• © Das Helmi

  • © Das Helmi

  • © Ur-Oper #1 | Katharina Foersch

  • © Ur-Oper #1 | Katharina Foersch

  • © Ur-Oper #1 | Katharina Foersch

  • © Ur-Oper #1 | Katharina Foersch

  • © Ur-Oper #2 | Richard Mattmüller

  • © Ur-Oper #2 | Katharina Foersch

  • © Ur-Oper #2 | Richard Mattmüller

  • © Ur-Oper #3 | David Baltzer

  • © Ur-Oper #1 | Katharina Foersch

Die Suche nach der Ur-Oper

Das Helmi

Ur-Oper #14 »ICH FRIDA Du DIEGO«

In the art world, the relationship between two artists is often a dance between rivalry and inspiration. There is a spark of competition that drives them to surpass themselves, although their symbiosis is fueled by passion for their work. In the studio, the colors of their canvases mingle in the air, creating a creative atmosphere. Their works differ from day and night: one draws reality in sharp contrasts and hard lines, the other radiates in the colors of dream and fantasy. Despite their differences, they find a common rhythm. Their eyes speak one language. But things are bubbling under the surface. Every success of the other is an incentive to question oneself. Every recognition is a silent call for self-improvement. They are companions and competitors at the same time, caught in an eternal cycle of admiration and jealousy.
Together with the artist Okka-Esther Hungerbühler, whose works deal with dreamlike materials in the microcosm, Helmi embarks on a search for the Uroper.


Das Helmi Puppentheater Kollektiv from Berlin has been at Ballhaus Ost since 2006. They combine many artistic languages and directions in their shows, in which the Helmi puppets and a self-written music always take leading roles. With their series Die Suche nach der Ur-Oper (The Search for the Pre-Opera), they have been performing on their own small new stage at the Ballhaus Ost bar every month since January 2023. Because: What you can’t talk about because it’s somehow so big and incomprehensible, you can maybe sing about. (Emir Tebatebai) 

What happened so far #1-#13

Ur-Oper #13 »Iron Lady«
This morning I called Brian, and as he answered the phone, I heard a slight rattle through my broken cell phone. He was ungently awakened by my early call. “Hey Brian, would you consider us playing the search for the ur-opera ‘Iron Lady’ together on April 6?” “Oh, I don’t like her at all! And I can’t stand Meryl Streep either!” This answer came as no surprise to me, as Brian has often expressed his dislike of the politician and the actress. But it is precisely this dislike that could fit well into the original opera. This emotional and strongly political time of resistance and its effects on life are simply fitting for an Ur-opera. Together with Rahel Maria Savoldelli, Helmi will tell a story that will be very personal. Not only are we telling Brian’s life, but the feelings of the other participants will also be fully revealed. Don’t worry, it will not be a one-to-one reproduction of the film, but will only form a net that Rahel and the Helmi will jump on.

Ur-Oper #12 »Fire, earth, air and water«

In a serious yet captivating way, Das Helmi explores the compatibility between the signs of the zodiac and the challenging dynamics of the universe. The characters navigate complex relationships as they question traditional astrological notions of pairings and compatibility or experience mysterious confirmations in their connections. Amidst these reflections on relationships and the universe, moments of overwhelm arise in the face of the infinity and complexity of the cosmos.

The music by Fee Kürten and Jakob Dobers serves as the emotional and narrative basis for this intangible performance and sends the audience on an immersive journey.

Ur-Oper #11 »The new Ur-Oper/ episode 1«
Good news for friends of the sun in 2024: the search for the Ur-Opera is getting another season! Thanks to Ballhaus Ost, which has stepped in as a sponsor for the Senate, this is now possible. Although the team around Helmi has already been joined by powerful allies such as the UdK’s stage design class, the unemployed theater Enttäusch mich, the elite choir around Flo Hein, the neo-dada performer Nolundi Tschudi, the only ten-year-old natural talent Maxim Ali and the theatrical elemental force Michael Wittstock from Ramba Zamba – and although the team has already made considerable progress – true binge fans know that the question is not yet finally settled. The tenth episode’s finale with “The Exit of the Snake” – the exodus of the snake following a strange comet – suggests that the journey continues in another plane of world – and myth – creation. As is often the case in history, an epoch of decline is followed by an epoch of prosperity and vice versa. Hegel would say: The Helmi simulates the phenomenon of the world spirit. Nietzsche would claim that only those who burn like the Helmi can give birth to a dancing star. But the Helmi says: Just come to the first episode of the new season!

Ur-Oper #10»Planet Blind Spot«
Team-Future is on a mission into space. All highly professional and efficient. Life on board is advertised as a hundred-year easy jet. There are upgrades for all the little things, which are then deducted from the pay. A zero-sum game that leads to irritation. An app must be downloaded for improvisation, but reception is poor. And the spaceship gets into a terrible turbulence. Is it a black hole? What was a black hole again? Or a blind spot? An unknown planet presents itself to the crew. And there seem to be life forms! First they meet organic and even animal life forms. Many of the crew are in a bad condition and others have great anxiety because they miss their because they miss their work structure and their efficiency. While all put themselves into an artificial sleep, a desperate scientist, a young boy and a robot decide to explore the planet. And they come across traces of an exotic human civilization! It is apparently a population of female unemployed humanoids! They seem to communicate vividly and even physical contact seems perfectly normal here. The journey takes a turn in the course of which all are tested on their prejudices and in the end they find out the secret of the planet and its inhabitants.
by and with Das Helmi

Ur-Oper #9 “Wirrwarr Brennt!”
In coded dance, heart seven blossoms, Where veils of love the rose in the storm defeats. No chance guided them, fate’s web woven, In mist blurred, mystery raised. Through hidden paths, her heart guided, In moonlight, secrets prepared. Woven in the dream, the rose awakes. Love springs, in the tangle of night.

by and with das Helmi

Ur-Oper #8 »Ich fühls immer noch nicht«
is inspired by a comic by Swedish artist Liv Strömquist. Based on Leonardo DiCaprio’s emotional burnout, the dramatic question is raised as to whether the ability to love has disappeared from our midst in the face of endless choices, stress, capitalism and self-realization. But what does loving actually mean? Isn’t everything that happened and was thought before our time toxic anyway? I don’t feel it sounds wrong and paradoxical in the opera genre, of course. In Italian opera, we tend to sing about Ich fühls. But wait a minute! We are not in the classical opera genre, but in the unknown world of Ur-opera. Perhaps the Ur-opera explores the dark space beyond certainties? And is there any subject matter more worthy of opera than the search for love? A group of postwoken dudes with a bunch of self-made puppets attempt to rise to the challenge of somehow doing justice to this cryptic feminist work. They follow the comic through time to Socrates and back to the present.

by and with Emir Tebatebai, Florian Loycke, Brian Morrow, Jakob Dobers, Felix Loycke, Michael Wittsack, Kara Schröder, Louise Pons, Nolundi Tschudi

Ur-Oper #7 takes an emotional journey through a multi-layered web of human experience to gain profound insights into the nature of being human. Based on a famous Grimm’s fairy tale, the Helmi takes its audience:inside into a world of self-reflection and self-knowledge, where the complexities of humility and repentance are impressively expressed. Through aria-like singing and puppet-like staging, the profound emotions and moral conflicts come alive on stage. Ur-Oper #7 invites you to reflect on the meaning of humility and explore the transformative power of repentance. The story reveals the multi-faceted nature of these human experiences and invites reflection on one’s own actions and their consequences. Audience:members are transported into a world of emotion and profound insight as the Helmis perform with extraordinary dedication on stage.

by and with Das Helmi & Friends

Ur-Oper #6 »Chorstück«
The pieces, starting from the choral idea, are united by one theme, the drug, its definition and ritual ingestion into the group. Betrayal is paid. The drug is blood, and thus blood loss, loss of life. The chorus weakens when it is abandoned. There is violence involved. There is no magic inherent in the beginning in this case but force. Force of the group against the individual who has decided to want not only what everyone has, but something beyond that. And this power of the group is in this respect almost a kind of revenge. But, of course, it can all be quite different. Because the choral figure is not fixed, it changes and can also seek to dissolve the boundaries between language and music. A choral piece about the possible ways in which a long time ago a first figure entered a stage in the ancient and today understood beginning of the theater: a chorus. And how individuals emerged from it. And sang and spoke and played with it.

by and with Christina Berger, Ada Biljan, Florian Hein, Laura Eftychia Papachristos, Anne Kulbatzki, Maximilian Riethmüller, Konrad Walkow; Direction: Florian Hein

Ur-Oper #5 »Junk Press On, Magic Off: It’s Musical Time!«
In the beginning, all was night and in the darkness a cat sat in the street and whined. From the imitation of this song, opera was born: whining, noisy people on gloomy stages, singing to the imaginary moon for love and a cheese sandwich. In search of the original opera, glanz&krawall serve up exclusive morsels of their musical »CATS of BERLIN« about animals, garbage and junky relationships in the patriarchy. Because the genre musical lands absolutely unjustly in the scrap corner. In contrast to opera, it has the potential to shred the social imperative of order, cleanliness and discipline. On a discarded home organ and an armada of children’s instruments, the SCHROTTIS in their purple overalls have been lapping their way into the hearts and through the backyards of Berlin for some years now. Mixed with the meow of a lonely foam animal and a nice concert cover bone of the Ur-Schrottis, the whole thing will give a proper cat-solyanka.

by and with Dennis Depta, Monika Freinberger, Valerie Oberhof, Kat Papachristou, Marielle Sterra, Kara Schröder & Emir Tebatebai; Kat Papachristou / Tango with Lions, John Carlson and others (Music), SCHROTTI STAR ORCHESTER miez SCHROTTI CAT ORCHESTER (Livemusik), Benjamin Graf (Sound)

Ur-Oper #4 »I want to believe« is the first mystery Ur-Opera from Helmi Theater. This opera is based on a true incident.
Father and son fight together on the side of the Republicans against the Franco regime in the Spanish Civil War. Both are convinced anarchists, who consider the freedom of man as a high good. The fight against fascism ends in defeat, and the father sees suicide as the only way to redeem himself from this hopelessness. But the 19-year-old son Jean-Luc does not think of giving up and joins the Resistance after the German invasion of France. Jean-Luc is courageous and attentive. He later wrote down his experiences in books, which were very popular in France and also in Spain in the post-war period. He is a sought-after contemporary witness. Respected historians invite him to conferences and congresses. In these meetings he also meets his future wife Lucy and their son Adam is born. Everything goes on in an orderly fashion until the 90s, as it does with all other families. At the same time he publicly emphasizes his political attitude again and again. He was and is an anarchist. A view that is no longer shared or taken seriously by many people in these late capitalist times. But then an event happens that shakes his world view but also confirms it. The grandfather Jean-Luc disappears without a trace for a week. The whole family is worried. And then he suddenly stands before them and reports an encounter of the third kind. On the way home by car, aliens would have taken him in an unknown flying object. They were very friendly, and for six days he traveled with them through space. When they left, they gave him a message that was in total agreement with his conviction. He cannot keep this experience to himself and he writes a text about it. His ancestral publishing house refuses to publish the script. They stamped this “unscientific” work as a fantasy. Also his family distances itself from his reports about the aliens. Especially his son Adam wants to have nothing to do with this matter. He is ashamed of the fact that his father is a “madman”. Only the 14 year old granddaughter Gloria is fully behind him. She wants to believe him because her grandfather is a great and kind person for her.

by and with Louise Pons, Jakob Dobers, Emir Tebatebai

In Ur-Oper #3 the place of longing “Dreamtopia” comes to fruition. A woman who makes her hair beautiful every morning and finds the right outfit for the day. She rides her electric scooter to work and is very involved in her profession. Versatile are her activities, so she is a veterinarian, fashion designer, project manager, pilot, firefighter, police officer and make-up artist. A person who likes to help others in many areas of life. Whether it’s babysitting, being a good friend who just listens, or being a lifeguard on the beach. A person who works to protect dolphins. To swim, she wears a bikini. To ride, she wears fancy riding boots and a helmet. She explores the mountains with her camper. She climbs the rocks and likes to play tennis in the late afternoon, and now and then she likes to rollerblade. And in the evenings she likes to host parties where her many friends gather around her swimming pool and happily party and dance.

by and with Katharina Försch, Jakob Dobers, Emir Tebatebai

Ur-Oper #2 is a fairy tale: All a boy had was his lucky skin. The naked lucky skin and the desire to breathe, to live. It should go on! Merciless and gloomy: the cold river, the calls in the forest, the blind animals or even the man on the horse. Then again the evening glow, the creatures of darkness and finally the old castle. He who has nothing has nothing to lose and help often comes unexpectedly. Lucky skin never gives up and goes to hell but hell ain’t a bad place to be as a wise guy once said!

by and with Emir Tebatebai, Florian Loycke, Brian Morrow

Ur-Oper #1 »Ich fühls nicht« is inspired by a comic by Swedish artist Liv Strömquist. Based on Leonardo de Caprio’s emotional burnout, it raises the dramatic question of whether the ability to love has left our midst in the face of endless choices, stress, capitalism, and self-actualization? But what does loving even mean? Isn’t everything that happened and was thought before our time toxic anyway? I don’t feel it sounds wrong and paradoxical in the opera genre, of course. In Italian opera, one rather sings of Ich fühls. But just a moment! We are not in the classical opera genre, but in the unknown world of the original opera. Perhaps the original opera explores the dark space beyond certainties? And is there any subject matter more worthy of opera than the search for love? A group of postwoken dudes with a bunch of homemade puppets, will try to rise to the challenge of somehow doing justice to this cryptic feminist work. They will have to craft many characters, we will follow the comic through time to Socrates and back to the present.

by and with Emir Tebatebai, Florian Loycke, Brian Morrow, Jakob Dobers, Felix Loycke, Iris Christidi, Kara Schröder, Louise Pons, Nolundi Tschudi

A production by Das Helmi in cooperation with Ballhaus Ost and the stage design class of the UdK under the direction of Prof. Janina Audick. Supported by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe.

N O T E:
Unfortunately, the performance is only accessible via stairs and therefore not barrier-free.
Please contact us by mail to produktion @ if you need assistance.

Past Dates
  • Jan 19, 2023
  • Jan 20, 2023
  • Jan 21, 2023
  • Jan 22, 2023
  • Feb 04, 2023
  • Mar 04, 2023
  • Apr 01, 2023
  • May 13, 2023
  • Jun 03, 2023
  • Jul 01, 2023
  • Sep 01, 2023
  • Sep 02, 2023
  • Sep 03, 2023
  • Oct 07, 2023
  • Nov 04, 2023
  • Feb 03, 2024
  • Mar 02, 2024
  • Apr 06, 2024
  • May 04, 2024


15 | 10 Euro
For online tickets, 13% presale fee and 2,- Euro service fee are charged in addition to the basic ticket price by the provider Reservix.


60 minutes




Fabian Eichner

A production by Das Helmi in co-production with Ballhaus Ost.