Composition Commission issued to Michel Roth

Gare du Nord, Basel, Switzerland


“Die künstliche Mutter” (The Artificial Mother) is a new piece of music theater by the composer Michel Roth based on Hermann Burger’s novel of the same name. It can be situated in the realm between independent and “composed theater”. The libretto consists of a prolog, ten scenes and an epilog.

Hermann Burger’s novel was written in the 1980s at the time of the opening of the Gotthard Tunnel road link. His fantasy-burlesque patient’s novel, crossed with an equally esoteric and ironic story of self-discovery, is fascinatingly topical, especially in the year of the opening of the NEAT base tunnel in 2016.

The musical conception of this work, that is supported by the EvS Music Foundation, does not feature an orchestra’s pit. The instrumental ensemble will always be visible on the stage. This makes it possible for individual role changes and the flexible integration of the singing parts into the instrumental ensemble. Elaborated jointly with the director Nils Torpus, the performance score gives both musical and scenic directions. Here director Jürg Henneberger plays a central role, also in his silent role as Colonel of General Staff Gadient.

This means Michel Roth’s work can certainly be described as a fully composed score, however not in the conventional sense but rather as a fully structured sequence in score form. New Music plays a key role here in a varied and flexible dramaturgical form.


August 20 – September 10
Lucerne Festival, Lucerne

From October 20, 2016
Gare du Nord, Basel

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