A musical Play on Words

Generously supported by the Hochschule für Musik “Hanns Eisler” and the Norwegian Embassy in Berlin

Concept by: Evan Gardner und Michael Höppner

Music by: John Cage, Pierluigi Billone, Naomi Pinnock, Unsuk Chin, 

Iannis Xenakis, und Edgar Varèse

Opera Lab Berlin’s own take on George Bernard Shaw’s „Pygmalion“, Words presents the story of Henry Higgins and Eliza Doolittle within a confused language that itself must be divided, expanded, and reinvented. Against a backdrop of concert pieces for chamber ensemble and voice, texts are renounced of all meaning as parts of speech are broken down through verbal acrobatics into their musical components.

Instrumentation: Two sopranos, mezzo-soprano, baritone, actor, 

five-voice male choir, orchestra

Musical direction: Manuel Nawri

Director: Michael Höppner

Stage-design: Yassu Yabara

Costume-design: Kerstin Grießhaber

Director of Choir: Stelios Chatziktoris

Makeup: Martin Rink

Duration: ca. 1h30

Photography: Martin Koos ©

Bettina Gfeller: Sopran / Soprano, Eliza Doolittle

Rainer Killius: Bariton / Baritone / Baryton, Henry Higgins

Yuka Yanagihara: Sopran / Soprano, Oberst Pickering

Natalia Pschenitschnikova: Mezzosopran / Mezzo-soprano, Mrs. Pearce

Philipp Mayer: Schauspieler, Galerist / Acteur, Galeriste

Georg Bochow, Stelios Chatziktoris, Philipp Mayer, 

Harald Bakkeby Moe, Emil Roijer: Chorsänger / Choir / Choristes

Shin Joo Morgantini: 
Flöte / Flute / Flûte

Martin Danek: Oboe / Hautbois

Florentine Simpfendörfer: Klarinette / Clarinet / Clarinette

Martin Möhler: Klarinette / Clarinet / Clarinette— Bassklarinette / Bass Clarinet / Clarinette Basse

Florian Bensch: Fagott / Bassoon / Basson

Evdoxia Filippou: Schlagzeug / Percussion

Alexandros Giovanos: Schlagzeug / Percussion

Maria Bogdanova: Mandolin / Mandoline

Franka Herwig: Akkordeon / Accordion / Accordéon

Annamaria Steinkogler: Harfe / Harp / Harpe

Alba Gentili-Tedeschi: Klavier / Piano

Sarah Saviet: Violine / Violin / Violon

HannaH Walter: Violine / Violin / Violon

Monika Grimm: Viola / Alto

Martin Smith: Violoncello / Violoncelle

Dina Bolshakova: Violoncello / Violoncelle

Beltane Ruiz: Kontrabass / Contrebasse

John Cage

Litany for the whale: 

Text by Composer  

Pierluigi Billone 

Quattro Alberi: 

Text by Emily Dickinson, Four Trees 

Naomi Pinnock 


Text by Composer 

Unsuk Chin 


Text by L.Caroll, 

Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There 

and M. Ende, The Neverending Story 

Iannis Xenakis 


Text by Composer 

Edgar Varèse 

Un grand sommeil noir: 

Text by P. Verlaine