or "The Joyful Apocalypse"
Arabella appears to us to be a psychological study of the state of the world soul at the end of an epoque. Through its various characters the libretto reveals hysterical and obsessional demeanors as well as personalities either in a state of co-dependence or rupture.
We have chosen to situate the action on the eve of the First World War, in what Hermann Broch called a “Joyful Apocalypse,” a curious mixture of “world of operetta” and pessimism.
The characters obsessed by their desire to know or control their future prompted us to perform a telescoping of time—when personal history aligns with the history of the collective. But the cards are not always played in the way one thinks.
In her quest to free herself from her family and her desire for a future, Arabella distinguishes in between the man that is needed and the man she needs; the right one, “Der Richtige”.
On the threshold of disaster Vienna is a city in cultural ferment in which there exists an extreme intellectualism represented among others by Gustav Mahler, Alban Berg, Egon Schiele, Gustav Klimt, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Hermann Broch and the founder of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud. The first World War will succeed in toppling this world in the 20th century. Vienna will accompany the collapse of the European empires which favor a transition from a traditional society to a mass society. The war achieves an incredible boiling point wherein the military violence on the battlefield is transferred into civil and social demands.
In all the warring countries, the lobbies of large hotels become makeshift hospitals while women provide vital support to the war effort by replacing men who have gone off to fight.