Nuit funèbre

Tatev Monastery, Armenia / © Jeremy Suyker / ITEM

Trauernacht (Night of Mourning)

Opera Festival

Extracts from cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach - Director : Katie Mitchell / Conductor : Simon-Pierre Bestion de Camboulas

  • Célestins, Théâtre de Lyon
  • 1 hour 15 minutes
  • In German
  • Subtitled

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Based on extracts from little-known Bach cantatas, the director Katie Mitchell has put together, along with conductor Raphaël Pichon, the storyline for an unpublished work. A magnificent meditation on death, performed at Lyon’s Célestins Theatre.

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À propos

Around the family dining table, four siblings reunite after their father's death. A family secret will be revealed through a letter. As they alternate between astonishment, sadness, anger and resilience, every one of them will have to confront their feelings about childhood, mourning and death. 

Secular cantata 
Bach composed no less than 200 cantatas during his prolific career, almost all of them for the parish of Leipzig and sometimes at the rate of one per week (!). On the other hand, he did not compose any operas, something that Katie Mitchell has now remedied with Trauernacht. The director has created a musical and dramatic arc from a patchwork of extracts from little-known cantatas. From there, Trauernacht is presented as a secular cantata for five singers and 11 instrumentalists, a meditation on death, which testifies to the palette of emotions at work in Bach, between the despair of doubt and the comfort of faith. Using the psychology of the characters, this work by Mitchell, who has already transferred The Passion according to Saint-Matthew to the stage, is composed of precise movements and gestures that support the dramatic dimension of the whole.

Extracts from cantatas by Johann Sebastian Bach (BWV 60, 46, 82, 90, 127, 146, 159, 169, 668)

Revival of the 2014 production at the Aix-en-Provence Festival

Co-production with the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Dutch National Opera Amsterdam, Bordeaux National Opera, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.
With support from ENOA (ENOA is a beneficiary of the European Union’s culture programme)
Co-production with MC2 in Grenoble
Co-production with the Célestins Theatre in Lyon

Voir aussi

  • Raphaël Pichon


  • Nuit funèbre (Trauernacht) © Patrick Berger


  • Nuit funèbre (Trauernacht) © Patrick Berger


  • Nuit funèbre (Trauernacht) © Patrick Berger


  • Nuit funèbre (Trauernacht) © Patrick Berger




Katie Mitchell


Simon-Pierre Bestion

Sets and Costumes

Vicki Mortimer


James Farncombe

Revival Director

Robin Tebbutt

Why we love it

Trauernacht is both a sort of best-of of Bach's hidden treasures and a work in its own right.

Why we love it

The piece is the only opera 'by' Bach that we will ever hear.

Why we love it

The Lyon Opera House has partnered with the Célestins Theatre, where Trauernacht will be performed.

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