„Catch the king!“ – The chess opera

by Peter Mitschitczek
written for baritone & piano
Length: approx. 50 minutes
For children over 5 years

„Moments ago I was lying in my bed, and suddenly I’m standing on a chessboard?!?“


On the chessboard there’s a lot going on – and I can’t believe my eyes: Over night I seem to have turnded into the White King. Now I am right in the middle of a chess game, next to the likes of Bishop, Lady and Pawn. And yes, there is also this very strange Black King who all of a sudden starts talking and singing to me …

So open your eyes and ears because we are going on an expedition into the world of chess! And there is so much to see: A weird figure appears out of nowhere, shouting at the top of his voice. Did I hear him shout „Chess!“? Then a cute horse comes along. I can see that it loves its freedom and overcomes every obstacle in its way. A mighty rook rolls my way, causing fear wherever he goes. I also meet a Queen so lovely that I cannot help falling in love with her right away … unfortunately, she is already married. Last but not least I get to know a figure which actually isn’t one at all and calls himself „Pawn“.

In the end, all of these black figures put me into a corner and shout out the word „Chess!“ in unison. Suddenly I can hear the Black King lauging. Proudly he announces: „Check and … checkmate!“ But me? I am not giving in so easily …

The idea behind „Catch the king!“

The chess opera was conducted to serve two educational purposes at once: Children are introduced to the basic elements and rules of the chess game. At the same time they are able to hear – some of them for the first time in their lives – an opera. The singer isn’t far away from them, to the contrary. Children can watch and listen at close range. It is very important to me to be accompanied by a piano player. Since no performance and no audience is the same, playing live gives me the opportunity to react individually and in an apt way to the children’s reactions. Only then every show becomes unique and special.