A life full of glamour and tragedies, rebellion
ELISABETH, the musical by Michael Kunze and Sylvester
Levay, tells the true story of Elisabeth, the most famous empress of
The play corrects the romantic, partly gaudy image
which had been pressed on her by the (melodramatic) Sissi-movies of the fifties.
Her life at the Viennese court, which began like a fairy-tale, soon developed
into a drama full of privation and struggles for power. In spite of all the
resistance to the personal restraint and obligations of the court, this modern
and self-confident woman is destined to fail tragically.
Only the bitter-sweet temptation - Death - played
by a mysterious, attractive man, always accompanies her. Not only on
her final journey . .
FROM THE PRESS:
Saarbrücker Zeitung / 4/24/2008
Berlin première of the musical "Elisabeth": The death with sex
Berlin. The death has never been so sexy. Uwe Kroeger has matured in
his staring role. With this he awards the musical "Elisabeth", which celebrated
on the past week-end in the Berlin "Theater des Westens" under the direction
of Harry Kupfer the capital city premiere, brilliance, glamor and a hint
of erotism. Vocally and optically he is, precise like his partner Pia Douwes,
a class for himself. At the world premiere in 1992 in Vienna they had there
breakthrough as Elisabeth and death .... The 44-year-old dutchwoman in
the meantime still succeeds in being plausible as a young princess as well
as a bitter, matured empress. Kroeger is so lascivious at times that the
fear of the end of life is taken away from the audience....
musicalcocktail / 06.2008
... Elisabeth and the death - this are the starring roles of Pia Douwes
and Uwe Kroeger, created by them for the world premiere sixteen years ago
in Vienna. Now they stood as empress and death on the stage, this time in
the "Theater des Westens" in Berlin. Indeed, older but nevertheless brilliant
on opening night and they inspired the audience beyond all measure. April
20th was the evening of Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger! Incredibly what both
musical stars presented on proficiency and charisma on stage.
... The death, as Elisabeth sees him is young, attractive and erotic. By
his charismatic appeal he draws Elisabeth into his spell over and over again,
he accompanies Elisabeth from childhood. This character could show Uwe Kroeger
perfectly. His death is not any more the youthful lover of the empress,
but her mature opponent - at their meetings two just as strong opponents
fight, whether and when they, Elisabeth and the death would be united. Sometimes
completely in white, sometimes quite in black, the death appeared in the
life of Elisabeth again and again. His conspicuous appearance, his well sedate
artificial poses, his partly demonically, partly seductive game, Uwe Kroeger
always became the centre of the event. He simply fascinated by his unbelievable
Uwe Kroeger seemed less like an androgynous art figure like still in Vienna,
more like a real man. This is maybe also caused by his very advantageous,
stylish short hair hairstyle á la David Beckham which the artist
wears now instead of the long, blond mane of 1992....
musicals / 06.2008
... One pound is natural, as already mentioned, Pia Douwes.... The other
pound is Uwe Kroeger who plays again, like in Vienna and also Essen, the
death. Also he succeeds in giving new nuances to his part. If he was at
the worldpremiere still very much an androgyner, undeterminable death, in
Essen however a rather masculine, dangerous opponent adversary, he becomes
here in Berlin the ingenious seducer who kills, while he embraces and kisses.
Wonderful also that Kroeger has taken back himself a little. He does not
show quite a lot of exaggeration, which he gave in Essen to his death, here
he doesn´t show it....
The highlights in the "Theater des Westens" are still the thrilling moments
when Douwes and Kroeger sing in the first act " Elisabeth, don´t
be distressed " and after the intermission " If I want to dance ". How
these actors play the ambivalence of attraction and defence, is stage play
at high level....
Da Capo / 05.2008
... As "death" Uwe Kroeger is able once again to perform in his staring
role. It needs a little bit getting used to, if one doesn´t see him
anymore with his wide, black coat, but in the white or black suit with which
he could go so easily to every party. Because the death signifies, however,
eternalness, one can make friends with it, indeed, but, nevertheless, from
the optical goose bumps effect which this role brings with itself, costume
designer Yan Tax has taken him a bit to far away. In any case, Kroeger tries
by his expressiveness to give the role dynamism what he absolutely manages
... The death wears white. Not like one, who robs life, but Uwe Kroeger
acts rather like a savoir. There it becomes quite clear that he plays the
part against expectations. It is at the same time an intriguing and disconcerting
idea of Michael Kunze, who has written "Elisabeth", to show the death not
as a threat, from which you confine yourself, but as a seduction, a lover
who kills, while he kisses. Elisabeth longs her whole life for him and she
succumbs to his charm, in the end: "The last dance belongs only to me",
he promises, in the meantime, in quite conventional Black. Only Kroegers
white-blond mop of hair shines even further....
At the end it is the death, who gives the knife to Lucheni and welcomes
Elisabeth. There he wears already white again....
Tagesspiegel / 4/21/2008
... Especially celebrated, with a lot of applause at the end and during
the show, have been both featuring stars Pia Douwes as Elisabeth and Uwe
Freie Presse Chemnitz / 4/21/2008
... Last Friday Uwe Kroeger sat in Gottschalks musical casting
show on the juror's bank ... Also Pia Douwes looks in her native country,
the Netherlands, like a mother after the younger generation. Both are icons
of their guild, who want to know again about whether they are still able
to do it. And they are able to do it. Now we know this.
Both demonstrate on stage in Berlin two sides of the ageing: Either
one becomes complacent - or real, I mean real good. Kroeger could audition
meanwhile from the phone book; he would still have the most erotic voice
of the musical world. He maintains his David Bowie image, carries his nose
high, well over the possibilities of his part. He does not play with the
death; Kroeger is Kroeger who never dies, forever young....
BZ / 4/21/2008
... Right in the middle the lovers: Elisabeth ..., emperor Franz Josef...
And the majestically walking death (Uwe Kroeger), who accompanies Elisabeth
Drama musicals / 4/21/2008
... Under Standing-Ovations lasting for several minutes the première
of the successful musical ELISABETH was celebrated on Sunday in the Berlin
Theater des Westens.
The new staging of Harry Kupfer on the basis of the enlarged Viennese
version of 2005 looked fresh and innovative on stage. A prominent cast,
first of all Pia Douwes (empress Elisabeth) and Uwe Kroeger (death), made
the evening an unforgettable experience....
Musicalboulevard / 4/21/2008
... The actors are completely top class. First of all the featuring
stars, Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger, which embodied the parts of Elisabeth
and the death already at the world premiere in 1992 in Vienna and became
during the past 16 years stars of the musical scene. Of course both have
matured over the years and represent their parts absolutely persuasive and
with a driven vocal power....
NETZEITUNG / 4/22/2008
... Uwe Kroeger: the experienced death
Director Kupfer ...praised the ensemble before the première:
"These are well qualified young people who can sing, act and dance", he
said to the " Berliner Zeitung ". In particular cases this may be absolutely
right, f.e. with the death actor Kroeger who plays through his part expertly
- sometimes with slushy Vibrato, sometimes with thundering (hero) tenor.
Completely the professional, this death - he can handle the part....
The Berlin death is calculating: Kroeger knows (thanks to long-standing
experience in the musical genre), in the meantime, mechanically, when he
has to set accents, when to set the timbre of his voice dramatically, when
he must allow to sound melancholy....
Berliner Zeitung / 4/22/2008
... He, who strictly calls at the television casting show to deal with
the part and not only devotion, plays here, above all, himself, Kroeger.
Energetically and powerfully, this has an effect, yes, however, his death
remains always domineering and bad, instead of also softly and luring as
it would have given the part....
Bloom.de / 4/22/2008
... A sure bank are the featuring stars Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger,
which have been on stage already more than 15 years ago at the première
in Vienna. In the meantime, they belong to the best known musical stars and
also their TV presence during the recently sent musical casting shows might
have given one more popularity push. Their voices are a great pleasure without
Märkische Allgemeine/ 4/23/2008
... Exclusively always at her side: The death, a luring beau (Uwe Kroeger)
to whom she dedicates herself, however, only after the suicide of her son
With Pia Douwes Harry Kupfer has an actress who masters the change of
the naive girl to the wilful woman reliably. Unconcentrated and certainly
she sings even the most difficult parts. Same counts for Uwe Kroeger who
inoculates, nevertheless, the necessary hardness and ice to the death with
Neues Deutschland / 4/23/2008
... And also the idea, the "death" (Uwe Kroeger, with the charm of a
boy-group star) as a true partner of Elisabeth (Pia Douwes, clear to the
highest tones) and not her pale, continually ageing husband, the emperor
Franz Josef (Markus Pol). The trick, to let the murderer of the empress
to virtually tell the story, this is the finest dramaturgy....
Bunte / 4/24/2008
... Empress Elisabeth, the unhappy Sisi, held court. ... (cheered singers:
Pia Douwes and Uwe Kroeger)...