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Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin (Death and the Painter) is a ballet with singers in two acts by choreographer Bridget Breiner and composer, Michelle DiBucci. Set in 1940s France, the work concerns the creation of Leben? Oder Theater? [ de] (Life? Or Theater?) by the artist Charlotte Salomon (1917–1943) in 1941–1942 and her subsequent life and death in 1943 at the Drancy internment camp during the The Holocaust in France. [1] [2]


DiBucci originally conceived the work as an opera with a libretto by Marie and Klaus Pohl [ de]. They were commissioned by Marie Zimmermann [ de] to develop the work for the 2010 Ruhrtriennale. When Zimmermann died in 2007, the project was put on hold. [3] [4] DiBucci was next invited by choreographer Bridget Breiner to adapt the work for her ballet company, Ballet im Revier.

Performance history

The world premiere was on 14 February 2015 at Musiktheater im Revier, Gelsenkirchen, Germany with Michael Schulz as intendant. [1] [5] The work was then remounted at Musiktheater im Revier in their 2015/2016 season. [1] It was conducted both times by Finnish conductor and music director Valtteri Rauhalammi, leading the Neue Philharmonie Westfalen. [1]

Critical reception

Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin opened to positive reviews from the German press. Dorion Weickmann from Süddeutsche Zeitung praised the work by writing, "Can this subject matter be melded into a ballet soirée? Can dance meet the demands of that fragment of history? Gelsenkirchen's ballet director Bridget Breiner, together with the composer Michelle DiBucci, answered this question with a resounding, triumphant, yes!" [6]

Bernd Aulich wrote for the Recklinghäuser Zeitung [ de], "At Musiktheater im Revier, the spellbinding work of the New York composer, Michelle DiBucci, and the Gelsenkirchen Ballet Director, Bridget Breiner, in a celebrated premiere. Breiner and the large cast of highly motivated dancers, singers and musicians created a complex evening of exceptional intensity." [7]

Marieluise Jeitschko commented in Theater Pur, "Michelle DiBucci composed a gripping score for Breiner's ballet, with a brilliant stage set by Juergen Kirner. The Neue Philharmonie Wesphalia performed passionately under Valtteri Rauhalammi. The Ballet im Revier keeps raising its profile. All involved gained the respect of, and were celebrated by the audience attending the premiere." [8]


Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und die Malerin was nominated for two Faust Awards: Bridget Breiner for choreography (won), Kusha Alexi for lead dancer. [9]


The ballet is for 13 dancers, 6 singers and a chamber orchestra of 17 players.

Roles, premiere casts
Role [4] Premiere cast, 14 February 2015 2015/16 season cast
Charlotte Kusha Alexi Bridget Breiner
Death Jonathan Ollivier Jiří Jelínek
Paulinka Ayako Kikuchi Junior Demitre
Daberlohn Junior Demitre Ayako Kikuchi
Ensemble Fancesca Berruto, Nora Brown, Rita Duclos, Sara Zinna, Fabio Boccalatte, Ordep R. Chacon, Velentin Juteau, Hugo Mercier, Josè Urrutia Francesca Berruto, Rita Duclos, Tessa Vanheusden, Sara Zinna, Carlos Contreras, Valentin Juteau, Louiz Rodrigues, Ledian Soto, José Urrutia
1933 Solo Valentin Juteau Valentin Juteau
Kristallnacht Solo Francesca Berruto Francesca Berruto
Pfefferbäume Pas de Deux Nora Brown, Josè Urrutia Sara Zinna, Josè Urrutia
Grossmutter Solo Rita Duclos Rita Duclos
Grossvater Solo Hugo Mercier Carlos Contreras
Mezzo-soprano Anke Sieloff Anke Sieloff
Countertenor Thomas Diestler Thomas Diestler
Tenor Lars-Oliver Rühl Lars-Oliver Rühl
Baritone 1 Michael Dahmen Michael Dahmen
Baritone 2 Piotr Prochera Piotr Prochera
Bass Joachim G. Maass Joachim G. Maass


  1. ^ a b c d "Der Tod und die Malerin (WA)" (in German). Musiktheater im Revier. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  2. ^ "Uraufführung: Der Tod und die Malerin". halloherne. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  3. ^ "Recensie: DiBucci – Charlotte Salomon". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  4. ^ a b "Charlotte Salomon: Der Tod und Die Malerin". Musiktheater im Revier. Archived from the original on April 10, 2016. Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Bridget Breiner/Michelle DiBucci: Charlotte Salomon. Der Tod und die Malerin". Die Deutsche Bühne (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  6. ^ Weickmann, Dorion (17 February 2015). "Leben? Oder Tanztheater?". Süddeutsche Zeitung.
  7. ^ Aulich, Bernd (15 February 2015). "Schon jung im Bann des Todes". Recklinghäuser Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  8. ^ "Ein deutsches Schicksal in düsterster Zeit". (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  9. ^ Höving, Elisabeth. "Bridget Breiner erhält zum zweiten Mal den 'Faust'". Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung (in German). Retrieved 2016-02-19.