Music Theatre

I Only Appear to be Dead

Music theatre based on texts from H. C. Andersens diaries

Hotel Pro Forma (Copenhagen)

I Only Appear to be Dead

I Only Appear to be Dead

© Roberto Fortuna

  • 1 h 20 min, without interval

Past Dates

Talk with the audience on 13 January after the performance

The title “I only appear to be dead” refers to the handwritten note Hans Christian Andersen placed on his bedside table at night, due to his fear of being buried alive. For most of his life, Andersen recorded his experiences in diary form, as a conscious form of staged documentarism. With the historical, social and technological development of 19th century Denmark and Europe as a thought-provoking background, he was constantly travelling in order to gain new impressions. Many journeys and extended stays abroad did not mean, however, that he ever lost sight of his native country or himself.

The performance focuses on the writer himself, using material from the gifted accounts and characteristic comments of his diaries. The Andersen we find in the diaries is a completely different person from the internationally celebrated writer of fairytales who “only writes for children”. Here darkness, doubt and fatality prevail. A voice from within that is only set free through the created work. The diaries bear harrowing witness to the fact that he found it hard to control his imagination. Obsessions and attacks of angst were the price of an imagination that led directly into the fairytales.


Conceived and directed by Kirsten Dehlholm
Music Manos Tsangaris
Electronics Simon Stockhausen
Visual Dramaturgy Ralf Richardt Strøbech
Set Design Maja Ravn, Ralf Richardt Strøbech, Kirsten Dehlholm
Costumes Maja Ravn
Lighting Design Jesper Kongshaug
Sound Design Anders Jørgensen
Dramaturgy Claus Lynge

Performers The Danish National Choir
Conductor Martin Nagashima Toft
The Boy of Fortune Ninna Steen

Production Hotel Pro Forma
Co-production with the Danish National Choir and Schauspiel Köln
Supported by H.C. Andersen 2005-Fonds, Danish Arts Council – Committee for the Performing Arts and Committee for Music, Kunststiftung NRW, Københavns Kulturfond, Wilhelm Hansen Fonden, Toyota-Fonden, Dansk Kapelmesterforening, Beckett Fonden, Dansk Korforbund and Overretssagfører L. Zeuthens Mindelegat and the Biennale di Venezia