Music-Memory-Metamorphosis: Prague Premiere of Composer Viktor Ullmann's Melodrama Presented as a Multimedia and Live Performance
Jan 12, 2018, 02:26 ET
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Prague premiere of Music-Memory-Metamorphosis, a multimedia and live performance of the composer Viktor Ullmann's melodrama The Song of Love and Death of the Cornet Christopher Rilke will take place at the famous Archa Theater in Prague, Czech Republic on 18 January 2018 at 5:30 PM (https://www.divadloarcha.cz/en/program-browse/show/music-memory-metamorphis/2018-01-18/1016).
Produced and directed by Dr. Gwyneth Bravo (Assistant Professor of Music, NYU-Abu Dhabi), Music-Memory-Metamorphosis was developed with initial support from the Orel Foundation (http://orelfoundation.org/) and features Ullmann's 1944 Theresienstadt-composed and German-language work for recitation and piano Die Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets Christoph Rilke based on Rainer Maria Rilke's prose poem of the same name. The production features a live performance by renowned operatic bass Gabriel Vamvulescu and Belgian pianist Steven Vanhauwaert with technical support from 9 time Emmy Award winning animator Paul Sidlo.
In the spirit of early cinema and experimental Berlin theater of the 1920s, Bravo's production re-imagines the theater and concert hall as a cinematic space where the live performance of these works takes place inside a filmic framework—where a kaleidoscope of projected and slowly shifting images serves as a visual counterpoint to the poetry and music. Employing a montage aesthetic, her film, which Robert Elias, President of the OREL Foundation, describes as "a moving and beautifully wrought immersive work of art," unfolds in twelve, short movements and is comprised of a series of densely-textured images constructed from the superimposition and animation of a multilayered and harmonically-conceived series of visual elements. The ghost-like layering of black and white photographs from Czech photographer Joseph Sudek are used to create a rich visual archive of images employed to project the Jugendstil aesthetic of Rilke's 1899 work about the love and death of a young Habsburg soldier during the Austro-Turkish War of 1663-1664. Becoming a huge success in Germany after its second printing in 1912, the work was carried by soldiers during the First World War.
Viktor Ullmann, who was born in Silesia in 1898 during the waning years of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, served as a soldier in World War I and made important contributions to Czech and German musical culture in Prague during the 1920s and 1930s before being deported to the Czech transit and concentration camp Theresienstadt in 1942 where he composed twenty-three musical works. Among these was his melodrama The Song of Love and Death of the Cornet Christopher Rilke, which was completed and performed in the camp only months before his transport to Auschwitz where he perished with in October 1944.
Produced in Los Angeles, New York, Arizona, and Abu Dhabi, Music-Memory-Metamorphosis will be performed at diverse venues in the US, Europe, and the Middle East during the upcoming 2018-2019 season.
Archa Theater: Pavlína Svatoňová
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