Wallander – the opera

Kurt Wallander’s latest challenge isn’t solving a crime: it’s singing on stage. A new opera titled W: The Truth Beyond starring the fictitious Swedish sleuth premiered this weekend in Tübingen, Germany. It will now travel to Ystad, Sweden, Wallander’s hometown.

The plot is not by Wallander’s creator Henning Mankell (who died last year), but picks up where the last book Den Orolige Mannen [The Troubled Man] left off in 2009. The project had Mankell’s approval, and was originally announced in 2014. In Mankell’s novels Wallander is portrayed as an opera fan – particularly the recordings of Greek-American soprano Maria Callas.

W: The Truth Beyond begins at Wallander’s retirement party, which is interrupted by a man the detective imprisoned some fifteen years earlier. This man says he has clues that could reopen a case Wallander thought was long since closed, leading him on a path into his own past.

Philipp Amelung, music director at the University of Tübingen, led the creative team, with music from Swedish composer Fredrik Sixten and a libretto by Swedish playwright Klas Abrahamsson.

‘My music is expressive and honest,’ commented Sixten. ‘It loves beauty, but is continually driven to explore its contradictions. It is not afraid of the dark or opacity. It shifts effortlessly between different moods and characters. It is not afraid of being real.’

In total 120 players worked on the opera, including six vocal soloists, members of the Tübingen University Choir and Philharmonic Reutlingen.