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David Lang

prisoner of the state

In June 2019 the New York Philharmonic presented the world première of David Lang’s opera prisoner of the state (conductor Jaap van Zweden). prisoner of the state is a semi-staged opera for concert halls telling the story of a woman who disguises herself as a prison guard to rescue her husband from unjust political imprisonment. With a libretto by the composer referring self-consciously to Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera, prisoner of the state features four principal roles: The Assistant, The Leader, The Prisoner, and The Jailor. The work gives striking prominence to a large male prisoner’s chorus in another reference to Beethoven’s opera.


Directed by Elkhanah Pulitzer; projections by Adam Larsen, lighting design Thom Weaver, costumes Malina Casta, and set by Matt Saunders.

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Prisoner of the State is the highlight of the Rotterdam opera festival O
de Volkskrant


17 May 2023, Anneliese Brost Musikforum, Bochum

20 May 2023, De Doelen, Rotterdam @ O festival

23 May 2023, Concertgebouw Brugge

3 June 2023, Malmö Opera, Malmö

4 June 2023, Malmö Opera, Malmö

22 July 2023, Festival Grec, Barcelona



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