The first two humans on earth were in love. The third man killed the fourth. Die ersten Menschen tells the story of the first family in the biblical history of mankind: Adahm and Chawa and their sons Kajin and Chabel. In Die ersten Menschen, the well-known Bible story of Kajin's murder of his brother is interpreted from a completely different angle.
Die ersten Menschen is set in a vast primeval landscape, where the first family on earth cannot avoid mutual confrontation. Chawa feels estranged from Adahm and longs for their younger years. Sons Kajin and Chabel have very different views on life. Kajin feels close to nature and is filled with sexual desires, while Chabel lives by his religious beliefs and fulfils the role of the perfect son. Kajin finds in his mother the archetypal woman he has been searching for and is jealous of his mother's love for Chabel. The envy drives him to kill his own brother. Left alone, Adahm and Chawa understand what awaits mankind.
The German author Otto Borngräber (1874-1916) gave his libretto, based on a play of his own, the subtitle 'Erotisches Mysterium'. In his symbolic interpretation of the Bible story, he was clearly inspired by the psychoanalysis that celebrated its heyday in his time – Freud is heard in the background. Borngräber shows how the primitive family is torn apart by the tension between the sexual urge and the greedy life on the one hand, and a life dedicated to the spiritual on the other. Two brothers who, in the narrow circle of the family, stand for two completely different views of life. The erotic and incestuous nature of the story caused a great deal of controversy during the performance of the play and led to intervention by the censorship.