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Music Text

Helmut Oehring, based on texts by Daniel Kötter, Torsten Ottersberg, Helmut Oehring (G)


1 soloist (T/Bar), 1 deaf mute soloist, 3 female voices (S,M,A); solo elec.gtr;
live electronics

Abbreviations (PDF)


Boosey & Hawkes / Bote & Bock

This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.


World Premiere
Staatsoper / Opera stabile, Hamburg
Sven Holm, director
Conductor: Vicente Larrañaga
Company: Soishi Kobayashi, Guiseppe Giurrana, Jörg Wilkendorf u.a.


Kommander Kobayashi is the title of an opera-saga, a new ‘format’ on the music-theatre stage that unfolds in several separate episodes. The ensemble NOVOFLOT commissions each of the episodes individually, ensuring that each has its own aesthetic character. For full-length performances, three of these short operas, each of which lasts about 30 minutes, are grouped together to form a series. Thus the concept of the saga sets up a framework within which different approaches to musical theatre can be expressed and at the same time relate to one another.

The pivotal figure is Commander Kobayashi, who – together with a handful of spacemen / astronauts – navigates the spaceship La Fenice through time and space, in search of a mission or possibly trying to escape. It is an odyssey through the vast universe, that continuously surges against the mind, that wants to be understood, withstood or at least survived.

In Helmut Oehring’s Kobayashi singt (unter fremden Sternen) [Kobayashi sings (under foreign stars)], one of the three operas in the first series, the commander appears in various forms: as a baritone, an actor using sign language, and in video projections and audio tracks. The mixture of poetic self-reflection and pseudo-documentary technical jargon makes it apparent that Kobayashi comes to meet himself as a result of ‘ingenious’ programming and navigation errors and the paradox of time travel. Thus the journey through the universe leads to crucial issues of identity, reality and the discovery of the kind of present which, it seems, cannot be found, or even imagined in the various streams of time, moving backwards and forwards.

“I always needed
Those spaces between
One dream and the next”


Comic, Dramatic, Poetic

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