Philippe Manoury, Kein Licht

Philippe Manoury, Kein Licht

An eagerly expected creation already rewarded by an international prize. The work inspired by the Fukushima disaster is the fruit of Philippe Manoury and Nicolas Stemann based on a text by Elfriede Jelinek, the author of The Piano Teacher and Nobel Prize in literature.

Kein Licht. Thinkspiel for actors, instrumentalists and electronic music in real time based on a text by Elfriede Jelinek. Commissioned by the Opéra Comique. World premiere on 25 August 2017 as part of the Ruhrtriennale, Germany.

On 11 March 2011 the eastern coast of Japan is devastated by an earthquake and the resulting tsunami. The cooling systems of the nuclear power plant in Fukushima fall off, the cores of two reactors melt. The implications are gigantic as to the role of nuclear energy policy worldwide.

Committed and moralistic, Nobel Prize laureate Elfriede Jelinek soon wrote Kein Licht, a variation of monologues expressing terror, grief, loss and anger in a highly musical writing. Nicolas Stemann is familiar with her texts which he often stages. Philippe Manoury works on the interaction between acoustics and computing and explores new forms of musical theater.

With Kein Licht, Stemann and Manoury organize a meeting between text theater and theater music composed beforehand or in real time. They offer us a visual and polyphonic reflection, which is also interactive and humorous, on the place of technology in our lives and the place of life in the face of technology. 

Production in German with supertitles.

Video about the process of an opera making

Synopsis: The polyphonic text Kein Licht is a dialogue between characters lost in space and time in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Striving to reconstruct themselves, these characters exchange words of suffering, loss and tragedy, sometimes with much humor. Neither exactly an opera nor a SingspielKein Licht is a “thinkspiel”, that is a play on thought. This musical production aims to make us think about the issues of our time. Theater and music will be created before you and will result from a common and live elaboration as rarely seen previously.

Have a look at an excerpt of the score - module IIIb


Philippe Manoury - Kein Licht
World premiere: 18 October 2017
Opéra Comique
United Instruments of Lucilin 
Sarah Maria Sun
Olivia Vermeulen
Christina Daletska
Lionel Peintre
Thomas Goepfer, Computer music director - IRCAM
Nicolas Stemann, director
Julien Leroy, conductor

Philippe Manoury - Kein Licht
Thinkspiel on texts by Elfriede Jelinek
Dutch premiere: June 24, 25 & 26, 2022 (Holland Festival - Amsterdam)
Ensemble United Instruments of Lucilin
Nicolas Stemann, stagging
Katharina Schubert, Niels Bormann, actors
Mélanie Boisvert, soprano
Christina Daletska, mezzo-soprano
Olivia Vermeulen, mezzo-soprano
Lionel Peintre, baritone
Julien Leroy, conductor
Augustin Muller, RIM
Philippe Manoury, sound mix

More information...

On 2 May 2021, United Instruments of Lucilin will give a concert at the Philharmonie du Luxembourg to celebrate its 20th anniversary: two decades of creations, musical discoveries and ensemble stories are all reasons to celebrate, to take a look back and move forward with works dedicated to musicians and two world premieres including Kein Licht Suite by Philippe Manoury based on his opera Kein Licht.

Philippe Manoury - Kein Licht Suite
mezzo-soprano, ensemble & electronic
World premiere : 10 May 2021
Philharmonie du Luxembourg
United Instruments of Lucilin
Christina Daletska, mezzo-soprano

Julien Leroy,
More information...

Consult the score on ISSUU: 


Watch the video interview produced by the ensemble with the composer: