Der goldene Drache
Music theater based on the play of the same name by Roland Schimmelpfennig
Arranged by the composer
While Thai soup no. 6 is being consumed in The Golden Dragon Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant, dramas are being played out in the kitchen at the back. A Chinese with no residence permit but with toothache, his missing sister, two exhausted stewardesses, a frustrated old man from the second floor and the miserly cricket who forces the ant into prostitution: in his chamber opera Der goldene Drache (The Golden Dragon) that premiered in 2014, Peter Eötvös presents a potpourri of global milieus. The opera’s narrative trick: two female singers and three male singers play all 17 roles following the example of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s play that premiered at the Burgtheater in 2009. Men play women, Asians play Europeans, older people play youngsters and vice versa. The Hungarian composer scored great successes in Vienna with operas such as Drei Schwestern (Three Sisters) and Angels in America, and is one of the most frequently performed contemporary opera composers.
In German with German & English surtitles
Part 1 In the tiny kitchen of the Thai-Chinese-Vietnamese restaurant »Der goldene Drache« (The Golden Dragon) five Asians are cooking. The smallest of them has agonising toothache. In the restaurant, Inga and Eva, two stewardesses, take their seats. Upstairs a young woman is visiting her grandfather. In the restaurant the neighbour, Hans the grocer, orders number 103, as he always does. The Little Chinese screams in pain. He is in Germany in search of his sister, but has neither money nor papers. Consequently, he cannot go to the dentist. – All summer long, the Ant lays in a stock of food while its neighbour, the Cricket, does nothing but play music. When winter comes, the Cricket begs the Ant for food, but the Ant refuses. – The Little Chinese’s tooth has already gone black. His compatriots decide to pull the tooth in the kitchen with a pipe wrench.
Part 2 Above »The Golden Dragon« restaurant the young woman tells her boyfriend that she is pregnant. In the kitchen, the extracted tooth flies through the air in a wide arc, landing in the wok. – The Ant has an idea to make money: it hires the Cricket out to other ants. The ants rape the Cricket. One of the Cricket’s clients is the young woman’s grandfather from The Golden Dragon. – In the restaurant, the stewardess Inga finds the Little Chinese’s half decayed tooth in her soup. The gap in the Little Chinese’s mouth where the tooth used to be does not stop bleeding.
Part 3 In the gap left by the extracted tooth sit his anxious family from China who want to know whether he has found his sister yet. At the grocer’s, the young woman’s boyfriend drowns his sorrows with Hans. He is frustrated because of the pregnancy. The grocer leaves the Cricket to the young man. The meeting gets out of hand. The young man destroys the Cricket. In the kitchen of The Golden Dragon, the Little Chinese bleeds to death. He did not find his sister. The four other Asians wrap his body in a rug and sink it in the river. On the bridge, Inga the stewardess stands with the Little Chinese’s tooth. She throws it into the river.