Philemon und Baucis
Programme & Images
Baucis and Philemon
Puppet theatre to the opera by Joseph Haydn
Hard-up but happy? In search of Baucis and Philemon
A land in the grip of a crisis: the coffers are empty, the mood has hit rock bottom, despondency and despair are rife – what a miserable existence! Even the slightest luxury, every paltry banquet – be it for a mere 1,000 guests – is greeted with envy! Even the state carriage is resented, while the servants have been reduced to the bare minimum of a few hundred. As for the holiday residences, well, one hardly dares set foot there any more… “Why do the people clamour so?” Maria Theresa’s daughter Marie Antoinette is said to have asked. “They have no money for bread, Majesty, they are starving.” “If the people have no bread, let them eat cake!” (“S’ils n’ont pas de pain, qu’ils mangent de la brioche!”)
But philosophers say that it is possible to be happy when one is poor, indeed that it is only among the poor that true happiness is found! But where, exactly?
So the monarch Maria Theresa sets out to travel across the country. But she finds no sign of true happiness. With the aid of Joseph Haydn she descends into the catacombs of the city. Here, it is said, she can find what she seeks!