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DAS KALKWERK. Oper in 9 Szenen nach einem Roman
von Thomas Bernhard und anderen Texten

Composer: Schneider, Stephan Marc
Lyricists: Berhard, Thomas
Playing time: 70:00
Opus/Year: (1998 )
Genre: Opera
Instrumentation: 4 Sgst, 2 Spr., Chor, Orch.


In the night of Christmas Eve night, Konrad shoots Konrdin dead with a rifle; she had been chained to a special chair due to illness. Wieser, Fro and the insurance agent speculate on the motives of Konrads bloody deed and on the details concerning the life of the strange couple. While the beautiful but crippled Konrdin has been utterly dependent on the help of her husband for many years, Konrad has only one goal in mind: he wants to finally write down his scientific study on hearing, a study which has been in preparation for many years. Until now he had been prevented from doing this by Konrdins insatiable need to travel, which took the couple from place to place. Now, however, the isolation in the lonely limestone quarry should finally make the longed-for concentration possible.
A flashback shows Konrad in the workroom of the quarry trying to write down his work, but his work is repeatedly interrupted. First, there is the noise of Hller chopping wood outside, then the building advisor appears for one of his pointless, time-consuming visits. Konrad and Konrdin continuously terrorise each other: he tortures her with linguistic experiments carried out with sadistic pedantry. Her endless desires and needs, on the other hand, give him no peace. In a dream, Konrad succeeds, with the greatest effort, in writing down his study. He sees himself slumbering, exhausted, over the completed work, when the door opens and his wife enters the room: Konrdin, healthy, young and fit as before, is furious over the secret completion of the study and throws the manuscript into the flames of the oven. In desperation, Konrad begins painting the limestone quarry black. After seven days of prolonged effort, everything is black even Konrdins room and the sick woman herself in her chair. This work completed, Konrad hurls himself into an abyss. Wieser, Fro and the insurance agent again discuss details of the tragedy in retrospect: Konrads hopeless poverty, Konrdins tasteless interior decoration and the circumstances under which his corpse was found after a two-day search. At one of his visits to the bank, Konrad is informed of the foreclosure of the quarry.
At home, he is engrossed in his reading while his wife sits in her special chair, knitting. In long, confused monologues, he ruminates over the feelings of happiness that scientific knowledge gives him. In the cold and dark room, she laments the years wasted on his pointless, never- completed work and asks for supper. Konrad and Konrdin desperately embrace and outside one again hears Hller who has started chopping wood again.