Commissioned by the Spoleto Festival, Charleston and in collaboration with Blind Summit Theatre

The Little Match Girl


The US premiere of Helmut Lachenmann’s extraordinary opera.

Hans Christian Andersen’s sobering tale depicts a poor girl on a snowy street, lighting matches for a few seconds of fleeting warmth in her final hour. In his opera, avant-garde composer Helmut Lachenmann explores the girl’s last moments as she gazes into the dreams and memories conjured by the flames.

Elevated on a platform and encircling the audience, 106 members of the Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra perform this astonishingly evocative score, full of clicks, crackles, knocks, and hisses, under the baton of Resident Conductor and Director of Orchestral Activities John Kennedy.

Co-directors Phelim McDermott and Mark Down, Artistic Director of Blind Summit, cast extraordinary shadows to make a show that almost isn’t there, lit by the light of a match and performed at the speed of scissors.

The Little Match Girl premiered at the Spoleto Festival, Charleston, USA running from 29 May – 4 June 2016.

Directed by Phelim McDermott and Mark Down
Designed by Matt Saunders
Lighting by Jim Ingalls
Music and Libretto by Helmut Lachenmann

With Westminster Choir and Spoleto Festival USA Orchestra

Cast Heather Buck, Yuko Kakuta, Adam Klein

Ensemble Fiona Clift, Noemi Rodriguez Fernandez, Andrea Jimenez Garcia, Sean Garratt, Ewan Hunter, Steve McCourt, Alex Newton, Jack Parker, Alejandra Prieto, Teddy Yudain

Puppet Design Ruth Paton






Current Productions