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“The Other Mary” in Volkswagen: Jesus' Revolution in the Global South

“The Other Mary” in Volkswagen: Jesus' Revolution in the Global South

The underlying theme is that what the Bible says has already happened in the Global South. In that part of the world that later suffered from colonialism. And what has recently become the focus of left-wing living room revolutionaries, but also the arts scene: there are previously oppressed people everywhere, who are now being brought profitably to the forefront. These are those who experienced Jesus' revolution but were never allowed to tell their story, the women, the poor, the oppressed.

The “other Mary,” who narrates the Gospel here, is a combination of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus.

The latter runs a home for unemployed and homeless women with her sister Martha – and has to watch her brother die because no one helps the poor except Jesus, who comes too late.

Therefore, only miracles help the poor.

On the Volksoper stage, this is represented by archetypes of rebellion, colorful employees of the holistic view of humanity, which clearly goes hand in hand with the postcolonial point of view. Old and young, binary and non-binary, many women in leading roles – you don't see that on opera stages.

A range of different poems with a feminist perspective are sung throughout, from Hildegard von Bingen to Louise Erdrich to Dorothy Day: the salvation of Lazarus and the resurrection of Jesus are intertwined with modern struggles for freedom and the discourse of self-empowerment.

The production adheres to an oratorio, sometimes people walk around the stage, sometimes large animal heads or extensive foot-washing are used (Director: Lisenka Heijboer Castañón). The first act is defined by a rotating container, the second by the open space.

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Pressure from above

The main performer is the music (on stage: Nicole Paiment) – which is wonderful, especially if you appreciate choral singing, which is not a mistake in principle. Adams lets the choral voices rage at the same level as the soloists; In popular opera it usually comes from above. In many moments, the work is something like – we stay on topic – the holy grail of new music: joyful, emotional, and yes, you can hum in many places. At three hours, that's a very long time.

And the different colors, in which text, music and beautiful (counter) sounds are mixed again and again, become so rich that you will soon be full, but you still have a lot to do.