Der Protagonist

Der Protagonist (The Protagonist) is an opera in one act by Kurt Weill op. 15. The German libretto was written by Georg Kaiser based on his own play of the same name of (1920).

Der Protagonist
Literaturoper by Kurt Weill
The composer in 1932
LibrettistGeorg Kaiser
27 March 1926 (1926-03-27)

Weill's first surviving opera has been described as Literaturoper, similar to Alban Berg's Wozzeck.

Performance history

It was first performed on 27 March 1926 at the Semperoper in Dresden, when it was directed by Josef Gielen and conducted by Fritz Busch. It was given again at the Städtische Oper in Berlin in October 1928 directed by Walter Brügmann and conducted by Robert Denzler, this time as a double bill with Der Zar lässt sich photographieren.

Post-war performances have included productions at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf in April 1958 (the first German post-war performance), directed by Friedrich Wilhelm Andreas and conducted by Friedrich Brenn; Santa Fe Opera from 31 July 1993, directed by Jonathan Eaton and conducted by George Manahan (coupled with Der Zar lässt sich photographieren). An Austrian premiere of the opera took place only on 17 November 2000, in a production of the MDW at Schloss Schönbrünn, directed by Sebastian Müller and conducted by Marino Formenti. It was followed by the Bregenz Festival from 21 July 2004, with the direction of Nicolas Brieger and conducted by Yakov Kreizberg (coupled with Royal Palace).


Role Voice type Premiere Cast, 27 March 1926
(Conductor: Fritz Busch)
The protagonist tenor Curt Taucher
His sister soprano Elisa Stünzner
First actor bass Robert Büssel
Second actor baritone Rudolf Schmalnauer
Third actor contralto Elfriede Haberkorn
The majordomo of the duke tenor Ludwig Eybisch
Young lord baritone Paul Schöffler
Innkeeper bass Adolf Schoepflin
Eight musicians


Weill: Der Protagonist - Berlin German Symphony Orchestra

  • Conductor: John Mauceri
  • Principal singers: Corby Welch, Matthias Koch, Alexander Marco-Buhrmester, Robert Worle, Jan Buchwald, Matteo de Monti, Johannes von Duisburg, Amanda Halgrimson
  • Recording date: 1 May 2002
  • Label: Capriccio - 60 086 (CD)


  • Amadeus Almanac, accessed 6 November 2008
  • Hinton, Stephen (1992), "Der Protagonist", The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, ed. Stanley Sadie (London) ISBN 0-333-73432-7
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