Munich Premier

Opera at the Bottom of the World

South Pole Opera five people on stage imago
A scene from the opera.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    The opera conveys eternal struggle, and that all struggle ultimately occurs only for the sake of the struggle, whatever the cost in lives, happiness and love.

  • Facts


    • The Bavarian State Opera staged the premiere of “South Pole” in Munich at the end of January.
    • The opera, by Czech composer Miroslav Srnka, is about the 1911-12 race to the South Pole between Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian team and Robert Scott’s British expedition.
    • Rolando Villazón sings the role of Scott, while Thomas Hampson played Amundsen.
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An opera which premiered in Munich recently tells of the race for the South Pole in a deathly competition between explorers.

Viewers of “South Pole” might have expected a different grand finale, perhaps where British explorer Robert F. Scott and his competitor, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, discard their tarpaulin and seal skins to reveal them as refugees in the hostile 21st century.

It doesn’t happen that way.

By the end of the piece, Scott is still who he probably was, a self-tortured psychopath who loses the race to the South Pole.

Ultimately he freezes to death while Amundsen has long ago returned home as victor and hero.

The opera, by Czech composer Miroslav Srnka, tells of the race in 1911 to reach the South Pole. It pitted Roald Amundsen’s Norwegian team against Robert Scott’s British expedition. Amundsen won by 33 days while Scott died on his way to base.

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