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    (Photo: Bajazzo Road Opera © Sebastian Mayer)

Bajazzo Road Opera

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Almost exactly 125 years after the premiere of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s opera I Pagliacci (Bajazzo), the verismo opera is given a post-dramatic update in the Kudamm Karree in Berlin. The Kurfürstendamm is a place where imaginary and real spaces intermesh, a place anchored in the history of the city and its theaters. Blueprints and the quiet decay of what were high-flying visions of the future mark this street. It is a street consumed by consumer culture, trampled over by swarms of tourists and inhabited by residents who take in all these changes with doubtful eyes. Bajazzo Road Opera, a collaboration between Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop, director Ludger Engels and musician and actor Thomas Mahmoud, finds its roots in this intermediate space.

The opera, a warhorse of the Italian repertory, is a surprising choice of material for an ensemble such as Kaleidoskop, known and celebrated for genre-defying music theater productions. The story itself is short and tragic. A theater piece about jealousy turns into a bloody reality, the tragic clown Bajazzo kills his great love, his existence is shattered. For an audience of Leoncavallo’s time, the idea that daily life could mix with the events on the stage was shocking and called that which could be considered theater into question. The prologue itself warns, “the tears we shed [on stage] are false”.

Bajazzo Road Opera transforms this situation, this tension between theater and reality, into a musical performance. Thomas Mahmoud becomes the voice and eyes of Bajazzo lost in a media maelstrom, a remaining, exhausted fragment of his past. He and the instrumentalists from Kaleidoskop embody the fragmented emotional states of Bajazzo as he moves through the corridors and rooms of the Kudamm Karree, sweeps over the streets of the city by night and falls against his will into a whirlpool of feelings that he does not understand, yet obeys.

Bajazzo Road Opera unfolds slowly in lengthy, leisurely series of performances. The work meanders over 12 hours through and in the Kudamm Karee and leaves in its wake a visual and sonic installation that can be visited by day. The performances and video streams are modules out of which each audience member can put together their own personal Bajazzo experience. It is open at all hours for visitors that come and go for one, two or twelve hours at their pleasure, “on the road” and accompanied by a troupe of traveling actors of the present moment.

Bajazzo Road Opera
by Ludger Engels, Tilman Kanitz, Thomas Mahmoud
after Ruggero Leoncavallo Pagliacci

Direction: Ludger Engels
Musical direction: Thomas Mahmoud, Tilman Kanitz
Dramaturgy: Roland Quitt
Costume: Pam Hogg/Couture
Video design: Rodrik Biersteker
Sound design: Ole Brolin, Florian Fischer
Light and technical direction: Jurgen Kolb
Direction assistance: Jan Maagh
Costume collaboration and assistance: Nora Scheve
Cameras: Eva Pisana, Stephan Talneau

Art direction: Benjamin Pollach
Photography: Sebastian Mayer
Press: k3 berlin – Kontor für Kultur und Kommunikation

Music and performance: Thomas Mahmoud, Solistensemble Kaleidoskop

Music: Ruggero Leoncavallo Pagliacci, 1892, Recomposition: Tilman Kanitz and Thomas Mahmoud, 2017
Music soloperformances: Ludger Engels, Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop

Performance | Friday, May 5, 08:00 pm to Saturday, May 6, 08:00 am
Installation | Saturday, May 6, 08:00 am to 08:00 pm (free entrance)
Performance | Saturday, May 6, 08:00 pm to Sunday, May 7, 08:00 am
Installation | Sunday, May 7, 08:00 am to 08:00 pm (free entrance)


Kudamm Karree / Emmaline
Kurfürstendamm 206–209
10719 Berlin

Admission to Bajazzo Road Opera is via the fire lane (German: Feuerwehrzufahrt) right next to the Komödie am Kurfürstendamm (Kurfürstendamm 206). After the second barrier you will find a freight elevator and a staircase marked “TREPPE O” to your left.

Bajazzo Road Opera – Kurfürstendamm 206

Bajazzo Road Opera – Kurfürstendamm 206

Bajazzo Road Opera – Feuerwehrzufahrt

Bajazzo Road Opera – Feuerwehrzufahrt

Bajazzo Road Opera – TREPPE O

Bajazzo Road Opera – TREPPE O


A production by Solistenensemble Kaleidoskop. Financially supported by the Capital Cultural Fund and the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

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Press contact:
k3 berlin – Kontor für Kultur und Kommunikation
Email: bureau@k3berlin.de
Tel.: +49 (0)30 695 695 24