Schnitzler`s Dreams - an installative Opera

The performative opera installation „Schnitzler`s Dreams“ premiered at the newly renovated concert hall in Fredrikstad in August 2015. „Schnitzler‘s Dreams“ offers opera as a journey for the audience.

Based on texts by 19th century writer Arthur Schnitzler this work leads the audience into the depth of the unconsciousness. Similar to a hotel, this installation accommodates the different characters and the dreams worlds they carry within themselves. Like dream-walkers the characters move through the rooms, stairs and along hallways. Their emotional state and their thoughts are revealed when they sing inner monologues extracted from texts by Arthur Schnitzler, accompanied by live musicians in different constellations.

For this piece four young composers from Norway, Estonia, Iceland and Finland/Sweden arranged and composed 53 arias based on classical music. They open up a universe for the audience who moves freely through the spatial composition that the music forms in a building.

The world of dreams/ unconscious is the reality of this installation. Arthur Schnitzler was a writer and doctor to whom psychoanalysis played an important role. For 56 years he wrote down his dreams. These dream-notes, together with figures from other texts by him are used as inspiration. The characters and their inner conflicts are extracted from their stories. The aim is to find out if it is possible to create a waking dream in which the audience can move freely in a whole building with lots of staircases and rooms. This work explores where reality and fantasy can meet and how it is possible to keep the quality and character of fantasies within reality. With the help of music which escapes the intellect, and transports emotions directly, the result can be called an „installative opera“.

The piece is developed in such a way that it will adjust easily to new locations and can take a new site specific form.


For video documentation please contact Mareike Dobewall here.

Concept and Direction:
Mareike Dobewall

Scenography and Costumes:
Mareike Dobewall
Ylva Owren and Heidi Dalene

Tonje Hernes (Fräulein Else)
Cecilia Damström (Felix from „Dying“)
Evelin Seppar (Genia from „An undiscovered country“)
Gísli Jóhann Grétarsson (Arthur from Arthur Schnitzler‘s „Dream Diary“ and „Contemplations“)

Soprano: Ida Gudim as Fräulein Else
Mezzo-Soprano: Mari Askvik as Genia Hofreiter
Tenor: Øystein Stensheim as Felix
Baritone: Eirik Krokfjord as Arthur Schnitzler
Contrabass: Matias Askvik
Cello: Sverre Kyvik Bauge
Violin: Moa Meinich
Accordion: Anastassia Mishenkina

Ida Holthe Lid
Nela Hustak Kornetová
Kaja Mærk Egeberg

Thanks to:
Ib Aarmo
Konrad Kuhn
Serge von Arx
Sabrina Hölzer
Loriana Casagrande
Heidi Dalene
Anders Firing Aardal
Øystein Elle
Louise Höjer

Supported by:
Bibliotheket Fredrikstad
Norwegian Theatre Academy
Fredrikstad Kommune
Cultural Endowment of Estonia
Kulturfond for Finland and Norway
Stiftelsen Thomas Fearnley Heddy og Nils Astrup
Skipsreder Tom Wilhelmsens stiftelse