Prize for Opera 2019

Reise der Hoffnung - Journey of Hope

Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe

Crowdfunding Results



About the Project

Journey of Hope is inspired by the eponymous Swiss film by Xavier Koller which won an Oscar award in 1991. The film is based on a tragic accident which happened at the Swiss-Italian border in 1988.

An Alevite family in Turkey setting out for a better life in Switzerland lost their 7 year old child in an alpine snow storm while trying to cross the border illegally.

German composer Christian Jost and Hungarian director Kornél Mundruczó are setting out to turn the story as told in the film into a parable in the dimensions of a Greek tragedy. They do so by means of taking it away from realism, focusing instead on hope, inner conflicts and emotions.

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The topic of migration is one of the foremost and most controversially discussed topics certainly in Europe but in the Americas as well.

Journey of Hope brings it back from a purely abstract and intellectual discussion to an emotional level of humane compassion.

By the flight of middle American refugees to the Mexian-North American border the problem of migration got a globally broader range. It is no longer focused on the African and Near East migration to Europe. Journey of Hope takes this into account by transforming it’s story of hope for a better life into an universally applicable parable.

It doesn’t show it’s heroes as victims but as human beings full of optimism – although not blind to risks – in search for a better future. By this it gives the discussion of migration a new twist.

For this they invented a strict musical triptych structure. Act 1 will focus on the hopes of the migrating family. Musically they will be translated and organized by the bright colours of a Violin concerto structure in the instrumental part. Act 2 will depict the journey from Turkey till Naples and up till the Italian-Swiss border. The music will be organized in the form of a percussion concerto, percussive beats being a perfect equivalent of the excitement, monotony and constant movement of a journey to a bright new life. Act 3 will focus on the alpine tragedy in the mood of a Requiem by means of a trumpet concerto, the trumpet being able to convey the violence of the snow storm as well as the mourning of a lament.

As to the vocal style there will be no conventional arias or musical scenes but arias fragmenting the text into sounds and syllables in order to make the audience feel the inner stress or the hopes the migrating characters are experiencing.

Why should you support us?

The overall impact of Journey of Hope would be to pull the global discourse on migration away from ideological positions by focusing on individual and universal human feelings of hope and struggle for a better life, of despair and of compassion.

It will furnish a new model for opera on how to deal with contemporary topics both musically and visually.

It will look out for a new musical language for these topics by devising new models of arias and musical structures.

It will contribute to the emotional and humane education of communities by opposing to the dehumanization of discourses.

Your support enables us to bring to the stage a unique opera experience. We're grateful for your engagement and are looking forward to sharing with all of our audiences a story worth telling.

Who are we?

Composer: Christian Jost, German, * 1963

Jost lives as a freelance composer and conductor in Berlin where he also leads and is the evening host of the famous concert series “2xhoeren” at the Konzerthaus Berlin. Received the Ernst von Siemens Foundation Encouragement Prize in 2003. His opera Hamlet has been elected ‘World Premiere of the Year 2009’ by an international jury of the magazine ‘Opernwelt’. He received commissions a.o. by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival, the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin, the Vlaamse Opera Antwerpen, the Deutsches Symphonie Orchester Berlin, the Oper Graz, the Rundfunkchor Berlin, the Zurich Opera, the Taiwan Festival of Arts and invitations to become “Composer in Residence” from the Orchestra of the Beethoven Orchestra Bonn, the Staatskapelle Weimar, Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, Komische Oper Berlin, Theater Dortmund, the National Symphony Orchestra Taiwan, the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Vienna Music Festival in Grafenegg. Music of all genres: opera, ballet, concerto, symphonic, chamber music, song. Living partly in Berlin, partly in Asia. 

Journey of Hope is his tenth opera. He seems to invent the genre with each piece anew according to the necessities of the topic he deals with. Watch out for instance for 1. Death Knocks/Woody Allen (09/29/2001, Hannover), 2. Vipern after Middleton/Rowleys "Changeling" (01/21/2005, Düsseldorf), 3. Die arabische Nacht/Schimmelpfennig (04/26/2008, Essen), 4. Hamlet/Shakespeare (06/21/2009, Berlin, Komische Oper), 5. Mikropolis/Frowin (10/30/2001, Berlin, Komische Oper),  6. Rumor/Guillermo Arriaga (03/23/2012, Antwerp), 7. Heart Sutra/Zhang Ailing (03/02/2013, Taipei), 8.Rote Laterne/Su Tong (03/08/2015, Zurich), 9. Egmont/Goethe/Ostermaier (2020, Theater an der Wien).

Director: Kornél Mundruczó, Hungarian, *1975

Director of film, regular drama and opera. Founded his own film company, Proton Cinema GmbH, in Budapest in 2003. 12 films since 2001 which were invited, received prizes and stipends in Antalya, Aubagne, Berlin, Bologna, Brussels, Budapest, Cannes, Catalonia, Cracow, Cottbus, Imola, Locarno, Los Angeles, Ludwigsburg, Mediasch, Munich, Oslo, Paris, Sarajevo, Sevilla, Sitges, Sofia, and Strasbourg.

More then 20 award winning plays since 2003 in Budapest, Warshaw, Zurich, Hamburg, Hannover touring extensively to more then 100 international festivals from Avignon and Adelaide till Singapore, Seoul, Zurich. Five Operas and Oratorios since 2003 in Budapest, Antwerp/Gent, Brno, Recklingshausen etc. The Makropoulos Case (Antwerp) was nominated for the International Opera Award 2017.

Librettist: Kata Wéber, Hungarian, *1980

Upon graduating from the University of Theatre and Film Arts in Budapest, Kata began her career working in theatre, eventually becoming a playwright. Her theatre pieces have been shown in Poland, Germany, Switzerland and Hungary. During these years, she began working for Proton Cinema and started collaborating with writer/director Kornel Mundruczo. Their first film together, White God, won the Un Certain Regard award at Cannes in 2014 and had its North American premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015. Jupiter's Moon was invited to the Official Selection of the 70th Cannes Film Festival.

Costume and Set Design: Monika Pormale, Latvian, *1974

Studied stage design and textile arts in Riga. Her installations, photos, short films, and art-actions, including Riga Dating Agency (2000) and a giant photo installation for the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, have been presented in numerous international exhibitions in a. o. Athens, Barcelona, Berlin, Budapest, Stockholm, Zagreb. For last decade Monika Pormale has worked mainly as a scenographer and costume designer for theatre, and since 2000 had worked closely with director Alvis Hermanis at the New Riga Theatre as well as in theatres in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Russia. “Burning Darkness” earned a nomination Best Set Design 2005/6 by an international jury of the magazine “Theater Heute”. Further collaboration with directors Girts Ecis, Galina Polishchuk, Grzegorz Jarzyna, Andreys Zagars, Marat Gatsalov, Andriy Zholdak, and Kornél Mundruczó.

Christian Jost

Christian Jost


Kornél Mundruczó

Kornél Mundruczó

Stage Director


Kata Weber



Monika Pormale

Set & Costume Designer


Grand Théâtre de Genève

Grand Théâtre de Genève


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