Preloader Operavision
Komische Oper Berlin
13.10.2019 at 18h00 CET
Sunday, October 13, 2019 - 18:00

Komische Oper Berlin

The Bassarids

A primordial human conflict between instinct and reason.

Operas | Henze

Hans Werner Henze’s musical drama in one act is a blood-soaked tragedy about political demagoguery and the seduction of the masses.


In Barry Kosky’s production, the orchestra becomes the battle scene for the antagonistic principles, breaking the physical boundaries of the orchestra pit and pressing onto the stage, where it becomes both witness and accomplice in the events unfolding.

Sung in English

Subtitles in English, French and German available soon after the livestream with possibility of auto-translation into 114 other languages.

Available from
13.10.2019 at 18h00 CET

Available until
12.04.2020 at 23h59 CET

DionysusSean Panikkar
PentheusGünter Papendell
CadmosJens Larsen
TiresiasIvan Turšić
Captain of the Royal GuardTom Erik Lie
AgaveTanja Ariane Baumgartner
AutonoeVera-Lotte Böcker
BeroeMargarita Nekrasova

MusicHans Werner Henze
TextWystan Hugh Auden and Chester Kallman
ConductorVladimir Jurowski
DirectorBarrie Kosky
Set DesignerKatrin Lea Tag
Costume DesignerKatrin Lea Tag
Lighting DesignerFranck Evin
ChoreographerOtto Pichler
Chorus MasterDavid Cavelius
DramaturgUlrich Lenz

Young Pentheus has ascended to the throne of Thebes. Yet a stranger begins to undermine the king’s authority. In honor of the God Dionysus, he leads the people to intoxicating revelries devoted to pleasure and lust. More and more people join him, including Pentheus’ own mother Agaue. The king tries in vain to fight the power of instinct with reason. Finally, he wants to get his own impression and, disguising himself as a woman, joins the mass. In the excesses of a nightly orgy, he is brutally killed by his own mother who mistakes him for a wild animal. The next morning, she realizes she is holding her son’s head in her arms. The stranger reveals himself to be Dionysus and demands absolute, unconditional worship.