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
Foto: Emma Szabó
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Come on lay me down in the hurricane

We’re gonna dance insane in the pouring rain Anna Calvi


A large ballroom with a long, lavishly decorated buffet table, floral decorations, a stage set for a dance band and many empty seats, which – like the butler – is ready to receive guests. Who sent the invitations and who is invited? What celebration is bringing them all together? Is it a banquet? A family party? An engagement? A funeral? A conjuring of spirits?

‘The Sandman’ is E.T.A. Hoffmann’s most famous masterpiece, between a darkly romantic horror story and a tangible nightmare, creating the core of his nocturne. In this new version, created in a collaboration between theatre wizard and precision artist Robert Wilson and the grandiose British singer-songwriter Anna Calvi, Hoffmann’s story becomes a ‘dark opera’, which pays an enchanting, disconcerting visit to the dark side of the moon and the soul. The dream logic dominates the musical séance. Like a picture puzzle, different realities and time domains interlock and fade into each other. A childhood trauma returns. And a veritable new trauma turns the lives of all of the participants completely upside down.


Director Charlotte Sprenger has previously staged ‘Before the Feast’ by Saša Stanišic´ and “The Politicians” by Wolfram Lotz at Gaußstraße, where she opened this current season with ‘Savoy Hotel’ by Joseph Roth. ‘The Sandman’, which was originally scheduled to premiere in March 2022 but had to be postponed, will have its premiere on the main stage.



January 2023, Thalia Theater