Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
S47 Ep20

GP at the Met: Wozzeck

Premiere: 5/3/2020 | 00:00:30 | Closed Captioning Icon

Experience artist William Kentridge’s interpretation of Berg’s tragic opera set in an apocalyptic pre-World War I environment. Peter Mattei stars in the title role. Met music director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

About the Episode


Season 14 of Great Performances at the Met continues Sunday, May 3 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings) with Berg’s tragic apocalyptic tale, Wozzeck. Baritone Peter Mattei stars as Wozzeck alongside soprano Elza van den Heever as Marie. Tenor Christopher Ventris as the Drum-Major, mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford as Margret, bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as the Doctor, and tenor Gerhard Siegel as the Captain complete the cast. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

South African artist William Kentridge’s production is set in an apocalyptic pre-World War I environment. As the soldier Wozzeck shaves the Captain, the Captain tells him he is a good man but lacks morality because he has an illegitimate child. Wozzeck replies that virtue is a luxury not meant for the poor. Later, while cutting firewood in the fields, Wozzeck is frightened by visions. He hears noises and imagines the sinking sun as a fire setting the earth aflame. Marie, the mother of Wozzeck’s child, and her neighbor, Margret, admire a military band passing outside their window. When Wozzeck arrives at Marie’s and tells her about his visions, she tries to comfort him, but he runs off towards the barracks without checking on his son. Wozzeck then visits the Doctor and pays to participate in his pseudo-scientific research. When Wozzeck confesses his visions, the Doctor dismisses them as his imagination.

The Drum-Major makes advances at Marie. At first she rejects him, but later gives in and accepts a pair of earrings from him. When Wozzeck arrives, Marie tries to hide the earrings and claims that she found them in the street. Wozzeck gives Marie money and leaves Marie overwhelmed with remorse. As he passes the Captain and the Doctor in the street, they taunt him with allusions to Marie’s infidelity. Shocked, Wozzeck asks them not to make fun of the one thing in the world that is his. He confronts Marie about her involvement with the Drum-Major and she denies it. At the barracks, Wozzeck finds the Drum-Major boasting about his conquest and fights him. In the final act, Marie and Wozzeck walk together near a pond and reminisce before Wozzeck stabs Marie. Bass-baritone and Porgy and Bess star Eric Owens hosts.

Short Listing

Experience Berg’s tragic apocalyptic opera starring Peter Mattei. Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.

Long Listing

Experience artist William Kentridge’s interpretation of Berg’s tragic opera set in an apocalyptic pre-World War I environment. Peter Mattei stars in the title role. Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin conducts.


National airdate: Sunday, May 3 at 12 p.m. on PBS (check local listings)

New York metro area: Sunday, May 3 at 12 p.m. on THIRTEEN

Notable Talent

  • Peter Mattei Wozzeck
  • Elza van den Heever – Marie
  • Tamara Mumford – Margret
  • Christian Van Horn – The Doctor
  • Christopher Ventris – The Drum-Major
  • Gerhard Siegel– The Captain
  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Conductor
  • Eric Owens – Host

Run time: 2 hours

Production Credits

  • Yannick Nézet-Séguin – Conductor
  • Gary Halvorson – Director
  • William Kentridge – Production
  • Luc De Wit – Co-Director
  • Catherine Meyburgh – Projection Designer
  • Sabine Theunissen – Set Designer
  • Greata Goiris – Costume Designer

For the Met, David Frost is Music Producer. Mia Bongiovanni and Elena Park are Supervising Producers. Louisa Briccetti and Victoria Warivonchik are Producers. Peter Gelb is Executive Producer. For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is Series Producer; David Horn is Executive Producer.


Corporate support for Great Performances at the Met is provided by Toll Brothers, America’s luxury home builder®. This Great Performances at the Met presentation is funded by the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Philip and Janice Levin Foundation and public television viewers.

Series Overview

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, bringing the best of the Metropolitan Opera into the homes of classical music fans across the United States.

Websites:,, @GPerfPBS, #GreatPerformancesPBS

About WNET Print

WNET is America’s flagship PBS station: parent company of New York’s THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, the statewide public media network in New Jersey. Through its new ALL ARTS multi-platform initiative, its broadcast channels, three cable services (THIRTEEN PBSKids, Create and World) and online streaming sites, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to more than five million viewers each month. WNET produces and presents a wide range of acclaimed PBS series, including Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, and the nightly interview program Amanpour and Company. In addition, WNET produces numerous documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings, as well as multi-platform initiatives addressing poverty and climate. Through THIRTEEN Passport and WLIW Passport, station members can stream new and archival THIRTEEN, WLIW and PBS programming anytime, anywhere.


In a crumbling pre-World War I world, a common soldier, Wozzeck is tortured by his superiors and by his unfaithful lover.

Witness his chilling descent into madness in the William Kentridge production of Alban Berg's psychological thriller. Starring Peter Mattei and Elza van den Heever and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Look for Wozzeck, on Great performances at the Met.


PBS is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.