Ballad opera by Peter Eötvös


son jeu ne fait plus qu’un avec tout ce qui pousse et respire et il sent que son amour pour Alida coule et coule en lui et puis dans son jeu

Jon Fosse, Insomnie

Infos & Cast


Infos & Cast

Ballad opera by Peter Eötvös
Created in Berlin in November 2021
World premiere
Co-production with Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Berlin

29*, 31* March 2022 – 8pm
2*, 5 April 2022 – 8pm
3 April 2022 – 3pm

Sung in english with french and english subtitles
Duration: approx. 2h30 with one intermission

Musical Director *Peter Eötvös | Maxime Pascal
Stage Director Kornél Mundruczó
Scenography &costumes Monika Pormale
Lighting Designer Felice Ross
Dramaturgy Kata Weber

Alida Victoria Randem
Asle Linard Vrielink
Ma Herdis / Midwife Katharina Kammerloher
Old Woman Hanna Schwarz
Girl Sarah Defrise
Innkeeper Jan Martinik
Man in Black Tómas Tómasson
Boatman Roman Trekel
Jeweler Siyabonga Maqungo
Asleik Arttu Kataja

Twelve solo voices of the Staatsoper Berlin
Sextuor Vocal Soprano (1) Samantha Britt
Sextuor Vocal Mezzo (1) Nicole Hyde
Sextuor Vocal Alto (1) Rowan Hellier
Sextuor Vocal Soprano (2) Kristin Anna Gudmundsdottir
Sextuor Vocal Mezzo (2) Kirsten-Josefine Grützmacher
Sextuor Vocal Alto (2) Alexandra Yangel
Fisherman 1 Matthew Peña
Fisherman 2 Sotiris Charalampous
Fisherman 3 Fermin Basterra
Fisherman 4 Jaka Mihelač
Fisherman 5 Rory Green
Fisherman 6 Jonas Böhm

Orchestre de la Suisse romande

Sponsored by :


Peter Eötvös, the Hungarian with more than ten operas under his belt, is one of the greatest living composers. Tri sestri, created in 1998 in Lyon, is generally regarded as one of the reference works of opera in the second half of the twentieth century. For his latest operatic work, the conductor and composer tackles the prose of Norwegian Jon Fosse. In his trilogy, this writer of liquid and singing poetry dissects the psyche of Alida and Asle, a young couple on the run from the world. On their road to doom, the couple, a Bonnie and Clyde of Biblical dimensions, sow violence in spite of themselves, but also love and life: Alida will give birth to a little Sigvald before returning home, Asle will be hanged in Bjørgvin, an imaginary Bergen where Fosse locates his timeless parable. Peter Eötvös and his librettist Mari Mezei link the three short novels that make up the trilogy – Wakefulness, Olav’s Dreams and Weariness – in a continuous dialogue narration. After presenting his fascinating Makropulos Affair on our stage in 2020, Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó, whose film Pieces of a Woman premiered on Netflix last year, is back to set the stage for this narrative that floats between life and death. In Monika Pormale’s half-real, half-faery scenography, Mundruczó tries to save the characters from the waters endlessly engulfing them. For in Jon Fosse’s symbolic fjords of light and despair, water swallows everything, the rain, the sea, life and death. Co-commissioned by the Berlin Staatsoper Unter der Linden and the Grand Théâtre de Genève, Sleepless will be conducted by Peter Eötvös in person at the head of the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande. For the occasion, there will also be a mini Eötvös festival with the OSR, the Nouvelle Comédie and Contrechamps, the contemporary music ensemble of Geneva. Norwegian soprano Victoria Randem and Dutch tenor Linard Vrielink, in the main roles of the teenagers Alida and Asle, lead an intergenerational cast ranging from very young singers to the legendary artist Hanna Schwarz in the role of the Old Woman.



Sleepless at La Plage

Check out all the various events connected with the production.

45 minutes before the performance

45 minutes before the bells call you into the house, it’s time to refresh your memory and go back to the beginnings of the opera: we offer a brief introduction to remind you what the work is all about and what kind of magical, apocalyptic, critical or hyper-realistic worlds the people behind the production have in store for you. Lickety-split, there’s just enough time to grab some bubbly before you take your seats under the star-studded ceiling of a thousand and one operas!
45 minutes before each performance
Free admittance with performance tickets
Foyer of the GTG

Wednesday, 23 March at 6:30PM

Peter Eötvös, le dernier des romantiques, présenté par Christian Merlin
L’avant-garde tenait l’opéra pour un genre mort, figé dans la poussière du musée. Avec le triomphe de Trois Sœurs, en 1998, le compositeur hongrois Peter Eötvös semble avoir montré que le genre pouvait être régénéré, et que la musique classique pouvait être expressive sans renoncer à être moderne. Quel est son secret ? Ce premier succès s’est-il renouvelé dans ses opéras plus récents ?
Wednesday, 23 March, 2022
At 6:30PM
At the Théâtre de l’Espérance

> access

Thursday, 24 March at 6:30PM

About Sleepless
Who is afraid of contemporary music? Taking the opportunity of the premiere of Sleepless, the new opera by the great Hungarian composer Peter Eötvös, we want to give you a taste of the music composed today, if you haven’t already found it! Who better to do this than the young Belgian soprano Sarah Defrise, interpreter of one of the most piquant roles of the opera, The Girl, with her coloraturas composed to measure by the composer? The opportunity with her partner, the pianist Stéphane Ginsburgh, to honor the memory of two other masters of 20th century music: Luciano Berio, whom we will meet again at the end of the season with his Finale composed for Turandot, and György Ligeti, Eötvös’s compatriot with whom we opened our season La Plage in Vernier (Adventures and New Adventures).
Sarah Defrise, soprano
Stéphane Ginsburgh, piano
Thursday, 24 March, 2022
At 6:30PM
Entrance fee CHF 25 (first drink included)
In the foyer of the GTG

Public Workshop
Saturday, 26 March at 11AM

Sleepless public workshop: The profession of the conductor
Peter Eötvös is a major figure in today’s opera, both composer and conductor. But have you ever wondered what a conductor’s job actually consists of? Discover this fascinating profession with Dimitri Soudoplatoff, playing the role of the conductor and of a member of the orchestra thanks to the soundpainting technique.
Discover Dimitri’s work on his website :
Saturday, March 26, 2022
From 11:00 am to 12:30 pm
For all from 12 years old
Foyer of the Grand Théâtre
CHF 15.-

En coulisse
Thursday, 31 March

Haven’t you ever wondered what it’s like on the other side, when the curtain falls on a performance? How does all the technical machinery work? What do the stagehands have to do to get things back into working order? Or maybe just bump into one of the stars of the show?
So let us raise the curtain on all this for you. With every production, we give our patrons an opportunity to come backstage with us, raise their eyes to the flies and take a good look at what’s behind the sets. It may be dark in the wings but there’s a whole lot going on there! And because it’s a really busy place, we can’t really do this more than once per performance run. You will need to book your visit beforehand, so don’t delay!
A member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
After the March 31 performance, a member of the theatre staff who can answer all your questions and show you some of the very impressive features of our opera house takes you backstage for free.
The “En coulisse” tour lasts about 20 minutes, starts 15 minutes after the performance, is free of charge on prior reservation with our box office service by email [email protected].

Friday 1, April at 8PM

For one night, come and live in the great theater, we’ll take you from the ceiling to the stage, from maze to maze, along the melodies of yesteryear and sweet polyphonies. Come and dream under the lights of the chandeliers and the stars, we will sing you to sleep until the early morning, and then what a wake-up call! And bring your things:

  • sleeping bag or other blanket
  • mattress more or less soft
  • pillow
  • flashlight
  • toilet bag
  • teddy bear

Friday, April 1st 2022
From 8pm to 8am
Entrance CHF 40.–
CHF 20.– (under 16 years old)
Breakfast and small snack included
At the GTG


2021-2022 Season

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Photos credits
Sleepless © GTG / Magali Dougados