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NEW BEGINNINGS MEET MUSICAL HERITAGE — MENSCH MUSIK #6 FROM THE RUNDFUNK SINFONIEORCHESTER BERLIN

NEW BEGINNINGS MEET MUSICAL HERITAGE — MENSCH MUSIK #6 FROM THE RUNDFUNK SINFONIEORCHESTER BERLIN

Questions about home, origin and identity are unifying elements of the composers and performers in the Haus des Rundfunks series Mensch, Musik!. Under the title “Heimkehr in die Fremde” (“Return to the Unknown”), conductor Ruth Reinhardt embarks on a musical journey in search of answers in pieces by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, Bohuslav Martinů, Ursula Mamlok, George Walker and Dai Fujikura. These will be juxtaposed with extraordinary electronic sounds by British composer Richard Scott. There are surprises in store: Aribert Reimann’s disturbing arrangement of the Mendelssohn-Heine piece is performed by acclaimed countertenor Philipp Mathmann, while Mendelssohn’s title piece is paired with movement by Colombian dancer and choreographer Gustavo Llano. Finally, actress and speaker Inka Löwendorf adds spoken texts on the theme of homecoming and foreignness. The result is a multiperspectival, diverse evening with striking sound design. And what ensemble would be better suited for this than the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, an orchestra which for a century has played in the architecturally unique halls of the Haus des Rundfunks, a listed building. With new beginnings meeting musical heritage, the audience is in for a fantastic night.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Credit: Tauchgold, Jessica Schaefer & Peter Meisel

Haus des Rundfunks, Masurenallee 8–14, 14057 Berlin–Charlottenburg; map

Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin – Mensch Musik! #6 Return to the Unknown, Fri 03.02.2023. Tickets are available here.

@rsb_orchester

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WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER — JANÁČEK’S “THE MAKROPULOS AFFAIR” AT THE STAATSOPER

WHO WANTS TO LIVE FOREVER — JANÁČEK’S “THE MAKROPULOS AFFAIR” AT THE STAATSOPER

A prototypical femme fatale – emotionally impoverished, torn between restlessness and longing – cold-hearted opera diva Emilia Marty is looking for a potion that promises eternal life. Its recipe is hidden somewhere among the documents of an absurdly complex inheritance dispute that has been going on for a hundred years. The plot summary of Leoš Janáček’s opera Die Sache Makropulos (The Makropulos Affair) reads as wildly and emphatically as the sounds of his music, which are uniquely characteristic of him. Staging is by Claus Guth with musical direction by Finnegan Downie Dear. The audience at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden is literally sucked in, so dense are the melodies, storylines and profound questions of this meta-opera about the pros and cons of eternal life.

The work’s suggestive power and light footedness is supported by Etienne Pluss’ stage design and the choreography. You see a cross-section of a Wes Anderson-esque anthill in which the protagonists wander through hotel corridors, theater aisles and the shelves of a law firm while pondering the big questions of life: meaning, death and finitude, love, its absence and how it all connects. Dvořák’s friend Janáček, who worked long hours in Austria and Germany and was fluent in German, always preferred Czech in the Pan-Slavic tradition. And so his penultimate opera is also in Czech (with English and German subtitles): composed in tune with the unique harmony of the language.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Monika Rittershaus & Marcus Ebener

Staatsoper Unter den Linden, Unter den Linden 7, 10117 Berlin–Mitte; map

Die Sache Makropulos 21.01–02.02.2023. You can book tickets here. Save 20 percent on tickets with the code “Hallo2023” (maximum of four tickets per booking. Simply enter code at the end of the online booking process).

@staatsoperberlin

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THE SOUND OF FREEDOM — RADIOLAND AT THE NEUKÖLLNER OPER

THE SOUND OF FREEDOM — RADIOLAND AT THE NEUKÖLLNER OPER

There was a time when the personal became political and young people rebelled against their parents’ generation. A time when rock music was so revolutionary that states were founded because of it: we are in Great Britain at the end of the 1960s. The BBC refuses to listen to pop, but the youth doesn’t want to be deprived of their wild musical awakening. The solution? Independent pirate radio stations on the high seas. And so the Bates family set up their own radio station on an abandoned anti-aircraft platform in international waters. When the established radio stations finally jumped on the bandwagon and started playing new music, father Roy Bates got an idea: if you can have musical freedom, what about the freedom of a state of one’s own? And so, without further ado, he established Sealand. A utopia, an ideal, an idea of freedom, whose citizenship can still be purchased on the Internet by anyone and everyone for a small sum. With its new production “Radioland – The mostly true, but always unbelievable story of the Principality of Sealand,” the Neuköllner Oper once again succeeds in creating a memorable, entertaining and profound piece about recent (pop) music history. Full of tragedy and comedy, it tells of radio piracy, freedom and how visions become reality. You will leave the show having been a witness to the founding of a state and having heard the unique sound of utopias becoming reality.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Thomas Koy för Neuköllner Oper

Neuköllner Oper, Karl-Marx-Str.131–133, 12043 Berlin–Neukölln; map

Radioland premiering 26.01.2023, runs until 26.02.2023.

@neukoellneroper

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CURATED CINEMA AT HOME AND ON THE BIG SCREEN — MUBI GO

CURATED CINEMA AT HOME AND ON THE BIG SCREEN — MUBI GO

I discovered film in my mid-twenties. Of course, I visited the cinema now and again to see the latest flick with friends, but I didn’t have much of a clue. I only really got into movies when I started studying at art school and a tutor recommended Mubi, a streaming service for curated films. Launched in 2007, the platform not only serves a new film every day, but distributes and produces features too. I signed up and discovered a whole new world. Actually: thousands of new worlds. I discovered directors, genres, writers and actors. I discovered stories: short, long, narrative, abstract, documentary. I started to understand what cinema can really be. How big and important and magical. Mubi serves these scenes, stories and universes right to your sofa, but the service doesn’t neglect the big screen experience: in collaboration with cinema chain Yorck, you’ll currently receive a free movie ticket every week as part of your subscription (exclusive to Berlin). The selection changes every seven days and includes latest releases curated by the Mubi editorial team such as Charlotte Wells’s “Aftersun” (last screenings tonight, 22.12.2022) and “The Pale Blue Eye” by Scott Cooper (from Friday, 23.12). You can book the tickets using the Mubi Goapp. A Mubi subscription can also be bought as a gift – ideal for a last-minute Christmas present. “We just have two hours to change people’s lives,” American filmmaker John Cassavetes once said. In this case it’s two hours every week.

Text: Hilka Dirks / Photos: Savannah van der Niet & Daniel Horn for Yorck

You can see the current Mubi programme online here and find out more about Mubi Go here.

@mubideutschland

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BEHIND THE MASK: VINYAGO BRINGS DANCE, EXHIBITS AND PERFORMANCES TO THE HUMBOLDT FORUM

BEHIND THE MASK: VINYAGO BRINGS DANCE, EXHIBITS AND PERFORMANCES TO THE HUMBOLDT FORUM

It’s about identity, reparations, theft, loss and impermanence: Vinyago – Dance and Exhibition beyond Colonial Biographies at the Humboldt Forum combines various art forms to create a large-scale installation. Vinyago is the result of 19 Tanzanian artists’ interpretation of the collection at Berlin’s Ethnological Museum. Their focus is on East African masks: “Vinyago” means masks in Swahili. Historical masks are complemented by contemporary examples from Tanzania (because of Germany’s colonial legacy, most of the artifacts in the collection come from present-day Tanzania, a former colony). In performances, the masks become one with the dancers. The works cleverly point to and reflect upon the paradox in which ethnological museums find themselves today. The installation and performances function as a magnifying glass. The performances, which feature dancers and musicians interacting with the exhibits, take place on weekends and are followed by discussions with the artists. But the exhibition also continually and consistently challenges modes of representation, interpretive sovereignties, and accessibility.

Text: Alina Herbel / Photos: Nicholas Calvin Mwakatobe & Stefanie Loos

Humboldt Forum, Schloßplatz 1, 10178 Berlin–Mitte; map

Vinyago Exhibition until 08.01.2023 & Performances until 18.12.2022

@humboldtforum

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