This story can be enjoyed tomorrow, next Thursday and Saturday, featuring nine solo singers, a women's choir and the Symphony Orchestra.


Tomorrow [Tuesday 7] the Auditorio de Tenerife premieres Der Zwerg (The Dwarf), by the Austrian composer Alexander von Zemlinsky, in a French co-production that comes to Spain for the first time. This story full of love and beauty can be enjoyed in the Symphony Hall today, at 7:30 p.m., on Thursday (9 March) and on Saturday (11 March). There are discounts for the audience under 30 years of age, students, unemployed, large families and groups of more than five people.

The proposal is being staged in Tenerife and produced among Opéra de Lille, Opéra de Rennes, Fondation Royaumont and Théâtre de Caen. It has Jeanneteau as a stage designer and a stage director. His team is completed by Marie-Christine Soma for lighting and Olga Karpinsky for costumes. For the Tenerife shows, the number of choir singers has increased, and their costumes have been made by the tailors of the Opera de Tenerife with the collaboration of the costume designer of the production.

The cast includes German soprano Mojca Erdmann as the Infanta Donna Clara, Bilbao tenor Mikeldi Atxalandabaso as the dwarf, Asturian soprano Beatriz Díaz as the princess's maid Ghita and German bass-baritone Philipp Jekal as the chamberlain Don Estoban. In addition, Russian soprano Nina Solodovnikova and Carmen Mateo from Alicante, and Russian mezzo-soprano Maria Ostroukhova will sing the roles of the maids. The Infanta's friends will be played by the Turkish-born soprano Ezgi Alhuda and the Australian mezzo-soprano Sophie Burns.

They are joined by some thirty female voices of the choir Coro Titular Ópera de Tenerife-Intermezzo. The Tenerife Symphony Orchestra will set this score from the last century to music with more than 60 musicians under the direction of the musical director of this season's title, Alessandro Palumbo.

Premièred in 1922, this opera is considered the most emblematic by the Austrian composer. The librettist, George Klaren, was a scriptwriter for Alfred Hitchcock. The show takes place in one act and narrates the celebration of the eighteenth birthday of the Infanta of Spain, Donna Clara. The gifts she receives notably include one from the Turkish Sultan: a deformed and ugly dwarf who sings and dances, which the Infanta greatly enjoys. So much so that she wants him to perform just for her.

The dwarf wrongly thinks that she has fallen in love with him. He tries to kiss her and she rejects him, calling him a monster. The Infanta orders Ghita, her favourite maid, to take him in front of a mirror so he can realise the reality of his situation. Due to his humble origins, raised with his family of coalmen in a cabin in the forest, the dwarf is unaware of his appearance. Upon seeing his reflection, he understands that the Infanta cannot love someone so ugly and unpleasant, and that he is only a source of fun for her.

The discovery of this harsh reality causes the dwarf to have a heart attack and dies.  When the Infanta sees him collapsed on the floor, she orders him to get up and dance for her. Ghita realises what has happened and informs the Infanta that it is not possible because the dwarf has suffered a broken heart.

The latter orders that, from that point on, nobody with a heart should enter the palace and join the party.

Alexander von Zemlinsky was madly in love with his composition student, the famous artist Alma Schindler, the future wife of Gustav Mahler. Initially, she responded to the feelings of love from Zemlinsky, but, ultimately, the relationship broke down, seemingly, due to family pressure. Der Zwerg has been interpreted as a metaphor for Zemlinsky's relationship with Schindler, who referred to the ugliness of the composer on several occasions.

The Birthday of the Infanta is one of the four stories compiled in the book of short stories A House of Pomegranates by Oscar Wilde. For this short story, the writer took inspiration from the dwarves of the Spanish court depicted by Velázquez.

The Opera de Tenerife is an initiative organised by the Island Council through the Auditorio de Tenerife with the collaboration of the ICDC (Regional Institute of Cultural Development) and the INAEM (National Institute of Performing Arts and Music).

The tickets are available on the website, at the auditorium's box office or by dialling the phone number 902 317 327 from Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 02:00 p.m.