Overwhelmed by the psychological strain of her task, Chang took her own life. As I read her suicide note, I felt an inner force grow that would lead me to complete her mission. The opera 170 Days in Nanking – The Diaries of John Rabe tells the story of the massacre of Nanking from the perspective of witnesses. What happened before the eyes of the international friends Rabe, Vautrin and Magee was an extremely critical moment in Chinese history. What interested me was their willingness to stay in Nanking. Nanking’s city walls from the early Ming Dynasty are still standing by our side. What could they tell us?
After a ten-year break, I took this opportunity to work again as an opera director. It became clear to me that the many years of perfection were nothing but preparation for this one play. Without this opera I would probably never have realized how much I love the city of Nanking and how deep my sympathy is for it.