La violon de Rothschild
After Anton Chekhov’s novel
A revue-puppeteer and his partner invite an audience to their last show and
subsequent props-room sale. There isn’t much to sell, however: scrap metal,
cloaking cloth, a cello case, a washing trolley, articles of clothing, a fox skin and
“Marfa”, a marionette figure, who developes into the central character in the story.
Jakov, a poor coffin maker, loses his seventy-year-old wife. His consciousness “cracks
like a nut” when he realises that he had never really taken much notice of his wife and
that he has been ignoring the memory of his dead child. He realises that he has only ever
measured his own life in terms of material loss. The only thing of any value left in his pos-
session is his fiddle. He grieves for the instrument’s loneliness when he realises that he too
will soon be dead. Just before he dies, Jakov plays the pain out of his life.
The almost unabridged narrative presents the plainsong in a polyphonic surge of sound, with
dripping cloths, rattling and squeaking scrap and pattering steps. Argentinean tango, Russian
songs and extracts from Franz Schubert's C major string-quintets.
actress: Ines Müller-Braunschweig
puppets, performer and set: Frank Soehnle
direction and violocello: Christiane Zanger
Premiere: 21.1.1994, Sudhaus Tübingen