Der Mieter

Der Mieter

opera by Arnulf Herrmann

Der Mieter (The Tenant) is an opera after the novel The Tenant (Le locataire chimérique) by Roland Topor, with music by Arnulf Herrmann composed in 2012 to 2017. The libretto was written by Händl Klaus. Commissioned by the Oper Frankfurt, the opera was first performed there on 12 November 2017, directed by Johannes Erath and conducted by Kazushi Ōno.


Topor's 1964 novel Der Mieter (Le locataire chimérique) was filmed as The Tenant by Roman Polanski in 1976, dealing with the conflict of the self and the stranger.

Händl Klaus wrote the libretto, commissioned by the Oper Frankfurt.[1] Arnulf Herrmann composed the music between 2012 to 2017.[1] For the leading woman, Johanna, he composed three songs (Gesänge) which were premiered already in 2014, titled Drei Gesänge am offenen Fenster (Three Songs at the Open Window) in the Musica Viva [de] concert series.[2] Anja Petersen stepped in as the singer and received critical praise.[3]

The opera was first performed in Frankfurt on 12 November 2017, directed by Johannes Erath in a stage design by Kaspar Glarner [de]. Kazushi Ōno conducted the Frankfurter Opern- und Museumsorchester and the Philharmonia Chor Wien [de].[4]

Reviewer Gerhard R. Koch [de] of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung saw the danger of rivalry to both the eloquent novel and the film powerful in images, and located the opera between Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Sartre's No Exit.[5]


Roles, voice types, premiere cast
Roles Voice type Premiere, 12 November 2017[5][4]
Conductor: Kazushi Ōno
Georg baritone Björn Bürger
Johanna soprano Anja Petersen
Herr Zenk bass Alfred Reiter [de]
Frau Bach mezzo-soprano Hanna Schwarz
Frau Greiner mezzo-soprano Claudia Mahnke
Frau Dorn Judita Nagyová
Körner tenor Michael Porter
Krell tenor Theo Lebow
Ingo, Kellner Sebastian Geyer
Herr Kögel Miki Stojanov


The Frankfurt premiere was reviewed mostly with acceptance. A reviewer of the Financial Times warned "If you are feeling unstable, stay away.", and summarised that the production made "this a journey to the blackest regions of an anguished psyche in a hostile world".[6] After praising all who made the performance possible, she concluded:

But it is the pairing of librettist and composer that is perhaps the work's strongest card. Klaus is a writer who knows how music theatre works, a depressingly rare attribute in today’s sensation-hungry world, and he has worked with Herrmann so closely that the words seem to have been born as notes. Der Mieter is a repugnant, dirty, gruelling piece. See it if you can."[6]

The Japanese conductor Kazushi Ōno was seen by a reviewer of Die Deutsche Bühne as a highly competent advocate of the multilayered score ("als hochkompetenter Anwalt von Herrmanns vielschichtiger Partitur").[2] Andreas Bomba of the Frankfurter Neue Presse reported strong applause for an extraordinary ensemble performance for a work described as suggestive, depressing and intense.[7]

The opera was nominated for the Opera Awards 2018.[8]


  1. ^ a b Bettina Boyens: Arnulf Herrmann hat für die Oper Frankfurt „Der Mieter“ komponiert. Frankfurter Neue Presse, 11 November 2017, retrieved 18 November 2017
  2. ^ a b Brandenburg, Detlef (13 November 2017). "Die Verwandlung" (in German). Die Deutsche Bühne. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  3. ^ Gerhard Rohde: Großer Klavierklang, fließende Streichquartette, Neue Musikzeitung, November 2014
  4. ^ a b Rosén, Friedeon (13 November 2017). "Frankfurt: "Der Mieter" von Arnulf Herrmann – Uraufführung" (in German). der-neue-merker.eu. Retrieved 15 April 2021.
  5. ^ a b Gerhard R. Koch: "Es tropfen die Hähne, es klopfen die Nachbarn" (in German) Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 14 November 2017, retrieved 15 April 2021
  6. ^ a b Apthorp, Shirley (14 November 2017). "Der Mieter, Oper Frankfurt — the intensity is almost unbearable". Financial Times. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  7. ^ Bomba, Andreas (14 November 2017). "Suggestiv, bedrückend, intensiv: Arnulf Herrmanns Oper "Der Mieter"". Frankfurter Neue Presse. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  8. ^ "2018". Opera Awards. 2018. Retrieved 22 April 2021.

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