This new production of Karl Amadeus Hartmann's opera Simplicius Simplicissimus at the Staatsoper Stuttgart is performed in its original chamber-music version. This devastating work, composed in the mid 1930s, provides a powerful vision of the horror of war Europe was to experience in the following decade. It was not performed or heard in Germany until after the Second World War. The opera tells the story of Simplicius, a humble shepherd boy, caught up in the terrible destruction brought by the Thirty Years' War of the 17th century. A symphonic version, which Hartmann composed in the fifties, superseded the chamber-music version. Because of its scanty musical texture, abruptness and intimate score, director Christof Nel chose to bring this chamber music version to stage.