Aalto Music Theatre presents The Listeners at the Aalto Theatre, Essen, Germany

January 25, 7:00 pm March 22, 2025, 6:00 pm

Opernpl. 10, 45128
Essen, Germany


The Listeners

Opera in two acts by Missy Mazzoli (German premiere)

Libretto by Royce Vavrek based on the story by Jordan Tannahill


Claire tries to sleep in vain. A deep, constant humming sound causes her sleepless nights and drives her mad. With her student Kyle, who also perceives this low-frequency sound, she visits the house of Howard Bard, a charismatic philosopher who is said to have helped other people suffering from it.

Claire is warmly welcomed by Howard and the group of “Listeners”: finally a family that understands her and listens to her. And Claire learns to accept the inexplicable humming and its ever-growing powers. But as soon as the meetings of the “Listeners” take on a cult character, the situation gradually gets out of control. The American composer Missy Mazzoli is one of the best known and most sought-after artists of her generation. Her versatile works are played by the most renowned orchestras and presented on the biggest stages in the world. In both “Listeners” and earlier operas, she worked with the author Royce Vavrek, who wrote the libretto based on the story of the same name by Jordan Tannahill. With strong images and music of great expressiveness, Mazzoli gives an impression of the inner and outer conflicts that such an inexplicable but entirely true phenomenon can trigger in people. The opera caused a great stir at its premiere at the Norwegian Opera in 2022 and is now experiencing its German premiere. The production is directed by Anna-Sophie Mahler, who, together with set designer Katrin Connan, designed a space for the humming sound itself and for Claire’s emotional state.

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