Composer: Müller-Wieland, Jan
Lyricists: Heidenreich, Elke
Playing time: 7:00
Opus/Year: (2003)
Genre: Opera
Instrumentation: 1 Mezzo, 2 T, 1 Bassbariton, 1 stumme Rolle 5 Tempelbl, Vibr, FernTrpt
Premiere performance: 15.11.2003 / D


Mr. Berner has been a widower for a short time and deeply mourns his departed wife – not least because she has taken all the important household secrets with her to the grave: what is the recipe for lentil soup, how do you descale a kettle and – most importantly – how do you iron shirts? Grumpy and sullen, he tries to get his household in shape and regularly visits his wife’s grave; he laments his suffering to her. Mrs. Klotz, his neighbour, rarely leaves her “post” at the window and is therefore best informed of all the major and minor events on her street. All too ready to be of assistance, she offers him her help – Mr. Berner prefers to refuse her offer. Then Mr. Berner discovers the Chinese laundry. The friendly Chinese owner answers his distrustful question as to whether they also wash and iron shirts as follows: “ ... bling tomollow – ready day after tomollow.” The next day Mr. Berner comes to the laundry with a large package of shirts and, after all kinds of unfriendly inquiries, ascertains that in fact the name “Berner” is on the laundry slip, not “Bellnell,” for example. The next day Mr. Berner goes to the laundry to fetch his clean clothes. But when the packet is handed to him, Mr. Berner is overcome with suspicion that …