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20 May - 03 June 2020

The Sandman

Music Theatre Opera
Scandinavian premiere
Past events:

​Hoffmann's horror story in a production by theatrical legend Robert Wilson.   

What happens to children who won't go to bed? The wicked Sandman comes and throws sand into their eyes, so that they start bleeding from their heads. And what if you never quite could shake off that nightmare?  

Robert Wilson directs The Sandman, a terrible tale from German Romanticism by E.T.A. Hoffman, often considered one of the very first horror story writers. The music is by British dramatic rock singer songwriter Anna Calvi and performed by the Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus ensemble with the German star singer and actor Christian Friedel in the lead.  

Friedel plays the role of Nathanael, who loses his father in a mystical explosion. The little boy is convinced that the tragic event must be related to the wicked Sandman. Even as an adult, Nathanael can never let the gruesome bedtime story go.  

The Sandman is filled with enchanted eye glasses, living dolls and magic fire, and said to be one of Robert Wilson's greatest productions. His subtle light compositions, precise movements and bold stage settings blur the line between reality and delusion in one of the 2019 Festival's signature productions. 

Photo: Lucie Jansch



​2 h 30 min incl. interval


  • Standard: 250/600/800
  • Senior: 225/540/720
  • Under 30: 190
  • FiB Fordel until 11 March: 175/420/560
  • FiB Fordel from 12 March: 200/480/640

Purchase ticket


Performed in German and English, titled in English. 


  • ​by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Robert Wilson and Anna Calvi 
  • Robert Wilson direction, design, lighting 
  • Anna Calvi music 
  • Jacques Reynaud costume design 
  • Jherek Bischoff musical arrangements 
  • Ann-Christin Rommen co-direction 
  • Annick Lavallée-Benny set design 
  • Alexander Djurkov-Hotter assistant costume design 
  • Scott Bolman assistant lighting design 
  • Manu Halligan make up-design 
  • Tomasz Jeziorski video 
  • Janine Ortiz dramaturgy 
  • Christian Friedel, Lou Strenger, Jonas Friedrich Leonhardi, Rainer Philippi, Rosa Enskat, Andreas Grothgar, Konstantin Lindhorst, Yi-An Chen, Alexej Lochmann, André Kaczmarczyk cast 
  • Zuzana Leharová violin, keyboard 
  • Radek Stawarz viola 
  • Nathan Bontrager cello 
  • Bernd Keul double bass 
  • Annette Maye clarinet, bass clarinet 
  • Achim Fink tuba, trombone 
  • Roger Schaffrath guitar, mandolin 
  • Tim Dudek drums, electronic 
  • Frank Schulte sound design 
  • Produced by Unlimited Performing Arts, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus and Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen

Produced by

​Unlimited Performing Arts, Düsseldorfer Schauspielhaus, Ruhrfestspiele Recklinghausen

Music by

    • ​Calvi


    • ​The Sandman by E.T.A. Hoffmann, Robert Wilson and Anna Calvi


H. Westfal-Larsen and Hustru Anna Westfal-Larsens Almennyttige Fond       

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