Der Prozess

Gottfried von Einem

Opera in two acts

Libretto by Boris Blacher and Heinz von Cramer based on the novel by Franz Kafka

Arrangement for small orchestra by Tobias Leppert


“Someone must have slandered Josef K, for one morning, without having done anything wrong, he was arrested.” This is the famous opening line of Franz Kafka’s novel Der Prozess (The Trial). Gottfried von Einem’s opera of the same name also begins with this mysterious arrest. Josef K. suddenly finds himself in a world he cannot understand, faced with an accusation of which he knows nothing but which seems perfectly clear to everyone else and yet remains inexplicable; with an absurd court case that nevertheless follows strict rules; with an arrest that appears to have no effect on his life yet still leads to his death. Is Josef K. the victim of a conspiracy, or is his belief in a conspiracy the only chance of explaining an incomprehensible world? Gottfried von Einem’s opera was first performed in 1953 when the popularity of Kafka’s work had reached its first peak. His music uses pulsing rhythms, recurring structures and echoes of jazz and twelve-tone music to describe the subtle terror of the novel, without losing sight of the grotesque humour of the source material. Today, 100 years after Kafka’s death and in a world of digital overindulgence and constant surveillance, we look at this trial in a radically different light. This performance, arranged by Tobias Leppert as a chamber opera, is a co-production with the Neue Oper Wien whose artistic director Walter Kobéra stages it together with Stefan Herheim.


In German with German and English surtitles

Introduction to the work 30 minutes before curtain-up



A co-production with

Neue Oper Wien © Neue Oper Wien


Supported by

Gottfried von einem Musik Privat Stiftung © Gottfried von einem Musik Privat Stiftung


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