Denis & Katya

Philip Venables

Amplified opera in two acts

Libretto by Ted Huffman
German version by Robert Lehmeier

Austrian premiere


A “Romeo and Juliet” tale in the age of social media: Two Russian teenagers hide in a hut to get away from their parents. When they are found by police the situation escalates – and Denis and Katya share their conflict with the world on social media. The real actors and their worldwide viewership spur each other on. The lines between digital perception and reality become blurred. What in the virtual world appears to be a game becomes deadly earnest. At the end, the two youngsters are dead. Denis & Katya is based on a true story which the British composer Philip Venables and his librettist Ted Huffman have adapted as a dense and intense work of musical theatre that was first performed in 2019 in Philadelphia. One mezzo-soprano and one baritone slip into the roles of various witnesses to reconstruct this teenage tragedy. The principal protagonists, Denis and Katya, only appear in these reports, overlaid by internet posts, WhatsApp messages, electro-acoustic sounds and an ensemble consisting of four cellos. All this combines to create a gripping piece of opera for our times that goes beyond the actual events themselves.


In German

Introduction to the work 30 minutes before curtain-up


Stroboscopic effects (flashes of light) will be used during the performance. Under certain circumstances, certain flash frequencies can trigger seizures in epileptics and people at risk of epilepsy.



Discovery package