The Star

2 sopranos, 2 mezzos, alto, tenor saxophone, trumpet, percussion, accordeon, electric guitar, violin and double bass
Universal Edition, Vienna

The first version of The Star was a chamber opera for female voices and seven instruments. It was composed in 1981, as a commission of National Theatre in Mannheim. The following realizations of the work took place in Theatre National de la Colline in Paris, Staatsoper Theater in Hamburg and National Opera House in Warsaw


1st version (1981)

2 sopranos, 2 mezzos, alto, tenor saxophone, trumpet, percussion, accordeon, electric guitar, violin and double bass
Libretto: Helmut Kajzar
Edition: Universal Edition, Vienna

World premiere: th April 1982, Nationaltheater Mannheim

Music direction: Donald Runnicles
Director: Peter Rasky

Soloists: Astrid Schirmer, Sabine Sipos

Commission: Nationaltheater Mannheim


Second version of The Star has been composed for a symphonic orchestra, choir and female voices. It was performed in Wroclaw Opera House in 1994.


2nd version (1994)

Soprano, mezzo, orchestra, choir and ballet

Libretto: Helmut Kajzar
Manuscript by the composer

First performance: 1th June 1994, Wroclaw Opera

Music direction: Zygmunt Krauze
Staging and direction: Stefan Szlachtycz

Soloists: Jolanta Żmurko, Elżbieta Kaczmarzyk

Commission: Ministerstwo Kultury i Sztuki, Warszawa


In the third version of the piece (2006) only one singer is performing. The role of instrumental ensemble and orchestra is here replaced by electronics, previously recorded vocalized all the orchestra parts by the singer performing the main role. Separately recorded parts are worked by the composer and set together to create a consistent with original orchestration script.

Besides the soloist on stage there are also two cameramen, who are recording and life-streaming her to big screens being a part of scenography.


3rd version (2006)

Soprano, computer and two cameramen

First performance: 19th January 2006, Polish Theatre, Wroclaw

Electroacoustic adaptation and music direction: Cezary Duchnowski
Soloist: Agata Zubel

Direction: Andrzej Makowiecki

Video: Stanisław Chwiszczuk
Costumes and scenography: Marek Stanilewicz


Following productions:

Premiere in Warsaw: 21st June 1985, National Theatre

Director: Wojciech Szulczyński
Music direction: Bogdan Hoffman

The Star: Halina Słonicka, Krystyna Szostek-Radkowa
Voice II: Wanda Bargielowska, Maria Olkisz
Voice III: Ewa Gawrońska, Hanna Zdunek
Voice IV: Krystyna Jaźwińska, Elżbieta Pańko
Voice V: Maria Olkisz, Maria Vranova

Premiere in Hamburg: 15th June 1986, Staatsoper

Staging and direction: Helmut Danninger
Music direction: Zygmunt Krauze

The Star: Hildegard Uhrmacher
Servant: Horst Schweimler
Actress: Simone Alex

Soloists Philharmonischen Staatsorchestrer: Christa Bohnhoff, Dorothea Nerlich-Kruse, Anne Pellekorne, Linda Plech, Martina Su

Premiere in Paris: June 1989, Theatre National de la Colline

Direction: Jorge Lavelli
Soloists: Viorica Cortez (mezzosoprano), Sylvie Valayre, Françoise Degeroges, Laure Mailfert, Denise Poray

Ensemble Musique Vivante
Zygmunt Krauze – conductor
Movie “The Star”
Director: Stefan Szlachtycz
TVP S.A. 1995, 50min
To the play by Helmuta Kajzara. Starring: Jolanta Żmurko.
Soloists and ensemble of Wroclaw Opera House

Nationaltheater Mannheim

The Star is a kind of inner monologue, a monodrama of an actress willing to redefine her identity. She desperately tries to remind herself roles she has played in the past, gestures, words and fragments of roles that have been already forgotten. It is a play about love and distance, fall and revival, about pain, rebellion and unshaken values, longing, memory, stupidity, beautiful dresses, actors and about everyone who, despite being conscious of their own restrictions and frailty, did not give up to call themselves a ‘human being’. It is a sublime point of view probably, but The Star is not afraid to play for the most serious rate – for the pathos, the opposite of which is ridiculous.


Helmut Kajzar