Premiere: 9 June 2008, at 8 p.m.
Performances: 11 / 18 & 19 June 2008

There’s hell to play – What is a cloaked figure doing creeping
furtively through the corridors? What it is searching for down in an unlit
cellar crammed with the junk of bygone performances?
This is a gambling hell.

Mozart’s passion for gambling is the stuff of legend, and in his day the
whole of Vienna was in the grip of rapidly changing gambling fads. Even
Maria Theresia secretly played faro. In fact, in the drawing room of the banker
Raimund Wetzlar, one of Mozart’s chief benefactors, the police staged
several raids to break up illegal gambling sessions. While the opera unfolds
on the stage above, Fortune’s aides and henchmen are turning her wheel
down below in the catacombs, a bizarre fellowship. And sometimes one
of the performers, finding he is not needed on stage just at that moment,
tries his luck in Hell. Gambling makes no distinction between master and
servant, all that exists are shared fates and sly bandits busy with all parts of
their body, not just one arm. Irreconcilable enmity is forgotten, roles are exchanged,
and one man pushes another to the fore when payment is due.
And once again music plays a leading role: in Mozart’s day it had already
become common to arrange great music for ensembles that were often
strange. And so a small, comical ensemble dares to tackle the most beautiful
of musical challenges, including some that are entirely unexpected.
In three productions the marionette theatre responds to the Theater an der
Wien’s programme and, for once in a way, to football as well. The venue is
Hell – Die Hölle, now a bar in the theatre’s basement that until the end of
the 1930s served as the stage for cabaret.

KABINETTTHEATER | Marionette theater (in German)