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or in the search of KYLVIRIEN

“This performance is one of the best and most enjoyable I have ever seen in this genre.“


Veronika Hagen-Di Ronza, Violist of the Hagen Quartet

The composer György Ligeti imagined himself as a child in a fantasy world called ’Kylvirien’.

"This world has beautiful mountains, rivers and deserts. A language that everyone understands. The legal system and social structure there are completely liberal and absolutely just. It is a kind of -  ’land flowing with milk and honey’ - without government, without money and without criminals. It is not a fairy tale country, rather a seemingly rational highly civilized world with perfectly functioning everyday life. Nowhere are there mistakes, problems to be solved. The entire population is engaged in science and art. Nobody has to work because everything is produced and regulated by machines. The machines don't need to be repaired and the flats don't need to be cleaned." 

The viola theatre piece "Biography: reset or in search of Kylvirien" interwoves György Ligeti's solo viola sonata and excerpts from György Kurtag's "Signs, Games and Messages“ with texts by Ruth Kemna, Michael Brinkmann and Michael Ende, with dance and acting to create a total work of art. It is thus almost a small opera. The viola is given a voice that is equal to that of an actor* and should be understood as such. In the old vaults of an abandoned city gate, unknown even to most Salzburgers, Ruth Kemna created, with great logistical and technical effort, together with the dancer Rodolfo Piazza Pfitscher da Silva and the actor Maximilian Menzel, a surreal world which is referring to the ’Kylvirien’, Ligeti has imagined.

Interwoven with a fantastic story and music, a protagonist* is conceptualized who - thrown back into different past situations of his life - is always confronted with the possibility to change moments  in his past to create another future. Different stages in the biography of the protagonist - who stands archetypically for the human being in cultural postmodernity - give reason to ask: "Are these my feelings? Why do I want this wedding in white?" Each of the stages proceeds as a process of confrontation: on the level of action between the protagonist, the music - his emotional world or the truth? and a visualization of the cultural imperatives created by means of dance and special stage set-up and music. Dance serves as a kind of medium of translation and reflection of the true self or rather the different selves that we unite within ourselves. 

Is it possible to emancipate oneself from social and cultural imperatives and lead a life that is - in the best sense - self-determined? Are enlightenment and knowledge of the cultural and normative forces that tug at the individual the key to creating an individual and self-determined destiny? Or is the human being, although reflective and aware of these forces, nevertheless powerless and incapable of escaping this culture which has become nature to him? What would "ego" and "personality" then be but empty phrases, mere variations of one and the same blueprint of modern human? And music - does it liberate or does it manipulate? Is it itself free or "only" a mathematical function? But isn't it also escaping reality, building dream worlds out of melodies to escape our own, or does it mix? Is fantasy the key to freedom?

Performed: April 13/14, 2018 - Äußeres Nonntaler Tor - Salzburg, Austria 

Ruth Kemna - concept, viola, acting

Rodolfo Piazza Pfitscher da Silva - dance

Max Menzel - acting

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fotos by Manuela Seethaler

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