STORY BY: CORNELIA FUNKE
COMPOSER: JAMES REYNOLDS
LIBRETTO: CHRISTOPHE KLIMKE
Ghost Knight (Geisterritter-German) offers a kaleidoscope of scenic possibilities for the opera, the theater, and the audience. The concept is contemporary, family orientated, Music Theater using an orchestra, on-stage musicians, a children's choir with cinematic interludes, special effects and immersive sound quality. The horror and more Gothic aspects of the story are made more accessible for families and general audiences in that they are presented as caricatures of evil personalities as in the style of films such as Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, or The Addams Family. Also with the chief bad guy, Lord Stourton cast as a countertenor, not only do we break an established opera cliché, the very nature of the countertenor adds a droll aspect.
Comic relief is provided in the form of a frog choir, with their rap interludes, slapstick mischief-making, posing as heroes and generally getting in the way.
Bestseller author Cornelia Funke had another hit with her 2011 children’s novel Ghost Knight. Now the boarding school adventure story is also well on its way to becoming a bestselling opera. This large-scale stage work already received its world premiere at Theater Bonn in December 2017 as part of the co-operation Junge Opern Rhein-Ruhr and can now be enjoyed at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein as a theatrical experience suitable for all generations.
An Immersive Opera Thriller, Based on Cornelia Funke’s novel.
If "hearing with the eyes" is worth it, then listening with the ears is especially worth it. To be experienced are all the nuances from garish to intimate, all sorts of percussion, glockenspiel, electronic music of the spheres, movie music, big-band sound, rap, chamber music, borrowing from musicals, even perfectly fashioned arias.... This top-notch spine-chiller certainly has what it takes to become a repertoire opera for the whole family.
In the staging by Erik Petersen, the piece offers tempo, action, groovy music, and an exciting story. Here one is greatly entertained for nearly two hours, and indeed at the highest level.... For there is one thing that you cannot skimp on – as rather convincingly shown by the Bonn production of Ghost Knights – if you want to make opera accessible to new audiences: quality.... The powerful orchestra is the fitting medium for Reynold’s colorful and effective music.... Ghost Knights in Bonn is fun and the trip is worth it – for the whole family.
Enough material to make tricks through to the happy end. This succeeds impressively. Reynolds understands how to atmospherically use entirely different musical influences. Not only that seven percussionists in the orchestra pit were anything but underemployed, he also works with neat thriller effects in the violins, for example, that brings to mind Bernard Herrmann’s music to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho.