The new Julian Barnes: With Bohème against Brexit

The new Julian Barnes: With Bohème against Brexit

Julian Barnes is considered one of the most vehement opponents of Brexit in his country. He wrote his new book while the exit negotiations were ongoing. “The man in the red skirt”, so the title, goes back to the time of the Belle Époque, but it has a lot to do with the current relationship between the United Kingdom and Europe.

“Extreme nationalism, anti-Semitism and great xenophobia prevailed at the end of the 19th century, so the times were just as terrible as today,” said Julian Barnes in the Guardian interview. By chance, however, Barnes came across a man who opposed nationalist currents.

Pozzi, a sensible person in a crazy time …

… writes Julian Barnes about his Samuel Pozzi in “The Man in the Red Skirt”.

Mind journey to the Belle Époque

Unlike in his previous book “The Noise of Time” about the composer Dmitri Shostakovich, this time Julian Barnes does not present a novel, but an essay that strolls through the time with relish.

“There are longer passages with quotations and then again Barnes reflections on the subject and this constant change of style makes for a lot of variety,” says Gertraude Krüger, who has been translating Barnes books into German for more than thirty years.

Doctor Heartbreaker

But who was this Samuel Pozzi? As a Frenchman of Italian descent, he made a career as a doctor in Paris and treated the celebrities of his time. Among them was the ‘divine Sarah’, the actress Sarah Bernhardt, with whom he began an affair. One of many affairs Pozzi had during his life. Which didn’t detract from his reputation as a doctor and scientist. His textbook on gynecology was recognized worldwide as a basic work. There, in the introduction, Julian Barnes found a sentence that won him over to Pozzi:

Chauvinism is a manifestation of ignorance.

With this attitude Samuel Pozzi was the perfect companion for Julian Barnes on his excursion to the Belle Époque.

What can we know

Barnes paints the image of the epoch like a kaleidoscope, alternating between the political and the private, between art and scandals, and in this way gropes his way to an understanding of the thought world of that time, accurate in detail and true to life.

“What can we know? Is a central question for Barnes, and where there are no sources, he says quite openly, and the sentence can be found several times in the book: We don’t know,” says translator Gertraude Krüger.

Book cover


Duell Epoch

Julian Barnes describes the political events, such as how the Dreyfus Process divided France, or how England and France stood on the brink of war. In the same way, it penetrates the mentality of society and shows its violent and neurotic side by means of the escalating number of duels. The future Secretary of War George Clemenceau fought no less than twenty-two duels in his life, we learn there.

The life of the bohemian

The cultural life of the time is also very central to Barnes. Oscar Wilde or Marcel Proust appear and you can read about the bohemians’ immense lust for disguise, which staged itself in front of the camera in oriental, Japanese or Renaissance robes. It was also the Boheme that ensured a lively exchange between Paris and London, while the conservative forces fueled the reservations.

“I have a very strong feeling that the events surrounding Brexit were the trigger for Barnes’ preoccupation with the Belle Époque. Because he repeatedly emphasizes how important the cultural relations were back then, between France and England, but also between England and the rest of Europe, “says translator Gertraude Krüger.

The strolling look

With Samuel Pozzi, Julian Barnes has found a brilliant linchpin, because Pozzi went hunting with the French President and went on an art shopping tour to London with his dandy friends. With Pozzi, Barnes can let his gaze wander in all directions, and that makes “The Man in the Red Skirt” an incredibly dazzling portrait of the time.


Julian Barnes, “The Man in the Red Skirt”, Kiepenheuer & Witsch




In memoriam Carlos do Carmo

In memoriam Carlos do Carmo

On New Years Day, the famous Portuguese fado singer Carlos do Carmo died at the age of 81. He was known as the “voice of Lisbon” and was one of the best singers of Fado, a musical style characterized by melancholy and the feeling of longing. Nadja Kayali pays tribute to the King of Fado in the “Spielraum”.

Do Carmo received a Latin Grammy Award in 2014 for his oeuvre. He had appeared on the world’s major stages, such as the Olympia in Paris, the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Frankfurt Opera.

The Portuguese government under Socialist Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the news of do Carmo’s death had been received with “extreme dismay” and “deep sorrow”. A one-day state mourning was announced for Monday.

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that do Carmo’s knowledge of Fado and his clear singing style had earned him popular and critical recognition since his first album was released in the 1960s. In 1976 he represented his country at the Eurovision Song Contest, but only reached twelfth place.

In the encyclopedia of Portuguese music of the 20th century, do Carmo is named as one of the most important exponents of Fado. With his 1977 album “Um homem na cidade” he established a new style. The Mayor of Lisbon, Fernando Medina, praised Carlos do Carmo as “the voice of the city”. Do Carmo was born in Lisbon on December 21, 1939.


How was Culture going this week? # 6

Emmanuel Meirieu: “Let’s all open together, between 6 and 8 pm. What are the site managers at risk? ”

As a director, he founded his own “association” when he was 17 years old. He is one of the signatories of the “On ouvre” manifesto, which opposes the non-reopening of places of culture. He was able to play his show, the shipwrecked in a high school. He speaks quickly and vehemently.

«“Places of culture that welcome the public do not present a greater health risk than trains, shops, public transport”, says Arnaud Fontanet, epidemiologist at the Institut Pasteur. In that case, why don’t we open? If it is not a health choice, it is a political choice. And if it is a political choice, it would be good for the government to assume it. You have to open up. Not in a while, but from tonight. If we don’t have the right, we have the duty. I work for subsidized scenes, I am paid by the citizens. We are not irresponsible. Thanks to a principal who offered us asylum, we had the pleasure, yesterday, to present our show in front of 60 high school students, while protecting each other.

“I don’t believe artists are essential. But that in a community, everyone is essential, and that we do not have the right to sacrifice part of it, out of indifference. My shows deal with texts that only talk about that. The shipwrecked is the story of a man who spent fifteen years of his life with tramps. My obsession is to show which ones are erased. That’s the whole point. You cannot be reduced to ten-meter intestines, to an economically viable body. Recently, prehistoric paintings have been discovered on entire sections of cliffs in the middle of the Amazon rainforest. They represent extinct animal species that we did not know. It was the first men who reached the Amazon who drew them. When in 1976, NASA sent the “golden record” into space, it was not an Excel table or stock charts that were introduced there to signal possible aliens, but works of art. .

“My transporter who travels thousands of kilometers to deliver the scenery does not receive any aid. He will be the first to put the key under the door. He is more essential than me so that the show can be performed as we imagined it. Let’s all open together, between 6 and 8 p.m. What are the site managers at risk? A fine of 135 euros and an administrative closure. On condition that the prefects decide to move to close places that are not dangers but in danger. ” Collected by Anne Diatkine

Corrine : “Something has broken, in relation to music, as in relation to joy”

Under the costumes of the cruel cabaret creature Corrine, seen next to Madame Arthur or at Poussière au Zèbre in Belleville, there is Sébastien Vion, actor and DJ, who has felt the two confinements pass. It was also an opportunity for him to make some changes to his career, such as leaving Madame Arthur to join the new program in the form of a monthly cabaret-show. Extravagant, broadcast on Paris Première.

“The two confinements, despite the tetany they could have caused in me, especially the first, led me to consider the essential, such as not wasting too much time with people who do not correspond to me and to think also to collaborations with those I love. The electronic musician Plaisir de France, for example, with whom we created pieces, including one that will be released in February or March. I had been singing at Madame Arthur’s cabaret for five years. It brought me a lot, but I was caught in a system, imprisoned in a character, so that I no longer did anything on the side. TV show Extravagant allows me to remember that I am also a comedian. The point is that you write your own columns. We shot the show by welcoming Marlène Schiappa as a guest last week… It will be broadcast on December 26th.

“When I left the first confinement, I was able to do things, like mixing at the Cabaret Sauvage in early August. It was a moment of intense communion, despite the sanitary constraints. If there is a pleasure to replay, we will not hide that it is not the pleasure of playing as before. As for the DJing community, let’s not even talk about it… I take advantage of the Extravagantes program to bring up the subject, defend the environment which is clearly endangered by the health crisis. At home, I hardly listen to music anymore. I reversed the buttons. Usually I was looking for songs to make people dance. So many dates have been canceled that something has broken, in relation to the music, as in relation to the joy. And it must be said that, since the last announcements, I no longer dream… Not sure that it will come back. I stay in my place as I am asked, like a well-behaved child or a well-trained tiger, watching through the window the essentials intermingle. I await, disappointed, the high mass of intergenerational contaminations that will be Christmas and which will inevitably postpone the umpteenth promise to reopen our rooms. Unpleasant feeling of being invisible! Happy New Year…” Collected by Jérémy Piette

Read alsoHow’s the culture going? # 5

Adrien de Van: “I have never felt such anger in the profession”

Following Jean Castex’s announcements on December 10, the director of the Théâtre Paris Villette decided, as did the inter-union, to seize the Council of State to contest the closure of cinemas and theaters, which he sees as a “violation of the principle of equality”.

“When, with equal health protocol (theaters and churches for example), the rules apply differently, there is a breach of equity. No document or study proves to us, on scientific criteria, the difference that there would be between circulating in a supermarket and circulating in the Louvre. In any case, no one gave them to us. If the criterion is not health, it can only be ideological and political. It is therefore a choice of society. On what grounds was it decided that it was more important to be able to hear the story of Jesus than that of King Lear? What does that say about our vision of spirituality? If again this choice had been the subject of a debate, if arguments had clashed …

“After Mr. Castex’s speech, it seemed impossible to me to return to the Théâtre Paris Villette and tell the teams that we had to relaunch this cancellation machine without, at the same time, asking for accounts. So, our partners and ourselves approached the law firm of William Bourdon, a lawyer specializing in civil liberties. As the places of worship had done, we decided to seize the Council of State. This is an emergency procedure, the answer should fall [en début de semaine prochaine]. For its part, the inter-union has taken the same action, our lawyers will probably coordinate afterwards. Maître Bourdon thinks that the luck is weak but finds the approach perfectly founded. Above all, it is worth it, if only to force the government to clearly justify its position. At no time have I felt such anger in the profession. ” Collected by Eve Beauvallet



Viennese Modernism in the Leopold Museum

Viennese Modernism in the Leopold Museum

On the occasion of the reopening after the temporary Corona closure, the Leopold Museum is presenting two new exhibitions on Viennese Modernism: In addition to “Inspiration Beethoven – A Symphony in Pictures”, it is dedicated to the architect and designer Emil Pirchan, a companion of Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner and Gutav Klimt.

With these presentations, comprising a total of almost 300 objects, Leopold Museum Director Hans-Peter Wipplinger expands the radius of the large permanent exhibition “Vienna 1900 – Departure into Modernism” and focuses on the renewal efforts of the Secessionists in the sense of a total work of art.

Fidus (Hugo Höppener), design for a Beethoven temple, in: Jugend.  Munich illustrated weekly for art and life, 1903


The music room dedicated to Ludwig van Beethoven in the villa of the Viennese jewelry manufacturer Scheid was reconstructed for this exhibition – a total work of art: five paintings two and a half meters high and nine meters long adorn its walls, painted by Josef Maria Auchentaller and inspired by Beethoven’s VI. Symphony, the “pastoral”.

Idea of ​​the total work of art

One of the protagonists of the art movement of that time and supporter of the idea of ​​the total work of art was Emil Pirchan, who was then completely forgotten. His estate, which had been in an attic in Switzerland for 60 years, was recently discovered, as Hans Peter Wipplinger, director of the Leopold Museum explains: “For me, these two exhibitions are important additions, two focus exhibitions that highlight the diverse networks of that time illuminate. “

Pirchan pursued the idea of ​​the Gesamtkunstwerk until his death in the 1950s. He became really famous in the 1910s when he went to Munich and founded a poster school there. He designed posters for exhibitions and theaters, but also very successful advertising posters for business. The first collaboration with Leopold Jessner took place in 1919.

Emil Pirchan, Plakatentwurf


Emil Pirchan, Plakatentwurf

The Jessner staircase by Emil Pirchan

Hans-Peter Wipplinger: “The two were a congenial team, they released the ‘Wilhelm Tell’ in Berlin, which became a total scandal because the audience expected a naturalistic set and costumes. Instead, they left the ‘Wilhelm Tell’ appear in a very expressionistic game in a stage setting with a very minimalist, reduced formal language and of course with the typical so-called Jessner staircase, which was actually an invention of Pirchan. The story was anything but patriotic – that led to this scandal. “

Pirchan designed 50 sets in Prague, Berlin and Vienna, where he worked at the State Opera and the Burgtheater. Hans Peter Wipplinger describes Emil Pirchan as “Homo Ludens”, a playful prancing artist who appropriated all these art forms as a great thinking machine, a generator of ideas.

Opera house for the Brazilian jungle

Emil Pirchan even designed an opera house for the Brazilian jungle that was never built, but with its futuristic design language can be seen as a model in this exhibition. It anticipated the idea of ​​Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo. If it had ever been built, it would have been an icon of 1930s architectural history.




Five years of Kino Asyl –

Five years of cinema asylum

2015, the year of the wave of refugees in Central Europe, is now five years ago. The film festival Kino Asyl, which was organized by the City of Munich for the first time in November, will be just as old this year. Refugees were given the opportunity to show films from their homeland to a Munich audience.

The festival organizers attach great importance to the fact that the films selected by the asylum seekers themselves reflect everyday life in their country of origin or particularly popular films – such as this year the children’s film about a goat in Afghanistan.

The mountains of Afghanistan, in front of it a small, cheeky goat with her two siblings. The narrator whispers the ancient introductory formula in Dari. A somewhat bumpy cartoon that is refreshingly missing the Disney professionalism. The 2011 animated fairy tale film is reminiscent of “The Wolf and the Seven Little Goats”. A mother goat fighting for her young, a story that has been told in Afghanistan’s villages for centuries.

Mahdi Amiri also grew up with it, his contribution to the two-week festival “Kino Asyl”, says the Afghan, who works for an optician in Munich today: “For example, in winter when we were sitting in the living room with our family, it was ours Grandmother or mom or grandpa tells. “

The life of children in Afghanistan

Amiri chose two older films that don’t focus on his escape, but rather show the life of children in Afghanistan. In the 2013 film “Sahadat Becomes Television”, the father turns the boy off – television ban in Afghan. But he and his friend cheekily invent new games to pass the time. Insights into everyday life in the Hindu Kush, sometimes without the Taliban, warlords and resolutions.

Fight against poverty, corruption and a lack of education

Right from the start, Kino Asyl has tried to strike a balance between entertainment and political art.
One of the female curators, Liliane Lakrabe, is learning to be a nurse in Munich today. She is from Uganda. Your election film “The Boda-Boda-Thieves” shows the fight of the boy Abel against poverty, corruption and a lack of education. “I think this is a global issue, many young people feel the same way – around the world,” says the 25 year old.

Three of 17 contributions that will be shown at the Kino Asyl festival this year until December 13th. One story from Yemen, one from Senegal, from Egypt, several from Syria, but also European productions like Caroline Fourest’s “Operation Red snake / Soeurs d’armes” about a group of women who oppose IS.

Available for the first time online worldwide

For two weeks, twice as long as before, the films will be available to viewers free of charge on the festival website, says Linus Einsiedler from the 30-strong festival team. Instead of streaming in the Münchner Kammerspiele exclusively online and that worldwide – also in the countries of origin:

“Well, I think it’s especially nice that we have more films than ever before. This is also an opportunity for the online festival. Before we were always committed to the festival evenings. This time we have a lot more. The challenges too, Getting the film rights is always super exciting, getting contacts from these countries and then getting the rights for them.

The migration situation has changed

The core point of the Kino Asyl festival since 2015: You don’t want to commit yourself to countries, national cinema traditions or genre. Every asylum seeker can suggest his or her favorite film. Since the festival started in 2015, you can tell from the selection that the migration situation has changed, says Linus Einsiedler: “What is really exciting is that it has changed in such a way that more and more films are coming out that are also more cheerful, in quotation marks Are “funnier”, humorous, maybe also black humor, compared to the last few years. Now other topics are relevant, including topics that you know from childhood and youth, and are not topics that are difficult, emotional and tell escape stories. “

For the first time online worldwide, that is one of the few positive effects of the corona pandemic, said Einsiedler. This year, friends, acquaintances and family members of the refugees in their countries of origin could watch.

Miran Ahmad posted the link to the festival on his Facebook page. He was asked what it was and what he was doing there. Even the Syrian media reported. Participation in the festival is also a chance for his friends to see him and his two selected films, says Miran, who used to be a presenter on Syrian television himself and has been in Germany for two years.

This time he is moderating for Kino Asyl.

Design: Susanne Lettenbauer


Cinema asylum



Cabaret – Thomas Stipsits wins the “Salzburger Stier 2021”

According to ORF, Thomas Stipsits (born 1983 in Leoben) can look back on five solo programs, two satirical cabarets and a retrospective – in addition to countless film and television appearances. He worked in films such as “Baumschlager” or “Love Machine” as well as in “Tatort” or the ORF series “Vorstadtweiber”. Together with Manuel Rubey he developed the two plays “Triest” and “Gott und Söhne”, his first thriller “Headscarf Mafia” has been sold 50,000 times. His second Stinatz crime novel called “Uhudler Conspiracy” appears in late autumn. Thomas Stipsits lives in Vienna, Lower Austria and Karpathos.

Moritz Neumeier (born in 1988 and grew up with seven siblings in Schleswig-Holstein) is a poetry slammer, stand-up comedian and cabaret artist. In 2012 his stage program “Satire macht frei” premiered. He runs a weekly video blog and has also been presenting the satire podcast “Talk ohne Gast” together with Till Reiners since 2017. According to the broadcast, Lara Stoll (born 1987 in Schaffhausen) is considered the punk of the Swiss poetry slam scene and has won numerous prizes. After touring with her first stage solo “Hanni, Nanni & Ich”, from 2011 to 2015 she completed a film degree at the Zurich University of the Arts. With the collective “Bild mit Ton” she has been producing experimental videos and movies since 2013, and in 2015 she founded the punk band “Pfffff”, which later became the synth-pop-techno project “Stefanie Stauffacher”. After her stage programs “Krisengebiet” and “Krisengebiet 2 – Electric Boogaloo”, her latest and fourth solo program is entitled “Summit of Joy”.

The “Ehrenstier” will go to the Swiss cabaret artist Joachim Rittmeyer (born 1951 in St. Gallen) in 2021. After training as a teacher and two years of journalism, he premiered his first solo program “Lachen und Pfützen” at the age of 23. 20 more solo programs followed. His genre is detailed figure cabaret. In parallel to his current solo program “New Secret Niche”, he is currently playing the duo comedy “The Last Piepser” with Patrick Frey.

The “Salzburger Stier” has been awarded every year since 1982 to cabaret artists from Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Ten radio stations work closely together for the “Salzburger Stier”: ORF, SFR, six ARD stations as well as Deutschlandfunk and RAI Südtirol. The prizes will be awarded on May 8, 2021 as part of the cabaret forum “Salzburger Stier 2021” in the Karlsruhe “Tollhaus”.


Absurd theater in absurd times

UNPOP – the ensemble for unpopular leisure activities – took Beckett’s “Endspiel” literally and thus gave the theater in the head building (TiK) in Dornbirn shine and flair.

“Endgame” by Samuel Beckett

Since 2016, director Stephan Kasimir and outfitter Caro Stark have been bringing topics beyond the banality to the stage and plays by contemporary authors to Vorarlberg. She is particularly interested in absurd theater and has already staged “Some Messages to Space” by Wolfram Lotz as well as classics such as “The Chairs” by Eugène Ionesco. In the Corona year 2020 her choice fell on “Endgame”, for which Samuel Beckett wished “that there would be a lot of laughter in this piece.”

Actors play actors who act

Beckett's final at the TiK in DornbirnAt the beginning, the actors find themselves on stage with a slip of paper with instructions on how to get into the game. Robert Kahr immediately chooses the role of gentleman and sits contentedly on Hamm’s armchair. His pleasure in the role dims as soon as he learns that Hamm is blind and paralyzed. Wolfgang Pevestorf reluctantly takes on the other three roles: Clov, the limping foster son and troubled servant, Nagg and Nell, the unloved producers of Hamm. So the actors play actors, the acting. A successful trick by director Kasimir to get the audience in the mood for the absurd.

Optical illusion

Caro Stark has enlarged the stage space into the absurd. She places the actors on a white surface, a kind of nothingness, which with simple lines and an extremely low set vanishing point becomes a hall that is full of emptiness, apart from a picture hanging upside down on the wall, which means in the absurd world that it’s upside down. Stark effectively masters the art of achieving a lot with little.

Elementary questions and empty phrases

Is it time for the sedative or the tonic? Has anything changed in the world or are Hamm, Clov, Nagg and Nell still alone and isolated? Stop or go? Is it coming to an end? Is something significant happening right now? Do they matter? Is the master of the pantry sole ruler? Can the servant simply no longer take the liberty of playing along? What about love Such elementary questions are asked clownishly and absurdly and of course left unanswered, preferably dismissed with an empty phrase.

Direction by Samuel Beckett

“Very white faces” is the direction Samuel Beckett directed for his characters in “Endgame”. With such make-up, Pevestorf and Kahr look like clowns, those characters who make you laugh by seriously engaging with the world. They mime their sad, touching roles convincingly with due seriousness, dry laughter and apt use of their distinctive voices.

More relevant than ever

“End, it’s over, it’s going to end, maybe it’s going to end” is the first sentence in Samuel Beckett’s “Endspiel”, published in three languages ​​in 1957 and premiered in Paris, reminding us of the impossibility of certainty in the time span between birth and death and a certain political speech that postulates security fails because of reality. Nothing is certain, is more topical than ever. So let’s laugh. //

Text: Ruth Kanamüller
Photos: Theater in the head building

Beckett's finalBrief info:
Play by Samuel Beckett
Director Stephan Kasimir
Furnishing Dear Stark
actor Robert Kahr, Wolfgang Pevestorf
Ensemble for unpopular leisure activities in cooperation with Theater Wagabunt
Review of the premiere on October 22nd, 2020 at TIK Dornbirn

Final game Gylaax banner


When the Jehovah’s Witnesses ring three times (

The Viennese themselves are rather morbid. No matter what he says, his dialect gives every thesis, no matter how steep, a soft touch of coffee house and the Habsburg monarchy. Helmut Qualtinger’s “Herr Karl” got its dangerous charm from this, and Lisa Eckhart posed in front of an audience with her “metrical tactlessness”, made up like a craft product. Between the clumsy Qualtinger and the smug, smug Lisa Eckhart, Josef Hader seems pretty lost. Maybe it’s age, at the end of fifties you inevitably get caught between all fronts of the zeitgeist.

His cabaret solo programs (five so far) do not fit into any scheme, have no thesis, no target group and actually no choreography. He has obviously been preoccupied with himself since his first program “Hader privat” in the mid-1990s. In other words: How do you survive as an independently thinking person in Austria? By trying again and again to swim to the safe shore. In a country as little maritime as Austria, however, this is a rather hopeless endeavor. Jumping is better for such notorious dry swimmers – from one state of consciousness to another, from reality to the surreal.

Listening to quarrels is like a never-ending roller coaster ride – and anyone who does not jump along as a listener is lost in this torrent of associations, volts and sottisen. The performance artist Hader, now with a Corona makeshift program at the Berlin cabaret theater “Die Wühlmäuse”, is initially an artist who refuses to perform. He drags himself onto the stage with little relish, apparently something always hurts him, and begins to read out what is written down on loose sheets of paper, soon interrupts himself again with: “Have I already said that?”

For Hader, distance is a matter of instinct – you can like many things, but people? For Hader, this is a full-length topic. A virus like the one with the illustrious name Corona should actually be an ally for him. No more shaking hands, least of all hugs, you almost never have to leave your apartment – ideal times for misanthropes. Unfortunately, viruses are not ironic per se. However, in contrast to the common influenza virus, which does its work more in secret, the coronavirus seems to have a narcissistic tendency: It is constantly pushing itself into the foreground in the media. But other things inevitably take a back seat, undeservedly.

Hader bluntly expresses what many city dwellers think outside of their habitat: You only go there to earn money and then quickly leave! In the Weinviertel near Vienna the world is anything but intact, but at least the alcohol is cheap. And what would creative people be without alcohol? A desert in which no more ideas bloom. Hader’s one-man shows have always lived in multiple breaks, so that as a viewer you run the risk of completely losing your bearings.

»Hader plays Hader« is the 90-minute short version of his five previous programs with all kinds of contemporary sprinkles. It has something of a hastily produced sampler with the title »Corona Edition«. Creative chaos of a loose-leaf collection, in which the lecturer can get lost in the dark forest. Even his first solo program “Hader privat” over 20 years ago drifted off into the irretrievably surreal in seemingly inappropriate places. You were just sitting in the sauna, then suddenly you were in hell with Adolf Hitler. You should be damned careful who you let the infusion do.

Infection is contact that you do not want, an uninvited visit that is difficult to get rid of. Kind of like the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Although prayer is otherwise a reliable help against the virus. If you firmly believe in God – and gargle with disinfectants and combine intermittent fasting with bioresonance therapy – this cannot harm you, Hader is sure. In general: Meditation makes life easier, Hader believes. For example, when one, bored by small talk, drifts successfully into another metaphysical state, but still gives the impression of concentrated listening to the outside world.

Jehovah’s Witnesses have good news: Did he know that he was personally saved and that he was going to heaven with 144 righteous people? Of course, those who do not know that are blind to connections. “But, I said, Witness, there is even worse to come: the earth’s magnetic field is a gigantic hard drive where everything is stored, good and bad deeds. Don’t you know that? ”At this point, the Jehovah’s Witnesses fled, says Hader.

They are relegated at a high level who like to pass their creeping slide from the middle class as a voluntary renunciation: »I don’t need anything. If I’m in a hurry, take a helicopter, nothing else. ”As a club vacationer, he lies“ deeply relaxed ”in Sri Lanka with an aromatic oil massage, in the distance the explosions of terrorist attacks roar:“ I’m so balanced. ”That is what Hader conveys, no matter where or how it occurs: the horror of our idea of ​​normality. That started with “Hader privat” with the “Nöchling elementary school” or “Back then in Niedermair” – the sheer state of emergency that continues to this day. The normal is absurd and the absurd is normal.

Conceit dies last. Life humiliates us all the time; but to pass this off as good news, that is the challenge that Austria is particularly brave about. Hader has cultivated this principle for a long time in his films, legendary as a sad representative in Paul Harather’s “India” or – on his own – in “Wilde Maus”, which ran in the Berlinale competition two years ago. Hader in a brilliant role as a resigned Viennese opera critic who confronts his newspaper boss with all the restarrogance he has left: “There will be a revolt of the readers!” The answer: “Your readers are long dead.” Silence.

It’s difficult to do alone. But Hader is not alone in his exile in the Weinviertel, after all he has “pack”, his wolf, his “dark self”. With Rudel, who is not a dog, but a proud wild animal that presumably only exists in his imagination, he fearlessly confronts the hostile world. Regardless of whether it’s plague or prohibition. Although the latter would be the ultimate disaster and the sure end of Rudel, the loyal companion.


For Schlingensief’s 60th birthday

For Schlingensief’s 60th birthday

He was a film, theater and opera director, talk show host, political activist and party founder; he staged in Bayreuth, founded an opera village in Burkina Faso and was posthumously awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice Art Biennale in 2011. With his action art, Christoph Schlingensief burst all genre boundaries. He would have celebrated his 60th birthday on October 24th.

The mood was already heated when Christoph Schlingensief launched his week-long campaign “Please love Austria!” In June 2000. started. In February 2000, the first black-blue coalition under Federal Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel was sworn in. The European Union reacted with sanctions to the participation of the FPÖ in government. Opponents of the government demonstrated in Vienna every Thursday.

Please love Austria!

At the invitation of the Wiener Festwochen under festival director Luc Bondy, Germany’s most famous theater provocateur is building a container village right next to the Vienna State Opera. A banner with the slogan “Foreigners out!” Was placed on the container. hoisted.

The delimitation of art and life

Based on the model of the popular reality TV show “Big Brother”, the events inside the container were filmed with webcams and broadcast on the Internet. But the occupants of the container were not up-and-coming B and C celebrities who gave up their privacy to enjoy the much-cited 15-minute fame that Andy Warhol had promised every mere mortal, but real asylum seekers with fake ones Biographies. The audience was asked to “select out” two inmates of the container every day, meaning to deport them.

For Matthias Lilienthal, long-time dramaturge at the Berliner Volksbühne, “Please love Austria!” On the central works of the action artist Christoph Schlingensief: “One had the impression that the whole of Vienna was gathering in front of the container and arguing about the political situation in Austria. The boulevard acted as a fire accelerator. The ‘Kronen Zeitung’ has ‘Piefke out!’ shouted, and the liberal half of the republic showed solidarity with the asylum seekers. ”

Resistance is over. You have to create contradictions!

As heir to Joseph Beuys and his idea of ​​social sculpture, Christoph Schlingensief propagated the delimitation of art and life. The art should be effective outside the echo chambers of the bourgeois representational culture. “Resistance is over. You have to create contradictions” is the secret motto of the campaign, which was particularly impressive because of its ambiguity. Because this theater of fights had nothing of the well-intentioned didactics that a few years later would make school in the so-called post-migrant theater. Predicate “educationally valuable”? Nothing. Are there seven mistakes in the picture? Sooner! A left-wing liberal art audience applauded while a banner reading “Foreigners out” was unveiled, while the FPÖ ran a storm against an action that copied its own xenophobic slogan and put it on public display.

Theater of fights

The passers-by, whose anger discharged in front of the container village, the Thursday demonstrators who stormed the container after a few days and the banner “Foreigners out!” distant, the indignant boulevard, real asylum seekers with fictional biographies, actors and laypeople: they all became part of a staging that distorted real-political reality to make it recognizable.

When the theater inscribes itself into reality, as Schlingensief showed, it can become a national group therapy that comes astonishingly close to the idea of ​​ancient catharsis. Shortly before digital distribution channels and virtual forms of communication created a new, digital reality, Schlingensief turned the megaphone into a set piece of a theater that radiates into public space.




The RSO Vienna live with Mahler and Henze

The RSO Vienna live with Mahler and Henze

Marin Alsop at the desk of the RSO Vienna live from the Wiener Konzerthaus with Hans Werner Henze: Los Caprichos, Fantasia per orchestra and Gustav Mahler: Symphony No. 5.

A disaffected writer in morbid Venice gets so lost in his fantasies about an adolescent that he ignores all warnings about rampant cholera and immediately succumbs to it. Thomas Mann described the aging Gustav von Aschenbach based on a photograph by the composer Gustav Mahler, who died in 1911, the year the novel Death in Venice was written.

60 years later, the Italian director Luchino Visconti turned the spotlight back on Mahler: The Aschenbach of his film is not a writer but a composer, and the lonely string cantilenas from Mahler’s “Adagietto”, a painfully beautiful movement in the Fifth Symphony, creep through the long shots of the film . Visconti had given Mahler, whose work was a marginal phenomenon after the Second World War, back to cultural life.

“Like all great music, it comes from the singing and dancing of the people.”

Of course, Mahler’s music never disappeared. Theodor W. Adorno had already published a groundbreaking Mahler book in 1960, which caused a sensation among musicologists and composers. After the musical rigorism of the 1950s, one saw how modern Mahler really was: his apocalyptic worldview, the processing of strange melodies, even those that do not give a damn about the artistic claim of the concert hall, the dissecting of motifs, finally the reconciliation of strength and Fragility.

And in 1975, four years after Visconti, someone wrote who had always wanted his work to be placed in the Mahler tradition: “Like all great music, it also comes from the singing and dancing of the people, but nothing becomes easy, no, everything becomes only really, and really difficult. There is a lot of mourning for what has been lost in it, but messages for the future of people should also be heard: One of them is called hope, another, addressed to the essence of music itself, is called love.

“Music must be contaminated with reality.”

Hans Werner Henze was particularly impressed by the linguistic quality of Mahler’s music. Their vocabulary between folk tones, natural noises, complex counterpoint, sentimental chants and hymns, in short: between this world and the hereafter, awaken vivid images in the listener. Henze also had this in mind. Music must be polluted by reality, must be understood like language, he proclaimed in 1972 in his famous essay Musica impura.

Chief conductor Marin Alsop brings Henze and Mahler together in the Konzerthaus. Los Caprichos is one of the melodiously glowing works that Henze wrote under the Italian sun in the 1960s before his work became politicized at the end of the decade – although the reference to the drastic etchings by the Spanish painter Francisco de Goya the first step on a bridge that should lead to the great musical indictment Das Raft der Medusa (1968).

One big breath

Mahler’s Fifth Symphony (1901/02) should not have been played by the ORF Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra until April 2021, but due to the corona changed places with Beethoven’s Ninth and thus moves to the beginning of the season.

In terms of content, the work is also the focus of his nine symphonies. From the funeral march of the first movement to the crashing chorale breakout in the finale, it strikes every single note from Mahler’s sounding universe – and yet comes to rest completely before the turbulent final movement. With the “Adagietto”, in Mahler’s language, one big breath.

Text: Christoph Becher, director of the RSO Vienna