Thursday, January 28, 2010

Happy Birthday Mozart

Yesterday was Mozart's Birthday (January 27, 1756).
Listen to his famous "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik":

Although technically born in Austria, Mozrart considered himself German. Needless to say, Germans proudly love him. Since my time here in Berlin, I've been lucky to see two of his Operas: "Cosi Fan Tutte" and "Requiem". Both were modern adaptations regarding the interpretations, acting and visual performances, but the music, played by full orchestras, was original.

Cosi Fan Tutte is an Italian opera and is light-hearted and funny. I saw it at eWerk, a former power plant turned legendary nightclub. Christopher Hagel, the conductor and director of this piece I saw, is known for presenting wild operatic works in unconventional places: circus tents, houses of worship, subway stations and museums. He brought Mozart to eWerk with Cosi Fan Tutte: Sex, Lies & TV, a modern adaptation of Mozart's opera of infidelity. It portrayed today's eternal game of love, sex and money, sarcastically played out under the influence of the internet and television. It was really good. I laughed a lot, even though I didn't understand a word of what they were saying!

Requiem is Mozart's last work, which he never completed. It's about death and eternal salvation. I saw this one at the Komische Oper, an opera house in Berlin. Sebastian Baumgarten's interpretation combines the music of Mozart's Requiem with the text of "In the Snakepit. Six lifelines." by Armin Petras and Kan Kauenhowen, based on conversations with terminal patients in Berlin led by Kauenhowen himself. The result was a very interesting piece that examines the role of death and its many faces in contemporary Western society. I really really loved this one, even though it was so dark and disgusting. Here is the Lacrimosa from this opera. The tune still haunts me to this moment... I love it:

So yeah. Mozart was pretty cool. I'm going to look for Le Nocce di Figaro next...

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