Berlin (MH) – The unfinished musical oeuvre of the Greek Jani Christou has inspired six contemporary composers to create new experimental works. The resulting piece “Once to be realised” had its world premiere on Sunday evening on the workshop stage of the Deutsche Oper Berlin. The audience in the carpentry shop, sitting on cushions on the floor during the performance, gave appreciative applause.
The composers Beat Furrer, Barblina Meierhans, Olga Neuwirth, Samir Odeh-Tamimi, Younghi Pagh-Paan and Christian Wolff surprised the audience with high-contrast formats that moved between concert, music theater and installation. Cicadas chirped, drums twirled, singers sang from different positions. The audience, which was guided in several stages from a seat in front of the opera house in the Tischlerei, was itself part of the performance.
The Swiss Cordula Bürgi is in charge of the musical direction, and the Greek Michail Marmarinos is responsible for the staging. Vocal soloists, who appeared together with music ensembles and performance artists, interpreted texts in German, English, ancient Greek and in an artificial language based on ancient Phoenician.
Christou, who died in a car accident on his 44th birthday in 1970, was gilded as an outsider in the post-war musical avant-garde. In his later work, he combined elements of theatre, performance and installation art with music under the keyword “metapraxis”. In the last years of his life he made more than 130 composition sketches, most of which were never implemented.
“Once to be realised” was created as a co-production of the Munich Biennale with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Onassis Cultural Center Athens. The premiere, originally planned for spring 2020, had to be postponed twice due to the corona pandemic.
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