Music theatre Opera 1959 1991

The Prince of Homburg (Der Prinz von Homburg)

Opera in three acts (nine scenes) after the play by Heinrich von Kleist

Commissioned by the Hamburgische Staatsoper

Period of composition 1958-59
New orchestration 1991 1991
Duration 130 minutes

Adapted for music by Ingeborg Bachmann
(English by Fred Bridgham)

In honour of Igor Stravinsky

World premiere

World premiere 22. May 1960



Production Helmut Käutner
Stage and costume design Alfred Siercke
Conductor Leopold Ludwig


Uraufführung of the new verison 24. July 1992


Bayerische Staatsoper (Cuvilliés- Theater)

Production Nikolaus Lehnhoff
Stage and costume design Gottfried Pilz
Conductor Wolfgang Sawallisch


For the première in Munich I made some revisions to the score which affected the orchestra but not the vocal parts. I had been thinking for some time of eliminating any doubling and bringing out the descriptive nature of the music. I removed some idiosyncratic percussion instruments from the score and made the wind passages more transparent, improving the balance of forces between singing voice and instrument. The conflicts between dream and reality, and freedom and compulsion which are at the forefront of Kleist’s drama, are achieved in this work through the creation of a set of clearly perceptible tensions between a strictly structured serialism (which is also applied to rhythm and dynamics) and the use of free tonality.

Hans Werner Henze


Prinzessin Natalie von Oraniensoprano niece of the Elector of Brandenburg, chief of a regiment of dragoons
soprano 1st courtesan
mezzosoprano 2nd courtesan
contralto 3rd courtesan
Friedrich Wilhelm tenore eroicoElector of Brandenburg
Graf Hohenzollern tenore liricoof the Elector’s retinue
Feldmarschall Dörflingbaritono
Prinz Friedrich Artur von Homburgbaritono acutogeneral of the cavalry
Obrist Kottwitz bassoof the Princess of Orange’s regiment
tenore 1st officer
baritono 2nd officer
basso 3rd officer
tenore 1st heiduck
baritono 2nd heiduck
coro maschile ad lib. other officers
personaggi mutipages,
servants, guards,
runners, standard bearers,



Nuova orchestrazione 1991

2 Flauti2° anche Ottavino e Flauto contralto
1 Oboe
1 Corno inglese
1 Clarinetto
1 Clarinetto basso
2 Fagotti2° anche Controfagotto
2 Corni
2 Trombe
2 Tromboni
2 Campanacci
Piatti sospesi
Piatti a due
3 Tamtam
3 Tomtom
Tamburo basco
Tamburo militare
2 Casse rullanti (sulla scena ad lib.)
Grancassa, Verga
Cam pane tubolari
[per 3]



1 Flauto
1 Oboe
1 Clarinetto
1 Fagotto
1 Corno
2 Trombe
Tamburo piccolo
1 Violino
1 Viola
1 Violoncello