The Power Station of Emotions: For over 400 years, musical theatre has accompanied all the virtues and flaws of modern society. Here we cover Wagner, the relationship between the earliest operas (Monteverdi, Cavalli) to the most modern (Nono, Lachenmann, Rihm) and also Mozart, an operatic doctor, a chamber singer as the user of doping substances and rarities by Portici and Bizet. Villains Sing Bass: Why do male figures in opera kill the sopranos? For what reason is Evil always given the best melodies? The beauty of opera lies in these relationships and interconnections. The 80,000 operas in existence form one single score which accompanies the past 400 years of society like a distorted mirror: This is the thesis propounded in Xaver Holtzmann's imaginary opera guide.
The filmsRichard Wagner and the Law of Ruin Value in Music
- With Pierre Boulez, Michael Gielen, Peter Konwitschny -First aired in 1990-2007, dctp on RTL and SAT 1 - Assuming that an observer living in the year 6000 would contemplate our period, for example, from 1607 to 2008 (approximately the era of our opera), Heiner Müller posits that this observer would find music to be the substance and crux of that period and not our palaces or other architectural structures. But what form would music take on as an antique ruin? The director and composer Pierre Boulez says that noteworthy music is when the music itself holds together its qualities as a skeleton. The composer Luigi Nono teaches us that we can also use methods from cinema, i.e. close-ups, long shots, editing, etc., in music recordings. He says you can identify the special quality of Richard Wagner, for example, through fragmenting. With Richard Wagner's Twilight of the Gods (behind the stage), The Valkyrie, Siegfried, The Flying Dutchman, The Mastersingers of Nuremberg."80,000 Operas!"
- With Robert Schulz, August Everding, Beate Mainka-Jellinghaus, Joachim Kaiser, Lothar Zagrosek, Annette Elster, Alexander Kluge - First aired in 1994-2007, dctp on RTL and SAT 1 - All the operas put together (and there are a total of 80,000 in the history of opera) form one single score. They accompany the past 400 years of today's society like a mirror. The most modern operas provide the most powerful reply to the earliest ones. As if time didn't pass. With passages from Orpheus and The Coronation of Poppea (Monteverdi) and from operas by LuigiNono, Wolfgang Rihm, and Helmut Lachenmann."Of which we cannot speak we must sing!"
- With Lothar Zagrosek, Catherine Naglestad, Hans Neuenfels, Julia Schölzel. Sylvia Ackermann - First aired in 19982006, dctp on RTL and SAT 1 - Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio: Why does this person speak and not sing? He longs to sing. Singing generally emerges when language becomes helpless. Ferdinand Raimund's magic plays The Alpine King and the Misanthrope and The Captive Fantasy. "For all happiness, we are loath to believe, at the end is only fantasy." Mozart's The Clemency of Titus: Servilia and Annius light a candle symbolising their love. From Mozart's last opera The Magic Flute: "The rays of the sun conquer the night and destroy the hypocrites' fraudulent power."The Opera Doctor
- With Josef Schlömicher-Thier - First aired on: January 7, 2007, dctp on SAT 1 - Dr. med. Josef Schlömicher-Thier is an otorhinolaryngologist working at the Salzburg Festival. He is particularly interested in the marvel of the human voice, which creates the best moments of opera. What are the risks menacing the voice that the doctor has to contend with? What are the distinctive traits that make a voice ingenious?I Lived for my Art
- With Peter Berling - First aired on: April 30, 2007, dtcp on RTL - Opera stars face daunting competitive pressure. It's thus not unusual for some of the best among them to seek to improve their performance by secretly doping. Unlike in elite sports, this goes without punishment. The famous baritone Edouard de Scaramberg tells all.The Phenomenon of the Opera
- With Christoph Schlingensief - First aired in 1998-2007, dctp on RTL and SAT 1 - A coffin, witches in Macbeth, Othello in time lapse, the Reich Chancellor Hitler as opera-lover: Clips from Xaver Holzmann's Imaginary Opera Guide. F for Fidelio, C for Carmen, S for female prompter, P for prompter, H for Hopkins the Machinist, the only opera that tells about the industrial world, J for The Jewess, Jacques Fromental-Halévy's opera on religious fanaticism and racism. Why do we need an imaginary opera guide?Soprano versus Bass
- With Michael Gielen, Gabriel Sadé, Catherine Naglestad, Attila Jun, Götz Friedrich, Tichina Vaughn - First aired in 1992-2008, dctp on RTL and SAT 1 - Scenes from Nabucco (1842), I due foscari (1844), Macbeth (1847), Luisa Miller (1849), Il trovatore (1853), La traviata (1853), Les vépres siciliennes (1855), La forza del destino (1862), Don Carlos (1867). Productions by Peter Konwitschny, Peter Mussbach, Götz Friedrich, Axel Cortl, Stefan Herheim, and Hans Neuenfels. Seven chapters: 1. Women who fight for their men; 2. Destiny rages; 3. Fathers against their sons; 4. The sopranos; 5. Killed by the bass; 6. Murder night in Palermo; 7. Grand finales. What patron attending an opera notices immediately that the music of the Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos is the same as the music of the assassin in Rigoletto? Does one realize (if one only attends one opera on one particular evening) how related and yet how extremely different the finales of Verdi's operas are? Thus 12 x Verdi in context. A special contribution to Xaver Holzmann's Imaginary Opera Guide.Darklings Sing Bass
- With Jörg Friedrich - First aired on: July 14, 2002, dctp on SAT 1 - What is the difference between tenors, basses, sopranos, baritones, and altos in comparison to good and evil? The voice of the tenor cuts like a knife and it shines. Baritones are fathers, murderers, and cardinals offering velvety range. Sopranos can twirl through the air ethereally and otherworldly, Queen of the Night, and yet express hysteria and insanity. The darklings sing bass.The Mute Girl of Portici
- With Christine Schönfeld, Sylvia Ackermann, Uwe Schönfeld - First aired on: May 11, 1998, dtcp on RTL - The world's only opera to trigger a revolution during its premiere is "The Mute Girl of Portici" by Daniel Francois Esprit Auber. The audience in Brussels, outraged over a girl's mistreatment, exited the theater, stormed the government buildings and called for a republic.Dance on the Volcano
- With Stephen Hess, Hernan Iturralde, Simone Nold, Sebastian Geyer, Alessandro De Marchi, Juliane Votteler - First aired on: December 9, 2001, dctp on SAT 1 - Aristocrats playing at the simple life are surprised by a revolution. Now, under emergency conditions, love relations develop with great power. Masaniello Furioso, a legendary folk hero like Wilhelm Tell, Robin Hood or Rienzi, is the leader of the uprising of fishermen of 1647 in Naples. A captivating baroque opera by Reinhard Keiser (1706) tells its story.The Deluge
- With Astrid Ackermann, Sylvia Ackermann - First aired on: December 13, 1999, dtcp on RTL - Georges Bizet's "Noah," an opera in 5 acts. It tells of the events occurring immediately before the deluge and what triggered them. Bizet's father-in-law Jacques Fromental Halévy ("The Jewess," "L'éclair") started working on the opera. Bizet was only allowed to marry if he would promise to finish composing the opera.
Germany 1990-2008 - Directed and written by: Alexander Kluge - Cinematography by: Heribert Kansy, Walter Lennertz, Thomas Willke - Edited by: Kajetan Forstner, Andreas Kern - Contributors: Astrid und Sylvia Ackermann, Roland Forstner, Michael Geißmayer, Erich Harandt, Alexandra Kluge, Michael Kurz, Digne Meller-Marcovicz, Claudia Toursarkissian, Alexander Weil, Toni Werner, Beata Wiggen - Produced by: Kairos-Film, München
DVD features (2-disc DVD)
- Richard Wagner und das Ruinengesetz in der Musik 1990-2007, 50'
- "80.000 Opern!" 1994-2006, 33'
- "Wovon nicht sprechen kann, davon muss man singen" 1998-2006, 12'
- Der Opern-Arzt 2007, 24'
- Der Kunst weiht' ich mein Leben 2007, 15'
- 12 page booklet with texts by Alexander Kluge
- Das Phänomen der Oper 1998-2007, 22'
- Sopran gegen Bass 1992-200647'
- Finsterlinge singen Bass 2002, 24'
- Die Stumme von Portici 1998, 14'
- Tanz auf dem Vulkan 2001, 10'
- Die Sintflut 1999, 8'
- Short stories and a book by Alexander Kluge as ROM features
DVD edited by: Filmmuseum München and Goethe-Institut, funded by the German Federal Cultural Foundation
DVD authoring: Ralph Schermbach
DVD supervision: Stefan Droessler
First edition December 2008