Persona as brilliant chamber opera.

Anat Edri (Elisabeth) and Ida Aldrian (Alma) in Persona. Photo: Jörn Kipping

Persona as brilliant chamber opera.

Hamburgischer Staatsoper
Langemann goes far beyond a late Romantic sound aesthetic: The sounds of nature, like the waves of the sea or the wind are instrumental and so well integrated as to blur the boundaries between the ''natural'' and the ''artificial'' sound of opera.
- Christa Habicht (Die Welt)

About the production

When Russian-German composer Michael Langemann, with librettist Kerstin Schüssler-Bach, makes opera out of Bergman's perhaps most cinematic of films, something new, unexpected and marvellous appears.

Elisabeth is now a singer rather than actress, and thus has fallen silent in Strauss' opera Elektra (rather than Sophocles' play) when the story begins. (Another, smaller change is that the doctor has shifted gender and voice to a deep bass.)

As in the film, Elisabeth doesn't speak, but she is far from mute! During the couples' cozy cuddling she is humming (more loudly than she does in the movie), and during the terrible rows she emits sounds, able to communicate her rage and fear while also being beautiful music.

It is, in a word, a brilliant adaptation, deserving a long life on the world's opera stages.



  • Ingmar Bergman, Original text
  • Kerstin Schüssler-Bach, Libretto
  • Michael Langemann, Composer
  • Petra Müller, Director
  • Heinrich Tröger von Allwörden, Set design
  • Erika Eilmes, Costume
  • Ida Aldrian, Alma
  • Anat Edri, Elisabet Vogler
  • Daniel Todd, Mr Vogler
  • Stanislav Sergeev, The doctor
  • Philarmoniker Hamburg