They?re Still Painting, and More: The Leipzig Art Scene

First a success, then a bubble: the hype surrounding the ?New Leipzig School? put the city on the map of the art world, but also blinkered its vision.... more more

GoetheInstitute

17/10/2006

From the Feuilletons is a weekly overview of what's been happening in the German-language cultural pages and appears every Friday at 3 pm. CET.. Here a key to the German newspapers.

Die Tageszeitung 17.10.2006

Once the performance was over, Frieder Reininghaus still had no idea what had motivated the new director of the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, Kirsten Harms, to stage Alberto Franchetti's National Socialism opera "Germania". "There seems to be no justification for Harms' decision to put Franchetti's schlock in the repertoire – either in terms of 'pure musical' quality or dramatic revelation. Her staging refers, without ever being clear about it, to the path from the 'justified' nationalism of the Lützow students (at the time of Napoleon) to the chauvinism which led to the World Wars. A reference to the military involvement in the Middle East might at least have helped this dusty old opera into the present. Kirsten Harms' inability to think aesthetically about political conflicts is matched only by her lack of courage, demonstrated a few weeks ago in the conflict surrounding the cancellation of 'Idomeneo' (more here and here), to defend the freedom of art against alleged threats. As an opera director in the minefield of contaminated political ideas, she is equally at a loss as in her role as theatre director."


Frankfurter Rundschau
17.10.2006

In contrast with most of his colleagues, Georg-Friedrich Kühn finds Kirsten Harms' production of "Germania" not so bad at all. "Franchetti's music has real power. It sips here and there at the German Lieder repertoire, and helps itself amply to bits of Wagner – somewhere between the Meistersinger and the Valkyrie – and Puccini, and even Mussorgsky and Tchaikovsky. And yet it never ceases searching for its own sound. The most astonishing thing about the production is the fresh and nuanced sound that the new Music Director Renato Palumbo has coaxed out of the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper. Evidently things have got off to a good start. At the end of the night the singers garnered the most applause. Praise goes, above all, to Bruno Caproni as Worms, while Carlo Ventre as Loewe and Lise Lindstrom as Ricke tended to force things somewhat. Kirsten Harms, however, and her team comprising Bernd Damovsky (stage design) and Gabriele Jaenicke (costumes) had to stomach plenty of booing as well."

The Ensemble Modern, one of the most accomplished contemporary music ensembles, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. On Thursday, percussionist and founding member Rumi Ogawa will premiere four percussion works written for her. Hans-Jürgen Linke asks: "What will Rumi do?" and tells the following anecdote: "The question is both a quote and a title from one of the ensemble's CDs, 'Greggery Peccary & Other Persuasions,' with music by Frank Zappa. 'Zappa gave the ensemble a little test when they started working together in the early 90s. He sang a short piece and asked the musicians to play it and improvise. It was something rather simple, says Rumi Ogawa, but she evidently listened a little too closely to Zappa's small slurs and mumblings, so that the result was rather complex. Maestro Zappa was astounded, and this gave the piece its name."


Der Tagesspiegel
17.10.2006

Verena Mayer portrays Berlin-based dramatist Kai Hensel: "No one knows his name. He never appears in cultural circles, neither at the Theatertreffen festival, nor in Theater Heute, the most widely-read magazine in the German theatre world. And yet Kai Hensel is one of the most important figures in German theatre today. Each year the German Theatre Association tallies up figures for which play was performed the most frequently that year. The result: not Goethe, not Schiller, not Brecht. It was 'Klamm's War' by Kai Hensel."

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