extended version: The Flying Dutchman

The premiere of ›extended version: The Flying Dutchman‹ with Musicboard scholarship holders babelfis and Steve Mekoudja takes place on 11 November 2023 at the Hinterhalt festival in the Tischlerei at the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Pop music meets opera – the interdisciplinary series ›Aus dem Hinterhalt‹ has been taking place in the Tischlerei at the Deutsche Oper since 2016. Guest artists from the world of pop team up with the ensemble members and orchestral musicians from the opera house to develop new productions that comment on well-known operatic works. Spanning concert, music theatre, performance, and installation, the experimental production takes a subversive, anarchic, and critical look at the opera canon. Musicboard Berlin has been partnering with the Deutsche Oper since 2018, awarding two Hinterhalt Commissions annually to Berlin artists for the conception, creation, and composition of an evening under the Hinterhalt banner. The concept behind the scholarship is to support not only the artistic development of its recipients, but also collaboration between the pop and classical music scenes, as well as between independent and institutional structures.

In the current the 2023/24 season, Hinterhalt takes place in the form of a one-day festival. The Hinterhalt festival ›extended version: The Flying Dutchman‹ takes place on 11 November 2023. With ten acts across ten hours and a programme for young and old, writer and director Jan Koslowski is staging an interdisciplinary response to Richard Wagner’s shortest opera, ›The Flying Dutchman‹. Among the participating acts are indie duo babelfis, consisting of musicians Sevda Hamzacebi and Cem Dinler, and writer and musician Steve Mekoudja, joined by a band and dancers. Musicboard selected each of them for the Hinterhalt Commission in 2022.

In ›extended version: The Flying Dutchman‹, babelfis present ›Meryem’s Ballad: The Odyssey of a »Guest Worker«‹, a multimedia storytelling performance that the duo developed for this evening together with video artist Mert Akbal. Backed by a multi-piece band, a choir, and dancers, Steve Mekoudja will perform a concert titled ›Freedom‹.

The ten-hour Hinterhalt festival on 11 November 2023 is divided into three parts, tickets for each of which can be purchased separately. The world premieres by the Musicboard scholarship holders will take place in the second part from 18:00 (admission aged 12 and up). Alternatively, a festival ticket for the whole day is available at a reduced price compared to individual tickets. Tickets can be purchased online through the Deutsche Oper Berlin.


babelfis is an indie/pop duo formed by musicians Sevda Hamzacebi and Cem Dinler. Hailing from Istanbul – now based in Berlin, the band pursues all kinds of stories that they have grown up listening to. Deriving from both western and eastern roots and a scope of other personal influences, the duo focuses on melding all these experiences together through new forms of musical and poetic expressions. Their new work ›Meryem’s Ballad‹ is an interdisciplinary artistic creation, specifically designed for the Hinterhalt Commission in collaboration with visual artist Mert Akbal. More information on ›Meryem’s Ballad‹

Steve Mekoudja travels the world with words. The Cameroonian writer is active as a computer technician and cook, hosts a podcast, and, in addition to these forms of expression, has mastered another language: music. His 2018 album ›Rituals‹ turned traditional conceptions of African and Black masculinity on their head. The ›Origins‹ EP followed in 2022, accompanied by elaborate videos on which he explores contemporary African music as well as socio-political issues.

portrait of babelfis members Sevda Hamzacebi and Cem Dinler
babelfis (Photo: Arda Funda)
Steve Mekoudja (Photo: Yos Clark)
Steve Mekoudja (Photo: Yos Clark)