Jack Unterweger


His appeal and his charisma predestined him as seducer. Even today, some of his female companions are persuaded of his innocence. Jack Unterweger, in 1974 sentenced to life imprisonment for murder, began to write in prison. He became so famous for his autobiography and his plays, that - due to a petition of 700 intellectuals - the authorities decided to grant him early release. Returned to freedom, Vienna’s in-crowd celebrated Unterweger as journalist and rising-star of the literature scene, and he savoured the chance to travel the world as glossy reporter. But he used his lecture tours for additional homicides in Graz, Prague, Bregenz, Los Angeles and Vienna. In the night, following his second and final imprisonment in1994, he committed suicide in his cell.


John                  Michael                Martin





When a dead serial killer returns to the stage to present his autobiography in a public reading, a comedy is not exactly what we are in for; but what are we demanding, anyway, if we are waiting to see a new opera/play about a murderer of women, for an orchestra on period instruments, two sopranos and one actor? The forecast changes completely if we learn that John Malkovich is going to play the role of Jack, who is launching his “Confessions of a serial killer”. Now we definitely expect the unexpected. That very anticipation made me bold enough to try to write the libretto, and it helped me to finish it within a few weeks. The beginning was simple. While performing easy jokes like a stand-up comedian, Jack introduces his book, which flamboyantly he has called “The Infernal Comedy”. Having come that far, the writer only had to imagine what John’s Jack would be doing next; and what he did was look for the truth? Once the play was written it was a pure pleasure to direct, especially since the piece gave John room for improvisation in a literal way, which means continually improving it and making it better! Although staying perfectly faithful to direction, text and his partners on the stage, John, in every single rehearsal or performance, searched for new possibilities to surprise himself and us. Watching John Malkovich perform, we immediately connected to the ideal for which dramatic art is made: the presence of the moment.

Michael Sturminger

Laura Aikin, John Malkovich © Olga Martschitsch


John Malkovich

Jack Unterweger


N.N. Sopranos


Orchester Wiener Akademie & Musica Angelica Baroque Orchestra Orchestras


Martin Haselböck Conductor

Birgit Hutter Costumes

Michael Sturminger Director