Opera Prize 2025


Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden

LUMUMBA!, a music theatre and a festival, approaches the first Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Émery Lumumba from both an African and a European perspective, thereby exploring new perspectives and possibilities for transcultural coexistence through the memory of Lumumba and what he stands for.


LUMUMBA! consists of the world premiere of a music theatre in Europe and a festival in Lubumbashi, Congo. LUMUMBA! approaches the first Congolese Prime Minister Patrice Émery Lumumba from an African and European collaborational perspective. To mark Lumumba's 100th birthday in 2025, four art institutions on two continents are dedicating themselves to the Congolese freedom fighter and the question of the culture of remembrance in post-colonial discourse. 

Music theatre
In Part 1, Paul Dessau's 'Requiem für Lumumba' (1964) is performed: a musical outlook on the world-changing, utopian moment of a figure like Lumumba. In it, the authors describe the murder of Lumumba by a firing squad. Their criticism is directed at capitalism. Only in the 1990s it became publicised: After Lumumba had moved closer to the Soviet Union, the Western powers feared for geopolitical balance and ordered Lumumba's assassination. His body was dissolved in acid. Nothing was left to remember him. Part 2 adds a further narrative about Lumumba: From an African, contemporary perspective, the focus is on questions of veneration and heroisation as well as the post-colonial structures that persist to this day and the challenge of overcoming them. Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila continues the story of Lumumba in the Congolese tradition of a Kasala speech of praise. This combines fictional elements with the real biography. On stage, opera, documentary, and film connect in a 'Transcontinental Opera Space'. The music draws on Congolese influences and is written by Congolese musician Kojack Kossakamvwe and Swiss musician and director Elia Rediger for orchestra, two choirs, Congolese musicians and classical soloists. 

The Centre d'art Waza in Lubumbashi curates a 10-day festival, which responds to material from the music theatre LUMUMBA! with an exhibition and installation, interventions and mediation formats. Artists from the music theatre project and other local artists will be involved.

Artistic Team

The artistic team of LUMUMBA! - the music theatre and the festival - brings together experts in their respective artistic disciplines who are open to experiment with form; new literatures and narratives, musical combinations, visual art and scenography which seek to incorporate traces of history and ‚street life‘. The team deliberately combines people with European and Congolese backgrounds, because when telling stories about Eropean-Congolese history, it is important who is speaking: both. Central to the concept and narrative are multi-award-winning Congolese author Fiston Mwanza Mujila, dramaturge Patrick Mudekereza from Centre d’art Waza in Lubumbashi and Swiss theatre maker Elia Rediger, whose interest in post-colonial documentary opera is a driving force also for the mise-en-scène. As for the musical invention, Paul Dessau’s requiem is a rediscovery. For part two of the work, Kojack Kossakamvwe and Elia Rediger work together with other musicians such as Les Troubadours de Lubumbashi to create, improvise, develop a score between Congolese and European musical traditions. Stage design and costumes see two experienced young female artists, Thea Hoffmann-Axthelm and Janine Werthmann. For the filmic components Moritz von Dungern (camera) and Joseph Kasau (curator in Lubumbashi) form a well-rehearsed team. Together with Rediger, Mudekereza and Kossakamvwe, they have gained experience with film-opera montage on projects such as 'Hercule de Lubumbashi'. The musical direction lies in the hands of Wiesbaden general music director Leo McFall.

Co-producing Partners

Centre d'art Waza

DR Congo

Opera Ballet Vlaanderen


Luzerner Theater



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