The Loser
Alternative Stage
The Loser

Music theatre - Thomas Bernhard

April 2024
Δημιουργική Ομάδα

Vassilis Tomanas

Adaptation, stage director:
Ektoras Lygizos

Music consultant:
Kharálampos Goyós

Set designer:
Myrto Lambrou

Costume designer:
Alkisti Mamali

Lighting designer:
Dimitris Kasimatis

Assistant director:
Eva Vlassopoulou 


Πρωταγωνιστές Παράστασης

Cast: Aris Balis, Ektoras Lygizos, Amalia Moutousi, Yiannis Niarros




Ticket prices: €15, €20
Students, children: €10

Alternative Stage

Music theatre

The Loser

Thomas Bernhard

Available Dates

  • 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, 25, 26, 27 Apr 2024

Music theatre • Greek premiere

Greek National Opera Alternative Stage
Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center 

Starts at: 20.30 (Sunday: 19.30  

Distinguished Austrian writer Thomas Bernhard’s novel Der Untergeher (The Loser), which marked the German-speaking literature of the second half of the 20th century, will receive its Greek premiere on the GNO Alternative Stage, adapted and directed by the always artistically restless director, actor and filmmaker Ektoras Lygizos. A theatrical adaptation that transforms the monologic narration of the original into a music-theatre piece for four voices and piano.

Written in 1983 in the author’s well-known serpentine style, the novel Der Untergeher tells the story of a fictional friendship between the legendary Canadian pianist Glenn Gould and two Austrian former classmates of his in the class of Vladimir Horowitz, who lived their lives as failed pianists. It is a short novel that serves as a vitriolic treatise on envy, ambition, fame, genius, perfectionism, obsession and frustration. Speaking about despair with his ceaseless, caustic humour, but also with deep love for his ruined heroes, the writer seems to build the whole story on the repetitive, circular structure of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, excruciatingly but also delightfully rendering the self-centeredness, obsessive ideas, compulsions and fixation of his heroes on their insurmountable dead ends. Yet, at the same time, he doesn’t neglect to relentlessly criticise the moral decay of post-war Austria which, decades after the fall of Nazism and still imbued with cynicism and cruelty, continued to operate by the law of the absolute winner and desperate losers.

The production, like the novel’s narrative present, is set in the foyer of an abandoned hotel in Central Europe, where, after the death of Gould and the suicide of their common friend, the anonymous narrator unravels his repetitive thoughts while the dead are constantly present around him like ghosts, reproducing conversations, aphorisms and events of their common past. At the same time, the production places Bach’s music in constant dialogue with the spoken word and its musicality, making use of Gould’s famous habit of humming the notes while playing the piano, and thus composing a peculiar “oral musical” in the intermediate space between prose and music theatre.