Hannah Eisendle

Elektrische Fische

Mobile Jugendoper auf Tour durch die Bundesländer ab 12 Jahren

Text Susan Kreller & Krysztina Winkel

Friday 26. January 2024 10:00 – 10:50 No intermissions Externer Spielort

Cast at
26. January 2024


Kenza Koutchoukali

Bühne & Kostüm

Mahshad Safaei

Dramaturgie & Choreographie

Katharina Augendopler


Cinzia Zanovello


Lukas Karzel


Andraž Jagodic


Kaja Włostowska


Cristina Basili

About the mobile Youth-Opera

Short Summary

Youth opera about belonging, friendship and acceptance.

13-year-old Emma has to move from Dublin to a small town in north-east Germany. The abrupt change of location causes her great distress; she hates everything about this new place. Together with her new school friend Levin, she devises a plan to get back home. The sea as a connection and separation between the two places takes on a whole new meaning when Levin's mother suddenly needs help and Emma reacts at just the right moment.

The opera is based on the young adult novel by Susan Kreller and the play by Barbara Kantel and Brancko Janack. In the production, the leading team led by Dutch director Kenza Koutchoukali focuses on the constant and close interaction between singers and musicians. The stage consists of five movable elements that reflect the five layers of the ocean. They are moved and rearranged by the performers themselves to illustrate the atmosphere of each scene. Sometimes concrete, sometimes abstract, they show different locations such as the classroom, Levin's home or the multi-layered ocean with its mystical depths.

Elektrische Fische by Hannah Eisendle is an opera for soprano and tenor, three instruments - cello, clarinet and percussion - and electronics. In this work, composer Hannah Eisendle explores the question of how music can convey content independently of scenic and linguistic representation. How can music be used as a means of communicating the unsaid? How do silence, incomprehension and denied communication sound? The electronics serve as a musical link by acoustically concretizing the scenes. Soundscapes are also used, which visualize different places and thus make us aware of both connectedness and separation.

What makes a home is always in the eye of the beholder. Emma misses her grandparents, the English language, but also peppermint gum and the "Thank you" - the polite thank you to the bus driver when getting on and off the bus. The opera Elektrische Fische shows how difficult it can be to adapt to a new environment, but also how the environment can influence this adaptation and what role each person can play in it.

With delicate, poetic language and tonal acumen, the piece tells of upheavals and major changes that happen in life, of homesickness and the feeling of being lost in a new environment, but also of the power of friendship and cohesion within a family. Elektrische Fische is about the importance of language and (lack of) communication and looks for ways of living together in difficult situations.

A special feature of this opera is that the musicians are also part of the scene. They repeatedly take on different roles in the piece. Sometimes they represent different moods and atmospheres such as the feeling of weightlessness or chaos, sometimes they embody specific roles such as Emma's sister Aoife, a teacher or classmates; or they "only" act as instrumentalists who bring the music to life.

© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper
© Wiener Staatsoper

This is a co-production with