Die Bernauerin

Carl Orff nachdenklich

Carl Orff: “In me, the decision to write a new Bernauerin grew.”

1942: Carl Orff started writing “Die Bernauerin” for his daughter. In his eight-volume documentation “Carl Orff und sein Werk” (Carl Orff and his Work) (published by Hans Schneider, Tutzing), he wrote: “Godela performed Hebbel’s play to great acclaim from the audience and the press. I resolved to write a new Bernauerin, a Bavarian play, a festival for Munich.”

In her book “Mein Vater Carl Orff und ich” (My Father Carl Orff and I), Godela Orff mentioned the high standards that Carl Orff had for the performances of “Die Bernauerin”: “He wanted this figure to be formed entirely from ‘being’, based on her presence, without the ‘appearance’ of helpful outward facades. Agnes is almost completely silent presence during the first part of the play, which demanded absolute concentration on the idea of ‘being there’, relying on charisma.”

Godela Orff in the leading role of Agnes at the premiere of “Die Bernauerin” on 14 June 1947, Württembergisches Staatstheater Stuttgart.

1947: Godela Orff in der Titelrolle als Agnes bei der Uraufführung der Die Bernauerin am 14. Juni. Württembergische Staatstheater Stuttgart. Die Schwäbische Landeszeitung über die Uraufführung am 20.06.1947 in Stuttgart: „Aus Godela Orff sprach das Urgeheimnis der bayerischen Lautmalerei in ihrer rhythmischen Biegsamkeit und Klangfülle aus jedem Absatz: Sie war eine Bernauerin, die aus dem jahrhundertealten bayerischen Mimus und Dialekt ihre Gewalt bezog – eine beglückende Verkörperung dieser Rolle.“

Hörprobe  “The little song that the Bernauerin sung with a sense of foreboding …” Cited from the book Godela Orff,  Mein Vater Carl Orff und ich (My Father Carl Orff and I).

 

Last scene from Die Bernauerin. Premiere Württembergisches Staatstheater Stuttgart, 1947

A piece of history: In 1947, two years after Germany lost World War II, Carl Orff’s “Die Bernauerin” was premiered. “Die Neue Zeitung, Eine Amerikanische Zeitung für die Deutsche Bevölkerung” (the American newspaper for the people of Germany) featured Godela Orff on its front page and wrote: “Godela Orff, the daughter of composer Karl Orff, performed the title role in her father’s new work, ‘Die Bernauerin’, in Stuttgart to great acclaim.” (Photo: Laun)

An impressive document: Godela Orff on the front page of Neue Zeitung, 1947
The final scene in “Die Bernauerin”. Premiere at Württembergisches Staatstheater Stuttgart, 1947

Godela Orff played the Bernauerin for ten years in Munich at Prinzregententheater. it was here that the play was at long last performed as a festival play, just as her father had wished, wrote Godela Orff in her book “Mein Vater Carl Orff und ich” (My Father Carl Orff and I).

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