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Pierrot LunaireNew production

Komische Oper BerlinBehrenstraße 55-57, Berlin, Germany
Dates/times in Berlin time zone
Friday 30 October 202019:30
Friday 06 November 202019:30
Performers
Komische Oper Berlin
Christoph BreidlerConductor
Barrie KoskyDirector
Valentin MattkaSet Designer
Katrin KathCostume Designer
Dagmar ManzelSopranoPierrot Lunaire
Ulrich LenzDramaturgy
Orchester der Komischen Oper Berlin

A dark stage, a woman and her voice—a sound that hovers somewhere between song and speech. With Pierrot Lunaire(1912), Not Me (1972) and Rockaby (1981), Arnold Schoenberg and Samuel Beckett created pioneering monodramas in which language, music, and form break with conventions, coming closer together. Works thus tailor-made for the genre-bending iconoclasts Barrie Kosky and Dagmar Manzel. 

»In order to present our poets, in order to present our composers, we need both spoken-word as well as musical performances,« the Berlin performance artist Albertine Zehme had stated. In 1912, she commissioned Arnold Schoenberg to write the extraordinary melodrama cycle Pierrot Lunaire, which Igor Stravinsky would later refer to as «modernity’s solar plexus.» At that time, Schoenberg was already composing atonally but had not yet committed himself to the twelve-tone technique he was later to develop. Suggestive images of the moon and nighttime recount the life of the artist, in loosely linked scenes.

With their rhythmic sentence fragments and repetitions, Samuel Beckett's monologues are a music unto themselves: in stream-of-consciousness, staccato-like snippets of thoughts, Not I gives free rein to an unchecked logorrhea, as a desperate story of suffering emerges. In Rockaby, a woman’s death in a rocking chair is dramatized as a minimalist meditation. A virtuoso evening full of intricate rhythms, iridescent melodies, and unrestrained theatricality. The audience, brought up close on the stage, closes in on the singing, speaking, and incanting protagonist.

Pierrot Lunaire: Dagmar Manzel © Monika Rittershaus
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