Classical music
Contemporary Classical

Stockhausen's Donnerstag aus Licht

Part of Classical Season 2018/19

For the first time since 1985, Stockhausen’s monumental opera Donnerstag aus Licht (Thursday from Light) returns to the UK for just two performances in Royal Festival Hall.

Maxime Pascal conducts the combined forces of his Paris-based ensemble Le Balcon, the London Sinfonietta, the New London Chamber Choir and students from the Royal Academy of Music, in a new production directed and adapted for the concert hall by Benjamin Lazar.

A great avant-garde innovator, Stockhausen spent decades rebuilding the basic elements of music, discovering new possibilities for traditional instruments and creating unheard worlds of electronic sound at his studio in Cologne.

When he finally turned to opera, aged 50, his ambitions reached new heights. He spent 26 years developing his seven-part epic, the Licht cycle, which explored the story of mankind as a cosmic saga, and linked each opera to a day of the week, a celestial body and a colour.

Donnerstag (Thursday, Jupiter, bright blue) is the fourth opera in the cycle and follows the story of Michael, an angel in human form, as he relives the composer’s childhood, learns music, grows up, falls in love, travels around the world and overcomes the forces of evil. In the end he ascends back to heaven.

Maxime Pascal, winner of the 2014 Nestlé and Salzburg Festival Young Conductors Award, founded Le Balcon while still a student at the Paris conservatoire. Feted for their work on Stockhausen operas, the ensemble are known for their immersive approach to performance. They won the Fondation Stockhausen first prize in 2013, and and performed extracts from Donnerstag aus Licht in 2016 and 2017.

Southbank Centre Resident Orchestra the London Sinfonietta celebrates its anniversary in 2018, marking 50 years of stunning contemporary music performance.

This project is generously supported by The London Community Foundation and Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, and The Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.


Le Balcon
London Sinfonietta
Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble
Maxime Pascal conductor
Henri Deléger Michael, trumpet
Safir Behloul Michael, tenor
Emmanuelle Grach Michael, dancer
Iris Zerdoud Eve, basset horn
Léa Trommenschlager Eve, soprano, (Act 1)
Elise Chauvin Eve, soprano, (Act 3)
Suzanne Meyer Eve, dancer
Mathieu Adam Lucifer, trombone
Damien Pass Lucifer, bass
Jamil Attar Lucifer, dancer
Alphonse Cemin piano
Alice Caubit clarinet, (Act 2)
Ghislain Roffat clarinet, basset horn, (Act 2)
Simon Guidicelli Doctor, (Act 1)
New London Chamber Choir
Florent Derex sound projection
Augustin Muller computer music design
Yann Chapotel video design
Christophe Naillet lighting design


Stockhausen: Donnerstag aus Licht (Thursday from Light) - opera in 3 acts, a greeting, & a farewell

Dates & times

21 May 2019 - 22 May 2019
Approximate run time: 270 mins
Run times may vary, find out more


Royal Festival Hall


£15 - £70
Booking fee: £3.00 (Members £0.00)
£15, £25, £40, £55, £70


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need to know

Please note that Stockhausen's 'Greeting' that precedes Act 1 from Donnerstag aus Licht is performed at 6pm in the foyers of Royal Festival Hall.

The 'Farewell' that concludes the opera is performed in the foyers as the audience exit the auditorium.