From the Feuilletons


From the Feuilletons

Die Welt 27.07.2010

Manuel Brug was delighted by Hans Neuenfels' production of "Lohengrin" in Bayreuth, despite some "oddly uptight" singing by the leading couple, Jonas Kaufmann and Annette Dasch. The opera is staged as a science experiment on laboratory rats, and the costumes, designed by Reinhard von der Thannen, are "elegant, comical and enigmatic": "These numbered rats de luxe have shuddering contoured neoprene bodies, in black for the males, white for the females and pink for the small clusters of young. They can sing hymns of jubilation and war slogans, they can dance in formation and march in cages. They murder with swords and have needles filled with unknown substances injected into them by security personel."

Frankfurter Rundschau 27.07.2010

For Daniel Kothenschulte, the tragedy at the Love Parade in Duisburg puts an end to the Ruhr cultural capital business, which is pursuing nothing but mainstream and the masses. "Of course there is a fatal difference between luring two million picnicers to eat their hearts out on a 60 km stretch of the autobahn, and luring half a million revellers into a tunnel leading into a pen. But the cultural understanding behind it is identical: a fatuous politician's idea about how to amuse the masses."

In the Neue Zürcher Zeitung on the 29th, Joachim Güntner writes an obituary to the Love Parade: "We should remember that the Love Parade did not die of alcohol or designer drugs or loud music, it died because of a plan to turn a moving into a stationary mass, packed into a fenced-off arena."

Die Welt 28.07.2010

Ulrich Weinzierl was blown away by Peter Stein's production of "Oedipus in Colonos" in Salzburg. It is the "most beautiful impertinence that German theatre currently has to offer". Klaus Maria Brandauer as Oedipus: "a great, a wonderful actor, one of our best." Jürgen Holtz as Kreon "a bastard of substance... And not enough praise can go to the choir for its exchange of unison passages and soloist sprinklings. Stein transforms a dozen limping old men into a group portrait of individualists, oscillating between wisdom and garrulousness, courage and pusillanimity. Why does the Thebans' opportunism feel so familiar? Just look in the mirror."

Berliner Zeitung 29.07.2010

In an interview with Jan Brachmann, Liv Ullman recounts how she organised a meeting between Woody Allen and Ingmar Bergman while she was in New York playing Nora and Bergman was also in town. "Woody Allen is completely different in real life. He turned up in a limousine driven by a white-gloved chauffeur. He entered Ingmar's room, where I introduced them, and said nothing! Two geniuses who could do nothing but stare at one another in silent amazement. They sat down to eat, Ingmar ordered meatballs, Woody Allen ordered meatballs. He copied everything Ingmar did. Neither of them said a word. On the way home in his limousine, Woody Allen suddenly grabbed my arm and sighed: 'Thank you, Liv!' As soon as I got home I call a call from Ingmar: 'Thank you, Liv!'"

Die Tageszeitung

She never faced that much discrimination in Germany, writes Cigdem Akyol, the daughter of a gastarbeiter in the Ruhr area - except from fellow journalists, that is. "I studied international law not immigrant life... At my first job interview, when I explained that I would prefer not to write about immigration issues, my editor was sympathetic. But since it was Ramadam, couldn't I perhaps interview a Turkish butcher?"

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 29.07.2010

Yet another stage wonder this week: Eleonore Büning was bowled over by Wolfgang Rihm's Nietzsch-inspired opera "Dionysos" which premiered in Salzburg: "His music is libidinous, airy, full of sweetness and constructive irony. It is impossible to do justice to all the wonders that flow out of this horn of plenty: the miracles of instrumentation, the fineness of the voice control coupled with a fluid opulence reminiscent of late Richard Strauss brilliance. But above all, the work is filled with its composer." In a nutshell: "This is what an opera should be: a hint of what was intended with the utopia of the Gesamtkunstwerk."

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 30.07.2010

The Iranian writer Amir Cheheltan describes the crisis of the established media in Iran, the rise of the Internet and the general turmoil in the land: "These days it only takes one phone call to shut down a newspaper: no bill of indictment, no court case, no defence lawyer, no trial by jury. Ninety journalists were imprisoned in Iran in 2009, and according to a recent statement by the committee for the defence of journalists, one third of the world's imprisoned journalists are in Iranian jails."

From the blogs

In her blog love German books translator Katy Derbyshire sends an enthusiastic report from German-language independent book fair in the Literary Colloquium Berlin. "German-language indie publishing is not the same as in the UK or the States. One reason is that major publishers are still willing to take the odd risk, so experimental writing is broadly spread across the publishing spectrum. So some of the 'young independents' have less of a niche catalogue than you might expect - Matthes & Seitz, for example, have a diverse catalogue of fiction and non-fiction with a lot of translations. But others take the opposite approach and go for maximum scurrility, like the Poetenladen with almost all poetry and a litmag. Or the lovely Mairisch Verlag who do young literature and audio plays. And are putting out a record - yes, on vinyl, fellow crackle-loving retro-auditors - because they like song lyrics so much. Or edition sutstein, who do limited-edition stuff you're only allowed to look at with gloves on."

nachtkritik 30.07.2010

The frivolous celebration of Max Reinhardt at the Salzburg festival reminds Thomas Rothschild of Karl Kraus' "Reklamefahrten zur Hölle" (tourist trips to hell). And his fury doesn't stop there. "The children have settled comfortably into the flats and workplaces which were once Aryanizsed by their parents and grandparents, by sending the Jewish competition into exile and death. The sons and daughters, granddaughters and grandsons now organise conferences on the erased Jewish culture, hold talks about the persecuted Jews - who have never once been invited to return - and happily receive payment in their bank accounts." - let's talk european