Kapitän Nemos Bibliothek

von Johannes Kalitzke

In a small village in Northern Sweden – a world of poverty and bigoted religiosity – two boys are born in 1934. They grow up together as friends. Remarkably, each of them is the spitting image of the other boy’s mother. Finally, an examination reveals that they were switched at birth, and a court rules that the two boys have to be »swapped back«. This leads to tragedy, as the »right« life is revealed as the wrong one, ending in a cycle of violence and madness. In his novel ›Captain Nemo’s Library‹, Per Olov Enquist tells a story about borderline experiences of memory which is equally fascinating and disturbing. The composer Johannes Kalitzke chose this tale for his seventh opera, which was co-commissioned by the Schwetzingen Festival and the Bregenz Festival. After the world premiere in April 2022 by Ensemble Modern under Johannes Kalitzke’s baton at the Rococo Theatre in Schwetzingen, the opera will be performed at the Festspielhaus in Bregenz in July 2022. Julia Hochstenbach transformed the novel into a libretto that is open to many interpretations, revolving around the story’s central issue: how can we bear the loss of love, intimacy and trust, and the pain inflicted by these losses? The director Christoph Werner is developing a staging concept which focuses on an atmospherically dense »space of memory«, leading performers, puppets and puppeteers through the many layers of the work’s ambivalence and illustrating the continuous transitions between reality and a dream world.


Rehearsals in Schwetzingen
Rehearsals in Schwetzingen