Podcast & video documentary

In "Die Soldaten," Bernd Alois Zimmermann deals with his personal experiences in World War II and with the threats to the world posed by a nuclear catastrophe. 

In cooperation with the Cologne Opera, François-Xavier Roth, the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne and the Spanish star director Calixto Bieito, who has already staged "Die Soldaten" several times, are now working on a realization of Zimmermann's "total theater" for the concert hall. In this podcast and video documentary, we accompany the participants and take a look behind the scenes. 

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»My wish was to play the work in large concert halls after the highly acclaimed production here at the opera house in Cologne,

to bring the orchestra out of the pit and into the hall [....].« 

François-Xavier Roth


Episode 00

Jonas Zerweck about the podcast

Welcome to the Soldiers Podcast of the Gürzenich Orchestra Cologne! This is about the opera »Die Soldaten« by Bernd Alois Zimmermann, which the Gürzenich Orchestra premiered in 1965. Now the orchestra is performing the work in concert at the Cologne Philharmonic Hall on January 18, 2024, in a co-production with the Cologne Opera.  And even though it is a concert performance, the evening will be staged by a director: Calixto Bieito.

A great number of people are involved and the work is musically quite demanding - a challenge for everyone involved in the whole project. 

While the preparations are underway, Jonas Zerweck talks to the people who are doing everything they can to ensure that the end result is a great performance: There is, for example, the conductor of the orchestra François-Xavier Roth, with whom he talks in the first episode about the opera, the music and about the orchestra. But also the composer's daughter, one of his most important students, the leading actress and some more. | 22.01.2022

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Episode 01

François-Xavier Roth

In this episode, Jonas Zerweck talks to François-Xavier Roth, conductor of the Gürzenich Orchestra, about the opera »Die Soldaten« by Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

What does this work mean? Why was it considered unplayable? What makes the piece so difficult? Answers to these and many other questions can be found in this episode. | 22.01.2022

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Episode 02

»Marie« with Emily Hindrichs & Arne Willimczik

Jonas Zerweck talks to soprano Emily Hindrichs and Cologne Opera's Director of Studies Arne Willimczik about the opera "Die Soldaten" by Bernd Alois Zimmermann.

This episode is about the plot of the opera and the central characters. Emily Hindrichs will sing Marie, around whom the opera revolves, in the performance on January 18, 2024. After she is first seduced by a baron and then dropped, she continuously descends in society and has terrible experiences. How can such a role be overcome and what does it mean emotionally for everyone on stage? The three also take a look at the rehearsals: How are the preparations going? | 29.01.2022

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Soldaten - Video

Video 01

François-Xavier Roth

We talk to François-Xavier Roth about his understanding of »Die Soldaten« by Bernd Alois Zimmermann and accompany him during the preparations for the project. An insight into the first rehearsals shows the size and complexity of this enormous work and gives an idea of the commitment of each participant. | 27.01.2022