22 March 2013
Théâtre de l’Hôpital Bretonneau (Paris)
“What to you are only eyes in these daysFriedrich Rückert
In nights to come will be stars.”
The Kindertotenlieder are a first-person account of a bereaved parent’s inner journey, from the darkness of denial and guilt to the light of resilience. Gustav Mahler based them on a true account by Friedrich Rückert, who wrote 428 poems after the loss of his two children. Rückert, a famed orientalist and translator of Rumi, speaks beyond any one era or confession, in a language that is transparent and full of images.
This show offers a dual take on this dense work by following a structure of mourning: it consists of a “chamber opera” depicting a grieving mother’s journey, alone in her apartment, followed by a version inspired by Noh theatre, in which the character’s shadow narrates the stages of her mourning, accompanied by Claude Jamain’s masked performance. Between these two interpretations, the sickly and luminous music of a Buddhism-infused Richard Wagner, whose music and themes inspired his successor.
Through two readings of the same work, two conventions revisited, we strive to understand how the story of an individual becomes the universal story of every grieving soul.
Concept and Realization
La Chambre aux échos
Two times the Kindertotenlieder by
Gustav Mahler & Friedrich Rückert
Stage Direction & Design
Masked Noh performance
Secession Orchestra (15 players)
Excerpts from the show:
22 – 28 March 2013
Théâtre de l’Hôpital Bretonneau, Paris
Notes by Aleksi Barrière (FR):