Judith (Matthus)

Judith is an opera in two acts by Siegfried Matthus with a libretto by the composer based on Friedrich Hebbel's Judith and texts from the Old Testament. The premiere was on 28 September 1985 at the Komische Oper Berlin, directed by Harry Kupfer. It was recorded in a studio production.

Opera by Siegfried Matthus
Siegfried Matthus 1990.jpg
Matthus in 1990
LibrettistSiegfried Matthus
Based onFriedrich Hebbel: Judith
Old Testament
28 September 1985 (1985-09-28)


The composer Siegfried Matthus was pointed to Friedrich Hebbel's Judith, a tragedy written in 1840, by stage director Harry Kupfer. Matthus wrote the libretto, also using some texts from the Old Testament,[1] such as Psalm 115, Psalm 135, Psalm 72, Psalm 104 and verses from the Song of Songs. Hebbel's tragedy is based on the Book of Judith.[1] At the same time Matthus composed Holofernes-Porträt for baritone and orchestra, which was premiered in 1981 during the opening week of the new Gewandhaus, with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and conductor Kurt Masur. Matthus transferred parts of the composition to his opera,[2] which he composed from 1980 to 1984.[3]:350

Judith was planned for the opening of the restored Semperoper in Dresden.[3] As Kupfer worked in Berlin from 1981, the opera was premiered at the Komische Oper Berlin on 28 September 1985, staged by Kupfer[3]:358 and conducted by Rolf Reuter, with Eva-Maria Bundschuh in the title role and Werner Haseleu as Holofernes. The production was a success[2] and was recorded for the television of the German Democratic Republic and for records.[3]:358

Judith was published by Breitkopf & Härtel, with a translation to English by B. Jacobson.[1]


The first performance was recorded in 1986, conducted by Rolf Reuter and staged by Kupfer, with the chorus and orchestra of the Komische Oper Berlin, as a studio production in collaboration with the Rundfunk der DDR.[1][3][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Judith / Opera in 2 Acts based on a drama by F. Hebbel 1982–84 Text: Siegfried Matthus (in German) Breitkopf & Härtel
  2. ^ a b Eberhard Schmidt: Judith. In Pipers Enzyklopädie des Musiktheaters [de]. Werke. Massine – Piccinni. (in German) Piper, Munich / Zürich 1991, ISBN 3-492-02414-9, pp. 9–12.
  3. ^ a b c d e Sigrid Neef: Judith. In: Deutsche Oper im 20. Jahrhundert – DDR 1949–1989. (in German) Lang, Berlin 1992, ISBN 3-86032-011-4, pp. 350–359.
  4. ^ Siegfried Matthus. In: Andreas Ommer: Verzeichnis aller Operngesamtaufnahmen (Zeno.org. Directmedia, Berlin 2005

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