The municipality of Oberammergau has made the director of the Passion Play, Christian Stückl, an honorary citizen. The council wanted to thank Stückl for his successful work both internally and externally as well as his commitment as ambassador for the amateur games, the council justified the decision in its meeting on Tuesday evening. “In the last few decades he has successfully developed the Oberammergau Passion Play on many levels.” Despite national and international successes, he has always remained closely connected to his hometown. In 1987, Stückl became the youngest director of the Passion, which is performed every ten years, and staged it for the first time in 1990. He will stage it for the fourth time in 2022 – two years later than planned due to Corona. Stückl, who is also the artistic director of the Munich Volkstheater, freed the Passion from anti-Semitic features; for this he received the Abraham Geiger Prize and the Buber Rosenzweig Medal, among other things. Married women are now also allowed to play Maria – a taboo until 1990. And in Stückl’s first passion, a Protestant was given a leading role.
Five musicians sit in the heavy rider, with a lot of space between them in a circle of chairs. There are six chairs. Conductor Armando Merino stands in the middle. A tablet computer sits on the sixth chair. The Brazilian composer Michelle Agnes Magalhães is connected via video. She wrote four of the pieces that were rehearsed and recorded here over the weekend. The Munich Ensemble Gelber Klang, which actually wanted to perform this program live, decided to play anyway. Without an audience. For the camera. A ghost concert. That is better than canceling, Merino and Markus Elsner, the ensemble’s artistic manager, agree. They are proud of the program, for which the singer Salome Kammer could also be won.
This is not yet present in the first part of the rehearsal. For the composer. It is touching how much it is part of this group as a tablet chair. You talk to him or her, she speaks back. Questions are asked and the conductor Merino carries them to the respective musicians, who then play something for her. “Should the harp sound softer or harder”, harpist Anna Viechtl wants to know. Merino runs to the Michelle chair, crouches down to be eye level with the tablet and finally brings it to the harp so that the composer on the other end of the world can hear better. At some point she calls out: “It would be so much nicer if I could be there and we could have a beer together afterwards.”
Yes, the longing for normal interpersonal relationships away from one’s own household keeps breaking through. Nevertheless, the composer Magalhães is also grateful that the whole thing takes place here. Although she doesn’t hear many details of her music, sometimes filigree by noises, through the tablet microphone: “This is totally new to me,” says the musician, born in 1979, who sits in her room next to a large old piano. But she is glad that the technology exists. “It’s important to stay together.” She also sees her role in the rehearsal here: “Just be there.”
The first week in November would have been the music week in the Schwere Reiter. Dance, theater and music take place in this Munich off-location in the creative quarter on Dachauerstrasse. Last week an audience could still experience the dance programs live, music falls into the first lockdown week. At first she just didn’t want to do anything, says Christiane Böhnke-Geisse, who is responsible for the music planning there. She was then more or less motivated by the artists to let two of the concerts take place, she says. There are also organizational reasons for this: For example, whether or not you can take the funding for a program with you into the next year. Whereby you don’t know how it will be there. “It’s also an exercise in life, not knowing what’s in January,” says Böhnke-Geisse. And accordingly, she seems to be in a good mood on this Saturday afternoon. The Jazzfest Berlin is currently running, she says: “Everything online, but great music.” She wants to go next year. But despite the desire for live experiences, all of this will also be normal. Slowly but surely, it is no longer strange or unusual to connect your computer to a television and stereo system instead of going to a concert.
The SZ festival “Sound of Munich Now” for current Munich pop music is currently taking place in a very similar form: The concerts were recorded in September, then professionally edited and mixed, and are now being gradually put online. The live moment takes a back seat and no longer needs to be suggested. The stream does not have to take place simultaneously with what is actually happening. Good preparation of the recording is more important – the focus is on good sound and good images.
This is also the case with the recording in the Heavy Rider. The transition from rehearsal to concert happens without a break, record and go. Salome Kammer is there, she sings Magalhães’ “4 Canciones españolas” from 2016. Four songs for harp, cello, viola, flute and bass clarinet. Great, wild pieces, full of fragmented folklore, full of emotion, despite musical abstraction. The end of piece three, the harp, prepared with cork and aluminum foil, sounds like a drum kit and a Spanish rhythm guitar at the same time, doesn’t quite work. “Can you cut there?” Asks Kammer in the direction of technology. “Yes we can.” You start again from half of the piece.
Here, as with “Sound of Munich Now”, formal hybrids arise between studio recording and live concert. With the perfected technology of a situation in the recording studio and the images of a live concert. At the Ensemble Gelber Klang there are organizational reasons behind this. “You always have to ask what about the financing of the concerts,” explains manager Elsner. In this case, for example, the musicians in the ensemble can only be paid if they also play; if the service that was funded is also provided. It doesn’t matter whether live or for the camera. That’s one of the main reasons to play now. Because with all the technology and with everything that is possible – of course they prefer to perform for an audience, says conductor Merino. Maybe they can repeat the program next year, for example at a festival. You now have a very good application video for it.
Independent publishers in Bavaria can apply for two new prizes. The Bavarian State Ministry for Science and Art plans to award the two new awards this year in order to “honor, make visible and support” the work of the publishers. On the one hand, a jury is to draw up a list of “Bavaria’s best independent books 2020” with ten publications from independent publishers. On the other hand, the ministry is making a total of 50,000 euros available for “Publishing Awards of the Free State of Bavaria 2020”. They are also awarded by a jury for “publication projects based on a convincing publisher’s profile”, each 5000 euros for ten projects. Bavarian publishers with a focus on fiction can apply until December 1st (information at www.stmwk.bayern.de).
I always tell the truth. With rumors, exaggerations and scientific half-knowledge. So not the truth, but a form of momentarily felt truth. So before our song “Truth” today I would probably tell you how I stood in the kitchen and loudly The Cure heard while cooking. In this state of meditative pleasure, the song “Charlotte Sometimes” pushes me out of my comfort zone and tears run down. That happens to me. Only then was it associated with a memory of Christmas. To my father. Bach’s toccata hung up loudly and he cries. I’ve never seen him cry before. And in that moment I was the father and his suffering. Then Viktor Frankl’s sentence from his book “To say yes to life anyway” appears comforting: “Everyone carries their Auschwitz within themselves.” That’s a truth. And we think we know.
Then I save myself on stage: “He who speaks the truth needs a fast horse.” Or: “The truth is like a peasant girl. Most beautiful without make-up.” And then people laugh and forget what I said intimate before. Laughter is a wonderful thing to deal with truth and to get around it. Then comes an anecdote from my daughter Mathilda, who listens to music on her mobile phone in the playground and is told by a mother that she should turn off the Kanaken music. It used to be called Negro music, but humanity just moves with the times. There is then also laughter. Although that’s not funny at all.
Before our hemp gardener song “Schwupp Marie” I have a field anecdote. This time not about slicing the slugs (always a comer), no, depending on the season, it’s about French herb. A special kind of weed. Invincible and everywhere. But in my field: a lot. And as I pull out this herb by the basket, I think about it, that it is like an illness. It is omnipresent. So in every city, at rest stops, in parks, really everywhere, only there it is usually restricted by other competition from plants. And we humans have to achieve not being a field for disease, but an almost indomitable ecosystem. That we have to reduce the factors that make us sick. That it is time to make healthy organic food and clothing affordable and available for everyone. But then it occurs to me that humans are the worst French herbs on earth. The last thing I say to “Rundummadum” is that I think police controls are very, very bad. And that after the last one Three quarters of blood-Open-Air, on which Martina Schwarzmann gave me a frilled mother hen (a kind of coral mushroom), with my rusty, old Golf on the way home, came under such control. Flashlight in the face, driver’s license, vehicle papers, whether I’ve had a drink and where I’m from and “Yes, what is that?” On the back seat in the box is the frilled mother hen. “A frizzy mother hen! I have never seen it before!” Neither does his colleague. Suddenly we are standing by the roadside in Lenggries and admire this mushroom. And then we wish each other a good night and go home happy.
Every few years the amazingly mature “La Finta Giardiniera” by 18-year-old Mozart is played at the premiere location in Munich: sometimes as an Italian opera buffa, sometimes in a German Singspiel version, and always in the Prinzregententheater. What the University of Music was now presenting in the reactor hall was something special. The costumes (Claudia Karpfinger, Katharina Schmidt) and the stage design by Jens Hübner are wonderfully weird: on the right a disheveled windmill made of paper, on the left the littered wall of a Messi, with a crucified messiah made of paper mache in the center. Torn advertising sticks to the floor, and above everything there is a placard with advertising beauty into which an Isetta crashed. The illuminated letters for “Love”, the “O” were lost. It now serves as a multifunctional stage element on the floor.
Moderately shortened to two and a quarter hours, which are spread over two evenings due to the virus, there are arias and ensembles in Italian; the cleverly modernized dialogues are spoken with verve in German. The person constellations are always clear: Ramiro (portraying a passionate youth with an intense mezzo: Franziska Bader) loves Violante alias Sandrina (very feminine flirtatious, with a sensitive soprano: Susanne Kapfer). Count Belfiore (an irresistibly vain rooster with a sexy baritone tenor: Magnus Dietrich), whom Arminda (Sol Lee) also wants, once left her lying seriously injured, presumably out of jealousy, which does not affect Violante’s love. You are stalking an old, but powerful mayor in the form of the whale-bearded Jonas Häusler, whom Serpetta (very bitchy: Laura Hemingway) wants to marry for career reasons. She is adored by Roberto alias Nardo: Jakob Schad is a smart would-be cowboy with a noble soul and a fine, natural baritone.
Director Doris Sophia Heinrichsen succeeds in luring the young singers with their vocal skills into their acting skills. Especially with Magnus Dietrich as Graf and Jakob Schad as Nardo, you can already discover a good dose of charisma and a robust stage presence. Just 13 musicians plus pianist and conductor (alternating on both evenings: Henri Bonamy and Norbert Groh) make up the small orchestra integrated into the stage, which harmonizes wonderfully with the protagonists.
Hollywood’s witches’ one-of-a-kind also works in the Annus horribilis, that terrible year of cinema that would be bad even without ghost and black magic. Many film releases have been postponed, but just in time for Halloween, two US productions are running that want to get people in the mood for trick and treating, sinful and scary. There is on the one hand Blumhouse’s The Witches Club, in which four teenage witches get into trouble, and on the other side a remake of Roald Dahl’s “Witches”. The famous children’s book was filmed in 1990 with Anjelica Huston in the lead role, now director Robert Zemeckis has taken on the subject: His Witches witches in 1967, as in the original, they turn children into mice. This should not only appeal to small viewers in the Halloween frenzy, the prominent cast also ensures: Anne Hathaway (see photo) plays the leader of the nasty brood of witches, in a hotel she calls on mice hunting. Octavia Spencer and Stanley Tucci have also taken on other roles.
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From this Monday on, stricter corona rules apply in Munich. The reason for this is the further increase in the number of infections over the weekend. The seven-day incidence on Sunday was 100.6, according to the Robert Koch Institute. This means that more than 100 out of 100,000 residents have been newly infected with the coronavirus in the past seven days – in other words: one in 1,000.
The number of reproductions is 1.2 – this means that, statistically, 100 infected people infect 120 new people. With the incidence value exceeding the 100 mark, Munich has reached the “dark red” level on the Free State’s so-called Corona traffic light. This means that the stricter corona rules that the state government has set for this level automatically apply from the following day.
The curfew in gastronomy is brought forward to 9 p.m. From this point on, there will also be a city-wide ban on selling alcohol and drinking publicly in several heavily frequented places. Both regulations start an hour earlier than before and apply until six in the morning. In addition, only 50 spectators or participants will be admitted to events. Only demonstrations, university lectures and church services are excluded.
The theaters are hoping for a special permit from the mayor
All of these new rules will apply at least until the end of the week. Even if Munich fell below 100 on Monday, they would remain in force for another five days. For the time being, the city wants to stick to its exception rule, which exempt primary school students from the mask requirement. The aggravation is likely to hit cultural life particularly hard. The upper limit of 50 participants for events has an impact on theaters and concert organizers, up to 200 spectators were allowed here previously. As part of a pilot project, the State Opera and Philharmonic Hall had permission to even admit 500 spectators.
Several directors of the Bavarian theaters had only insisted on Friday in an open letter to Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) that they should continue to play in front of 200 people regardless of the rising number of infections. They justify this by saying that they have long been working with well-functioning hygiene concepts. Sufficient distance between the seats, modern ventilation systems and airy pathways ensured a safe visit to the theater. In fact, no case is known so far in which someone was infected during a performance.
If only 50 spectators were actually admitted from Monday on, that would be a major setback for the theater in the half-way running again. Especially since, for example, the premiere of “Dantons Tod” will take place next Friday at the Residenztheater and “Die Vögel” will be staged by Frank Castorf at the State Opera on Saturday, both of which have long since been sold out.
In addition, a reduction in the number of spectators means an immense bureaucratic effort, according to the State Opera’s press office. For example, all tickets that have already been sold would have to be booked back and performances would have to be sold again. Otherwise you can hardly decide which 50 people are allowed to come and which are not. Not to mention the planning uncertainty for performances that are about to go on sale in advance.
The theaters’ last hope is now on Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) or the district administration department, says Ingrid Trobitz, deputy director of the Residenztheater. On the sidelines of the “Stand Up for Culture” demonstration on Saturday, Art Minister Bernd Sibler referred to the special permit that theaters can apply to the city of Munich. It is expected that this question will be resolved on Monday, but plan for the worst. “It’s a shitty situation,” says the new Kammerspiele director Barbara Mundel.
She is already considering shortening productions in an emergency and then playing two or three times in a row in order to reach at least a reasonably acceptable number of people with her art. The speakers of the Kammerspiele, the Volkstheater, the State Opera and the Residenztheater agree that they would also play in front of 50 spectators. Because although it would really not be economical – they do not want to lock up again completely.
Meanwhile, there has been a corona outbreak in the intensive care unit at the Großhadern Clinic of the Ludwig Maximilians University (LMU). There, at the end of last week, three patients tested positive for the corona virus – they were still negative when they were admitted to the hospital. The cases had been reported to the health department, said spokesman Philipp Kreßirer, all contact persons had been identified and tested. Intensive care staff is also affected, but no other patients.
A genetic analysis of the viruses should clarify how the chains of infection have run
The affected employees are in quarantine, “the infection process is limited according to the current status,” said the clinic. The number of employees in quarantine is in the single-digit range. The affected patients have now been transferred back to the normal ward, where they are isolated and receive further treatment.
How the patients got infected is still unclear. They are researching intensively and carrying out a genetic analysis of the viruses, said Kreßirer – so you can see how the chains of infection have run. “We now have to find out what the cause was.” Say who brought the virus to the intensive care unit. Until the results of the investigations are available, which were started on Friday, at least a week will probably pass.
Bela tigert. Bela Rieger is rarely on stage herself, he is a music manager, artist supervisor, promoter. Today, however, he is supposed to go to the microphone himself and that’s why he runs restlessly back and forth in front of the stairs, which immediately bring him into the spotlight. The occasion is obviously important enough: Several 100 artists and cultural workers – the police initially spoke of 400 participants, the organizers of the officially permitted 1000 – demonstrated on Saturday afternoon on the Königsplatz to draw attention to the catastrophic situation in their industry.
Rieger will say, among other things, that nothing has come of the talks with politicians. Yes, the occasion is important enough.
After all, nothing has been going on in culture since March. Concerts: canceled. Theater: closed. Galleries: to. This is not only regrettable for music listeners, drama friends or picture viewers – the corona pandemic is now threatening the existence of many artists. They do not feel that they have heard from politics. While some branches of industry are supported with amounts in the billions, many freelance artists could not even apply for the solo self-employed aid, because it can only be used to cover operating costs. “But I have no operating costs,” says a saxophonist on the sidelines of the demonstration. “I have my apartment, there are my saxophones, and when I have a gig I take one and go there.”
For the state of Bavaria, art is not an “unimportant addition”
The freelance violist Veronika Stross organized the demo – and produced a long list of speakers. For example, the former Bavarian Minister of Culture, Hans Maier, who is now 89 years old, which is why he is the only one to have a chair. Maier says that if culture is no longer allowed to take place, it will lose its attraction, presence and survivability. For the state of Bavaria, however, art is not an “insignificant addition”: “It highlights the state and makes it shine.”
Gerhard Polt started with a video message and immediately apologized for still saying the virus and not the virus: “But I also say the Weps and not the Wasp.” On the subject of systemic relevance, Polt had thought of the fable of the ant and the cricket: the ant manages the whole summer, the cricket just chirps. “And chirping is of course not very relevant.” Gerhard Polt thinks.
The singer, cabaret artist and Munich city councilor Roland Hefter took over the moderation and now said that many had never considered that “the beer tent musician and the expression dancer are in the same boat”. And so they came Cagey Strings on the stage, which the Oktoberfest and other merrymaking, but now a song with the title “Schade – nicht systemrelevant” have written. “Make it really loud,” they called to the sound engineers. “So that you can hear it all the way to the State Chancellery.”
The audience is still insufficiently described as “mixed colors”. A no longer very young man in a punk outfit had his Ramones-Jacket dressed with the beautiful life motto “Don’t tell me how to live” – which he certainly meant very differently than the two women who thought it was a good idea to tie a coffin on a wagon. But they didn’t want to draw attention to the dying of culture. They wanted to make this known: “Mask requirement is child abuse”. At least that was what it said on the death’s furniture, which was ignored by most of the participants, as was the man who said on his T-shirt that he thought all of this was a big joke with this Corona.
For most participants, however, the situation is too serious to be impressed by hand-made leaflets. Others had come, although they are not feeling that bad personally: Patrick Lindner, for example, along with his husband Peter Schäfer and the dog Obelix. “We stand here for all the others,” said Lindner. The presenter and musician Werner Schmidbauer said that fortunately he had his television jobs, but: of twelve concerts scheduled for October, he was only able to play five, and there were only 48 people in Ravensburg. A few meters further stands the actor Hannes Jaenicke, next to Manfred Stecher, Axel Hacke stopped by, Konstantin Wecker sent a video message – solidarity of the more prominent artists with their less well-off colleagues.
Musicians, cultural managers, the managing director of the Tölzer Knabenchor, representatives of stage technicians and related professions had their say on the stage. Julian Nida-Rümelin’s speech can be summed up in one sentence: “If you look back on the last few months, you can be shocked.”
Finally the politics: Wolfgang Heubisch of the FDP, former Bavarian art minister, appealed to the state government to “give up the attitude of refusal”. And Minister Bernd Sibler, currently responsible for culture, is repeating the proposals made by the Prime Minister on Wednesday: a solo self-employed program, a venue program, and scholarships for young talent. Roland Hefter said at the beginning: “We are stage people. Whoever goes on stage gets applause.” Sibler is only booed a little. But the demonstrators don’t look completely convinced when he’s finished.
The fashion designer, director and photographer Thierry Mugler has already let many stars rise in his life. He has dressed models and actresses, pop stars and other icons in chrome, lacquer and leather, in velvet, silk and feathers, put them in breastplates like Amazons and superheroes, and sent them (sex) goddesses on the catwalk straight away, in video sequences rapidly cut and pose in his photographs on dangerous abysses. With the help of imaginative fashion creations, he has created parallel universes, transformed models in a kind of bestiary into human-animal hybrids, which look as if they would be immersed in a sea of infinity at any moment. But he also condemned actors to immobility because he put them in costumes that were so heavy and fragile at the same time that they could hardly move.
And now Thierry Mugler, who now calls himself Manfred, is raising his own star in Munich: He poses like a golden angel in the exhibition “Couturissime” in the art hall of the Hypo-Kulturstiftung amidst his marvels. And if he – despite his 71 years of age – were not such a muscle-packed powerhouse, you could say that he is the prima ballerina. Which wouldn’t be so wrong either, since Mugler was a ballet dancer in his youth at the opera in his Alsatian home town of Strasbourg. He confesses that he has forgotten the little German he spoke as a child. And even if he likes the German mentality, the mountains and the Black Forest and some German cities, he doesn’t live in Germany – but in Berlin.
In recent times he has become obsessive about his own body. Which is why he describes it as his most important project at the moment. The shiny gold jacket he wears is made from material developed for NASA, he says, and when he discovered it in Harlem, he literally had to fight someone else to get it. But that is a lifelong experience: “I am a fighter, but I can also convince people and I always find a solution.” This is confirmed by its curator Thierry-Maxime Loriot. This was confirmed when the exhibition had to be set up under difficult conditions in spring due to Corona: “We communicated via WhatsApp for weeks,” says Loriot.
But Mugler can also be tough. When he shot the famous video for “Too Funky” with George Michael, it must have gotten a lot between the two men that they didn’t speak to each other for a long time. On the other hand: If Mugler admires someone else, he doesn’t hold back: Helmut Newton, with whom he worked on his first production in Germany, was someone like that. “He was a real genius, I was very impressed,” says Mugler, still raving about the legendary photographer, some of whom can also be seen in the “Couturissime” exhibition. He is “more than happy” with the show, which is currently not only enriched with a few more exhibits (including the Macbeth costumes), but has also been extended until February 28th.