The Sandman

The S

Opera by Anna Calvi and Robert Wilson / Based on the story of the same name by E.T.A. Hoffmann / Directed by Charlotte Sprenger
Charlotte Sprenger
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"The Sandman" is not the little Sandman who sends “a loving goodnight as each child goes to bed”. This one throws gritty sand in your eyes. And if a child doesn’t want to go to sleep, he rips their eyes out. That’s the story told by E.T.A. Hoffmann in his famous masterpiece, which is somewhere between a darkly romantic horror story and a veritable nightmare. Following “The Black Rider” – three decades earlier with William S. Burroughs and Tom Waits – this is the second time that theatre magician and precision artist Robert Wilson has turned to gothic romance. E.T.A. Hoffmann’s dark tale “The Sandman”, the key text of his night pieces, is combined with the music of a grandiose British singer-songwriter Anna Calvi to make a Black Mirror Opera, which strikes out to pay an enchanting and unsettling visit to the dark side of the moon and the soul. Which childhood traumas return to you in your dreams? Where does the madness begin and how does it seize your life? What happens when the sneaking-scary practice of the alchemist meets the opaque pragmatism of modern AI research? Can we still believe our eyes? How can a wind-up music box stay in its rhythm?


“The Sandman” is director Charlotte Sprenger’s first production on the main stage at Thalia after previously staging “Before the Feast” by Saša Stanišic and most recently “The Politicians” by Wolfram Lotz on the Gaußstraße stage. 


Premiere in March 2022, Thalia Theater