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Rudi Stephan: Die ersten Menschen

An erotic mystery! The bible story of the fratricide of Cain and Abel with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, François-Xavier Roth and Annette Dasch.

  • Die ersten Menschen | Copyright: © Ruth Walz

    Die ersten Menschen © Ruth Walz

  • Die ersten Menschen | Copyright: © Ruth Walz

    Die ersten Menschen © Ruth Walz

  • Die ersten Menschen | Copyright: © Ruth Walz

    Die ersten Menschen © Ruth Walz

Directly after the outbreak of the war, the composer Rudi Stephan, who was not yet even twenty-seven years old, completed his first opera Die ersten Menschen. It was destined to be his last major work, he died at the age of 28. For the first time, François-Xavier Roth has Stephan’s music on his music stand. He considers Rudi Stephan as probably “the best-known unknown composer from the early 20th century”.

The Dutch National Opera presents the Bible story of the fratricide of Kajin (Cain) and Chabel (Abel). Adahm (Adam) is concerned with cultivating the land, while Chawa (Eve) longs for the spring of her life and the younger, more passionate Adahm. Sons Kajin and Chabel have very different views on life. While Chabel is devoted to God and religious life, Kajin feels united with nature, and is in search of sensual satisfaction and ‘das wilde, wilde Weib’ (‘the wild, wild woman’). As night falls, Chawa – blinded by the moonlight and unfulfilled erotic desires – recognises a younger Adahm in the form of her own son Chabel. Kajin watches as his mother – for whom, in addition to familial love, he also harbours erotic feelings – approaches his brother as her lost childhood love. It is Kajin’s erotic desire for his own mother, rather than the lack of recognition from God, that eventually drive him to murder his little brother Chabel. Afterwards, Kajin disappears into the wilderness, and Chawa and Adahm stay behind; united and looking to the future they face a new time for humanity.

Genre Opera
Recording location Dutch National Opera
Production year 2021
Duration 104'
Production Company Dutch National Opera
TV Director Sarah Derendinger
Stage Director Calixto Bieito
Distribution TV EuroArts Music
Composer Rudi Stephan
Orchestra / Band Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
Conductor François-Xavier Roth
Soloist Kyle Ketelsen, Adahm; Leigh Melrose, Kajin; Annette Dasch, Chawa; John Osborn, Chabel
Sets Rebecca Ringst

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