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Krenek Year 2016 – in memory of the 25th anniversary of the composer’s death

Ernst Krenek died in American exile on 22 December 1991. Thus 2016 will mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death – another opportunity to take a closer look at this artistic personality.

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Premiere: „Jonny spielt auf“ at Theater Hagen

At theaterhagen, the work is conceived as a story of love and jealousy, a thriller about a big theft, a piece about the yearning for a distant, free world, and, simultaneously, as an artists’ drama in which very serious worlds collide.
Dramaturg Dorothee Hannappel wrote the following about the current production by Roman Hovenbitzer, under the musical direction of Florian Ludwig: "On the one side, the personnel of a classical love triangle within an artistic milieu are assembled: Max, the composer, who is rooted in the European traditions and at the same time struggles to come to terms with them; Daniello, the violin virtuoso whose time is running out; and between them Anita, the opera singer, who is desired by both. Opposite these three, on the other side, stands Jonny, the jazz musician from America. With his music and his life style, he represents a freedom that unsettles the Europeans as just much as it fascinates them. At the end, it is he who plays his music for the people: Daniello has already perished, and Anita and Max have set out for a new world in which it is not even clear what it will bring them and their art.
At the time of the creation of Jonny spielt auf, Krenek admitted his sympathy for the title figure: for all the vagueness of his feelings and his music, Jonny embodied for him a very desirable freedom. Later, when Krenek had experienced exile, the perspective shifted in favor of Max. If the audacious Jonny is a projection surface for the yearnings of the young Krenek, then the doubting Max is an identification figure for the composer’s lifelong search, for his struggle for an art that is rooted in history and suitable for the present.
Thus Jonny spielt auf contrasts different conceptions of art and artistry: a conflict emerges between artistic pretension and commercial profit, between solitary work and popular success, a conflict that even in today’s debates about theater has lost nothing of its relevance."
One can therefore look forward to the first Krenek premiere of 2016!

Jonny spielt auf
Opera in two parts
Stadttheater Hagen, Großes Haus
Premiere: 16 January 2016, 7:30 p.m.
Further performances: 30/1, 4/2, 14/2, 19/2, 24/2, 9/3, 2/4, and 29/5.

Musical direction: Florian Ludwig
Direction: Roman Hovenbitzer
Scenery and costumes: Jan Bammes
Lighting: Ulrich Schneider
Choreography: Alfonso Palencia
With: Andrew Finden, Edith Haller, Maria Klier, Kenneth Mattice, Hans-Georg Priese, Mathias Schulz, Kejia Xiong, Rainer Zaun, and others



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Dance and Music Workshop: “The Secret Kingdom”

Ernst Krenek wrote his fairy-tale opera "Das geheime Königreich" ("The Secret Kingdom") immediately after finishing "Jonny spelt auf" in 1926.

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Impressively captured: Manuela Kerer about the Workshop “Underway”

Composer Manuela Kerer and music educator Veronika Grossberger have already conducted the workshop Underway several times. In it, the children set out on a journey in which they again and again encounter events from the life of Ernst Krenek and his music. At the same time, they compose and try their hand as musicians. Read Manuela Kerer’s very personal report in which she describes what she experienced with the children of the Kolonitzgasse Elementary School in Vienna.

Read the feature here.

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