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Volksoper confronts his past on stage

Volksoper confronts his past on stage

Dutch director and author Theo Bormans tells the story of the first weeks of 1938, before the Anschluss. They are rehearsing the operetta Greetings and Kisses from the Wachau by Jara Benes, which still exists today only in rudiments. While inside the house people like director Kurt Heske (Jacob Simutin) want to ignore the Nazis’ impending takeover and build the theater as a dream world, others like librettist Fritz Löner Beda (Carsten Söss) are much more critical of the theater. Situation.

Reality is exploding forcefully in this so-called isolated world. Social change, the beginning of open hostility towards Jews working at home, can no longer be stopped by director Aleksander Kowalewski (Marco Di Sabia). If the basis of trust between those involved collapses initially, dismissals will soon follow after the seizure of power. The leading artists in the production eventually have to flee or be killed in a concentration camp. In the end, Hugo Weiner sits alone at the piano as images and fates of those affected flash across the screen. Strong final image

The recently published book Your Services Are No Longer Required by Theater Museum director Marie-Thérèse Arnbaum served as the basis. As well as historical figures such as Wiener (Florian Karov), Lohner Beda (Karsten Söss), and Kurt Herbert Adler (Lucas Watzl), and fictional characters such as the Yiddish-speaking mentor Osip Rosenthal (Andreas Patton) and the gay interior designer. Created for the stage added by Leo Ash (Simon Kumasa), expanding the scope of destiny beyond the stars. Popular actor Gerhard Ernst, as the stage manager, is a frog-like character from “Bat,” who sorts out events as a sad commentator.

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In his piece, Theo Bormans combines the three facts of the operetta, his rehearsals, and historical events in the outside world that flash through the theater space using contemporary video recordings. The 73-year-old manages remarkably well to ignore the emotional fluctuations between these three levels of the narrative. It’s a journey on the edge that works, even if the happiness remains stuck in your throat.

The stage design (Bernhard Hammer) also switches seamlessly between the colorful world of the operetta, the solid concrete exposed to nothing but stylized reality, and the circular scaffolding on which short private scenes of the heroes take place simultaneously offstage. This emotional rollercoaster is ultimately reflected at least in the musical form. The evening’s Israeli conductor, Keren Kagarlitsky, is credited with reconstructing Bennis’s lost operetta score from the existing piano score. As for the interludes, works by Jewish composers such as Schoenberg, Mahler or Ullmann were used, giving the event a completely different background.

“Let’s Forget the World” doesn’t beautify anything and absolutely hates escapism. Here a Hitler salute is shown, SA uniforms are worn, and at the end, behind the operetta’s final chorus, shots of emaciated concentration camp survivors flash across the stage background. Volksoper publicly confronts a painful part of its past. It is impressive the effort put into this – both in the long preparatory work for the project and in terms of its implementation, in which large parts of the group are involved. It was a dignified, in every sense of the word, a fitting memorial, and they stood at the end of it for a full minute.

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(By Martin Fechter-Voss/APA)

(Service – “Let’s forget the world – Volksoper 1938” at Volksoper, Währinger Straße 78, 1090 Vienna. Direction, script, libretto: Theo Bormans, set design: Bernhard Hammer, costumes: Joren van Beek, lighting: Alex Brock, conductor music Musical: Keren Kajarlitski with artistic director Aleksander Kowalewski – Marco Di Sabia, conductor Osip Rosenthal – Andreas Patton, composer Hugo Wiener – Florian Karov, librettist Fritz Löhner Beda – Carsten Söss, conductor Kurt Herbert Adler – Lukas Watzl, director Kurt Heske – Jacob Simutan, set designer Leo Asch – Simon Komasa, stage manager – Gerhard Ernst, Hulda Gerin – Johanna Arwas, Victor Fleming – Ben Connor, Fritz Imhoff – Karl Michael Ebner, Trudel Molnitz – Teresa Dachs, Olga Zelenka – Sofia Vinik, Cathy Truman – Julia Kocchi, Walter Schödel – Nikolaus Haag, Frieda Hesche – Ulrike Steinsky, Emil Kraus – Sebastian Reinthaler, Franz Hammer – Johannes Dickenbach, Kurt Breul – Kurt Schreibmeier, Johanna Kreuzberger – Regula Rosen, Horst Gödel – Robert Bartnik, Fritz Küchel – Axel.Herig, Hans Frauedienst – Thomas Sigwald, among others Other performances on December 21 and 27 and on January 5, 8, 10, 14, 17, 21 and 25. )