About Us

Micro Oper München was founded by singer and voice-artist Cornelia Melián and pianist Sabine Liebner in 1991. Micro Oper München's intention is to be a laboratory for interdisciplinary musical experiment. For its productions of dramatised music, Micro Oper München invites artists from the fields of experimental music, multimedia arts and visual art.

With the Micro Opera Munich, Cornelia Melián has created her own universe. She is its creative director, organizer and principal performer, all in one. She is at the heart of a small but powerful machine which works to rejuvenate a century-old genre with theatrical and acoustic excursions, far away from the mainstream but always right up to the minute.

Since 1991, there have been twenty productions; among them:

1991 • “From SatiesFactory – a tribute to Erik Satie”

1992 • “Satierikon”, dramatised music composed by Erik Satie

1996 • “Dirt – a musical theatre installation experiment” by Ernst Bechert (commissioned by Munich Biennale and Kampnagel Hamburg)

1999 • “Vex – a media opera” by the visual artists Brunner/Ritz

2002/2004 • “Cage Up” and “Cage Up 2” John Cage performances

2004 • “Ariadne – a musical investigation by Helga Pogatschar

2006 • “Listen Up staged music with silently roaring music by George Crumb, Carola Bauckholt, Olga Neuwirth, Ernst Bechert

2007 • “Play away - a music-play for three” (production in progress), music by Carola Bauckholt, Markus Schmitt, Ernst Bechert

2008 • One-Woman-Opera - music theater piece in 4 scenes, a journey through female worlds. The stories of these four Solos for Voice deal with the everyday experiences of our existence. Compositions by Irinel Anghel, Carola Bauckholt, Juliane Klein und Charlotte Seithers (commissioned by the Munich Biennale - an international festival for contemporary music theater).

2009 • Somehow Different - Played and sung by 15 school children, 2 adult musicians and an actor also performs magic.
’Somehow Different’ tells the story of a friendship and is a plea to being different, not least in New Music. Based on the story ‘Something Else’ by Kathryn Cave, Cornelia Melián developed a micro opera that is both surprising and loving as well as sensual in its treatment – an opera in which 15 children aged 6 to 9 years old act under the direction of choirmaster Yoshihisa Matthias Kinoshita. Juliane Klein wrote the music which not only includes speaking and singing voices and the grand piano but also toy cars, table-tennis balls, rainmakers, music boxes, cell phones, kitchen equipment and much more besides. Her music combines tonal and atonal structures and through characteristic leitmotifs it provides a spectrum of suspense that makes the topic of "being different" both simply and profoundly accessible to children. Here the pianist charges two toy cars over the piano keys and the ensuing glissandi are accentuated by the unnerving ringing of two cell phones, birthday whoops and the sound of kitchen equipment – music that is clearly "something else". The children contribute to events with building blocks of sound like onomatopoeic sound surfaces, multi-layered choruses of voices, invented creations that are something else, memorable melodies as well as playful activities ideal for joining in. Original action is combined with the magical poetry of sound into a blend that especially arouses the curiosity and fascinates children of primary school age.

2010 • AMOR remixed - Compositions, arrangements, remix, coverversions based on ‘Lamento della Ninfa’ by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) A concert program combining early Baroque music, improvisaton, experiment and song. Monteverdi: Sometimes lyrical, sometimes brutal, sometimes sophisticated. Music by: Ulrike Haage, Helga Pogatschar, Fritz Keil, Thomas Meadowcroft, Carl Oesterheld, Christoph Reiserer, Axel Singer

2011 • You Never Know – music theatre about fear ‚You Never Know’ is an experimental music theatre piece - a humorous grotesque about anxiety for one singer and a versatile orchestral accompaniment: sampler, cello, piano and noise. This surrealistic musical creepy cabinet invites you to experience one of the the scariest human feelings: fear. Music by Ernst Bechert (Hamburg) and Micro Oper Munich

2013 • Short Cuts – A showcase
"Short Cuts is more than just a showcase exemplifying with what virtuosity the split between spoken and musical dramatic forms can be mastered, how easy the exchange between art forms or the crossing of musical boundaries can be. Short Cuts shows how Cornelia Melián manages to re-invent herself in each of her productions. So, if this at first sight is a „Best-of“-compilation it is also more than that. In Short Cuts, Cornelia Melián re-examines her Micro Operas, dissects and re-assembles them – non chronologically – and creates something new ...
Dr. Michael Emmanuel Bauer

2013 • NOW THE PARADISE – A Rehab-Opera
World premiere September 2013

Everywhere you hear the small sighs of exhausted people burning out in the hamster wheel of their daily grind. Pending To-Do-lists undermine their power. NOW THE PARADISE - A Rehab Opera is new music theatre for the meritocracy. Grete A., the fallen carreerist from YOU NEVER KNOW - NEW MUSIC THEATRE ABOUT ANGST returns to the big stage. Brought directly from the executive suite to the rehab clinic, her weak body gets phantastically revitalised. Grete won't be the same ever again. But what has the future in store for her?? Love of life meets sheer despair, belief in progress meets pure resignation. But Grete wouldn't be Grete, if she didn't manage to free herself from the contradictions of modern life.

NOW THE PARADISE is music theatre with a compact cast. Sampler, string instruments, percussion kit and vocals are the sound ingredients for a new composition by Ernst Bechert, combining electronic and synthetic sounds with baroque motifs and timbres. The piece was developed in a collaborative process between sound and object art, between video and light design. For the first time, the ensemble around Cornelia Melián has worked with Birgitta Trommler, choreographer and co-founder of the Munich Dance Project.

Micro Oper München

"A criticism of the most expensive current art form? Yes, but moreso a statement for a lively development within Contemporary Music. For 23 years, the Micro Opera Munich has been developing contemporary music theatre on a shoe string. How does it work? Founder Cornelia Melián concentrates on the music she is interested in. No ensemble flown in from overseas, no gigantic stage machinery, no big orchestra or promotional functions – it's the music which plays the most important role. From the music the space and all the other elements develop. This could be considered a luxury. But maybe it's as vital a process as the creation of the „opera-scape“ serving mainly the repertory of the 18th and 19th century, which regards innovation with scepticism. The Micro Opera Munich sees itself as a laboratory. It tests what can be produced from a sound. Cornelia Melián often integrates visual artists and the stylistic elements of complementary disciplines such as dance or video. Artistic freedom is encouraged where forms can be developed beyond the boundaries of public expectations. The pieces of the Micro Opera take on today's themes and like to throw a satirical and grotesque light on contemporary social attitudes."
Katrin Dollinger (dramaturg)

"Two women, one singing, one playing the piano. Two women, talking, giggling, whispering. Two women hitting the keys of minute toy pianos or plucking prickles of a cactus as if it is a harp. That and a lot more is Micro Oper M ünchen featuring Cornelia Melian (day job singer) and Sabine Liebner (mainly on the piano). Since 15 years they cover a niche between theatre and music with great virtuosity and unrivalled humour, often in made to order costumes and designed stages that are minimal in style and achieve a maximum effect. Satie or Cage, pop music or Schoenberg, Messiaen or Weill as well as premieres are the focus of their programs. And each and every work is something new, something original that has not been seen or heard before."
Klaus Kalchschmid, Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt, Die Deutsche Bühne

“No matter whether it is serious or entertaining music, the two musicians present to us its unknown aspects yet to be discovered or to be rediscovered. With their performances, Melián/Liebner prove the entertaining side of coffeehouse and cabaret tradition. With their exciting vigour of their serious concerts, they turn experimental contemporary music into an adventure. And since they are equipped with all the skills of their musical trade, they are able to risk the light-headedness of musical production: you can admire overexcited actions in grotesque fancy dresses, music staged comically and with ironic pathos. However, nothing disturbs its always special character, nothing is perceived as an artificially added sensation. On the contrary: as staged music, the compositions develop a special atmosphere and special characteristics, be it chansons or pieces by John Cage and Erik Satie.”
Ute Mings, Bavarian Broadcast

Cornelia Melián
is a specialist for early and contemporary music; she has cooperated with numerous artists and ensembles , among them David Moss, Phil Minton,Ernst Reijseger, Ensemble Reconsil Vienna and the ensembles for early music Sarband, Sequentia and Estampie. CD recordings, TV and radio recordings. Premières and fist performances in contemporary music. 1993 – 1999 Lecturer for voice at Leipzig Conservatory. 1996 Music Award granted by the city of Munich, 2000 Music scholarship granted by the city of Munich.

Press cuttings

Kulturvollzug.de ... Munich is the home of a great new music theater company: the Micro Oper Munich.

Sueddeutsche Zeitung ... a wicked performance, ... wonderfully fearless and imaginative ... a perfectly fitting sound-costume ... a frightening side splitting spectacle ...

Münchner Merkur ... an exciting evening. An experiment with many nuances, an electrifying excursion into contemporary music.

Süddeutsche Zeitung ... modern and compassionate: a philosophy for children, showing them how diversity can enrich their lives.’

Standard Wien ... the great singer and performance artist Cornelia Melian portrays the turbulences of growing older in an impressive show.

Hamburger Abendblatt ... Anyone who would like to be entertained by the way that sound, movement, expression, subtle humour, gentle exaggeration and – very simply – concentrated poetic charm originating from an intelligently restricted choice can melt into an unforgettable event should do the two musicians the honour of attending their concert ...

Süddeutsche Zeitung ... Cornelia Melián and Sabine Liebner succeeded in staging something like the ideal Cage Performance with their carefully chosen Cage program ...

Nürnberger Nachrichten ... The exactly hit on the subtle distinction between serious and clownesque, filigree and bulky, soft and shrill; the piano parts are played sharply defined and delicately, and Cornelia Melián’s singing is downright fabulous ...

Stuttgarter Zeitung ... The way of performing fascinated mind and soul, turned the music into a perfect performance. Simply wonderful!