The Falun Mine

Falun Mine, The
In December 1949, Heinz Hilpert produced a radio play version of Hugo von Hofmannsthal's Das Bergwerk zu Falun for Bavarian Radio, featuring among others Maria Wimmer with music by Hans Werner Henze. This first radio play music by Henze is now available in the ARD radio play database.

Music for the radio play by Heinz Hilpert
based on a text by Hugo von Hofmannsthal

Year of composition 1949
Radio play duration 81 minutes

Original broadcast


Original broadcast 30.12.1949
Bayerischer Rundfunk



The composer could not remember this work exactly, and so wrote in his autobiography: "In January 1950, I don't remember exactly when, I went to Munich with Hilpert and produced a radio play music for him - I have also forgotten what the piece was called. Maria Wimmer was one of the readers, the next day I saw her again on the plane to Berlin (...)." (Hans Werner Henze: Reiselieder mit böhmischen Quinten, Frankfurt 1996, p. 105)

In January 1950, however, the Constance theatre where Hilpert was Henze's boss had already been closed due to bankruptcy.


Hugo von Hofmannsthal


The Mine at Falun

Original Das Bergwerk zu Falun (Schauspiel)

Adaption (word) Heinz Hilpert

Composition Hans Werner Henze


Shortly before his wedding in 1677, the miner Fet Matts Israelsson disappeared in the Swedish copper mine of Falun. It was not until 42 years later that his body was found in the mine tunnel. Because the copper vitriol had completely preserved his body, his widow was still able to identify him. This metaphor for the idea of "eternal youth" and a "leap in time" became the model for adaptations by numerous authors, such as Johann Peter Hebel, E.T.A. Hoffmann, Georg Trakl, or Franz Fühmann, but the simile of the preserved corpse also appears in the stories of glacier corpses in the Alps that reappear immaculately preserved after decades, for example in Henze's opera "Elegy for Young Lovers" or in the newspaper reports of "Ötzi" regularly enriching the summer news slump.



Arthur Mentz The Old Torbern
Hans Cossy Elis Froböm
Maria Wimmer The Mountain Queen
Ursula Bahrlehri Ilsebill
Otto Wernicke The Old Dahlsjö
Margrit Ensinger Anna, his daughter
Anne Kersten The grandmother
Helga Zwick The Child Rigitze
Justin Lauterbach   Journeyman
Horst Raspe   Journeyman


Production and Broadcast Dates

Bavarian Radio (BR) 1949
First broadcast: 30.12.1949 | 80'45