technician
Thomas Herzog
Belen Montoliú
Malte Krasting