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Siegfried Lenz, one of the great writers of German post-war literature is dead. He died on 7 October 2014, surrounded by his family. He was 88 years old.... more more

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08/08/2007

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.

Süddeutsche Zeitung 08.08.2007

Christopher Schmidt has visited actor Joachim Meyerhoff in his summer residence, and gives a starry eyed portrait of "the most wonderful, high-flying bundle of nerves the theatre has to offer": "Too anarchistic for dressage directors, Joachim Meyerhoff takes centre stage even when he's not playing the lead. In "Faust" in 2004 at Hamburg's Schauspielhaus under Jan Bosse, he displayed such sparkling energy that you could only rub your eyes in amazement. That was his breakthrough, but as Meyerhoff himself says: 'Breakthrough always sounds so much like appendicitis.' His tumultuous creativity was crowned this year with his Hamlet in Zurich's Schauspielhaus, once more directed by Jan Bosse. He plays a Danish prince the likes of which the theatre has never seen. No sensitive brooder, but a stormy tartar, a hyperactive upstart, a homebody who suddenly erupts into a homicidal maniac. A Hamlet machine whose off-switch one seeks in vain."

Thomas Urban looks into the week-long conflict in Poland over required reading in schools. The governing coalition is now threatened with collapse over the dispute, centering around the author Witold Gombrowicz. "It's a novelty in the history of European democracies that a controversy surrounding an author should take on such a political dimension. Education Minister Roman Giertych, head of the League of Polish Families, has declared he no longer expects students to have to read works that morally damaging, including those of Gombrowicz ... certainly the most famous Polish writer of the 20th century. Giertych sees his goal of educating Poland's youth in 'order, discipline and patriotism' jeopardised by the sceptic and freethinker Gombrowicz, who never sought to hide his homosexual disposition. The fundamentalist League of Polish Families has even adopted the slogan: 'Giertych or Gombrowicz!'"


Die Welt 08.08.2007

Manuel Brug talks with Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez about his role in Donizetti's opera "The Daughter of the Regiment" at the Staatsoper in Vienna, and how he prepares for the notorious nine high Cs in Tonio's aria "A mes amis." "Not at all. As long as I've been drinking mineral water, or better champagne, the Cs bubble up on their own. No, seriously: the aria requires a huge amount of energy, I have to recharge by resting quietly and gathering my concentration. That can be difficult, especially if you have to move around a lot in a performance, and when you're singing across from Natalie Dessay - she's always running away from you! On the other hand, it's so exhilarating. First I warm up on stage. That keeps me busy. In fact I hardly have time to think, and just launch into it - without worrying too much. And if it went well, I'm happy to repeat it, that's a pure adrenaline rush. I even made it into the headlines in New York and London. For a couple of high notes."


Die Tageszeitung
08.08.2007

Historian Ulrich Herbert remembers how Raul Hilberg revolutionised our image of the Holocaust. "The files provided a radically different picture from that which was circulating publicly at the time, and for many long decades to come. Alone the magnitude of the acts of murder, in both quantitative and territorial terms, the incredible variety of individual measures, the number which stretches into the hundreds of thousands of people who participated, made the idea of a secret event to which aside from Hitler only a few trusted individuals were privy, seem quite absurd."

Brigitte Werneburg has a good old rant about the increasingly "moronic" or rather cinemascopic invitations cards to art events (a recent one from the Deutsche Bank measured 32 x 11cm). "The odds are good that the exhibition opening guest of the future will be sent home with an 'Art Bag'. Filled with a perfume sample from the sponsor, an artist's screen print (which would naturally never exceed the dimensions of the invitation card) or, better still – a multiple in the form of a key ring, which transforms the banal BMW in front of the door into an Art Car. Then it will suddenly strike us that at the end of the day, we are always back at the Deutsche Bank, no matter whether we're in the Albertina or the Gagosian. And that won't do us, the bank, the museum or the gallery any favours."


Neue Zürcher Zeitung 08.08.2007

In a charming homage to William Gibson's trilogy "Neuromancer" writer Georg Klein finds himself probing the theological depths of this typewritten cyberspace vision. '"The flesh that speaks', man in other words, is embroiled in a peculiar battle with what he recognises as the thing most innate to himself. As seriously as it takes it own astuteness, the brain is forced admit to itself that even its most beautiful neuron flashes are bodily phenomena. And the 'evolution of machine intelligence', the lightning-paced refinement of machines in the modern age, can come up with nothing better in the end, than once again to represent the body, whose confines it longs to escape, in a technologically generated space."

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