Münchener Biennale
On the way
31.5. – 10.6.24
Music theater for mezzo-soprano, actress, Syrian vocalist, woman’s vocal ensemble, strings and Syrian percussionist
Lucia Ronchetti

Germany 2024: Zeina is dying. Her diary, which Zeina wrote to give her daughter Leyla a deeper insight into her life, falls into Leyla’s hands. Together with Leyla we dive into Zeina’s biography; once a Syrian archaeologist researching Palmyra and the story of the antique Queen Zenobia, she was forced by the war to leave Syria and seek refuge in Germany. Here her thoughts keep wandering back to her home country. In particular, it is the imaginary presence of Zenobia who is her constant companion and with whom she maintains an intimate dialogue.

Lucia Ronchetti and Mohammad Al Attar tell the story of two female Syrian figures: Zeina unites real and complex experiences of flight and migration for various modern women and contrasts her own biography to that of Zenobia. The musical element is guided by fragments from Albinoni’s Venetian opera of the same name combined with elements of traditional Syrian music. These influences are shaped by the vocals of Mais Harb and percussionist Elias Aboud, who – like Al Attar – come from Syria and are considered to be among the most outstanding artists of their culture in Germany today.

Translation into German
Co-Composition, Vocals
Kai Kobayashi

This is the first time that composer Kai Kobayashi, who has been delving into music theatre for many years, and choreographer and performer, Simone Aughterlony, are working together. Their staged project describes a path of inner development and transformation that becomes visible and audible as a spatial process. How do we change ourselves “on the way”?

Direction & Choreography
Nico Sauer

RÜBER is a passenger transport music theatre piece by Nico Sauer. The passenger compartment of a limousine becomes a mobile theatre space, the traffic becomes part of a synesthetic experience between inner space and the outside world, and the route becomes a choreography of fortuitous movement. Musicians and actors drive, perform, and direct this multi-sensory drive through Munich’s inner city.

Direction, Composition, Performance
Carlos Gutiérrez

Composer Carlos Gutiérrez, together with artist Tatjana Lopez and a group of 100 non-professional musicians from Munich, have developed a sound performance based on traditional Bolivian highlands music. The cooperation with the Münchner Volkshochschule interrogates South American and West European perceptions of sounds and the creation of sounds and, after an unusual start in Saal X, will expand into a multi-branch sound sculpture on the banks of the Isar river.

Composition and Direction
Artistic Direction
A Project of Hochschule für Musik und Theater München

Fressen oder gefressen werden? Die immersive Musiktheateruraufführung „nimmersatt“ lädt das Publikum ein, sich mittels virtual reality und Live-Performance auf eine politische Abenteuerreise durch den menschengemachten Nahrungskreislauf zu begeben.

Andreas Eduardo Frank / Patrick Frank

Composers Andreas Eduardo Frank and Patrick Frank, together with director Georg Schütky go in search of so-called happiness in the economic metropoles of Munich and Basel. What is the relationship between the happiness of the collective and the unhappiness of individuals? Can the path to happiness be shared with others? Working with the Lemniscate Ensemble, singers, performers, an amateur choir, and amateur actors from Munich, they put different ideas of happiness up for discussion in a musical performance and examine the resulting life plans and societal models.

Stage design
Three music theater premieres for public space in the city centre of Munich by Het Geluid (NL), Novoflot (D), Oblivia (FIN)

In what ways can contemporary music theatre contribute to the creation and formulation of new lines (of thought) for a meaningful mobility of the future? By producing unusual theatrical settings in public spaces that no one walks past! By opening stations of the future in the middle of the city (and thus before everyone’s eyes!) By manifesting ways of moving forward that are robot-controlled and fed by music, or by setting in motion new moving streams of knowledge, memory and forgetting amongst visitors to the HP8 municipal library! In “New Lines”, the Biennale seeks to highlight the importance of artistic thought in addressing key socio-political issues. The Munich Biennale has invited three independent producing companies from Finland (Oblivia), the Netherlands (Het Geluid) and Germany (Novoflot) for this special pilot project, all of whom have influenced the European music theatre scene for many years. For the Biennale they are staging productions with composers Ted Hearne, Tamara Miller, Du Yun and Yiran Zhao for the first time. The three world premieres will be shown several times a day from 5th – 9th June or can be visited during specific opening hours.

#1 The Gates are (nearly) open – Novoflot
#2 Turn Turtle Turn – Oblivia
#3 In Passage – Het Geluid
Du Yun

It is the very first MBE-station in Europe and, as part of the Biennale, will be set up in the centre of Munich’s inner-city. MBE is an abbreviation of “Maximum Broad Effect” and stands for multiple adaptable handling procedures; it will serve a wide variety of means of transport for future urban traffic. A completely unique innovation that brings with it great expectations. But before implementation, there will be opening ceremonies across several days – staged by Novoflot from Berlin! Under the banner of “The Gates are (nearly) open”, Novoflot and composer Du Yun invite all city residents and international guests to a first glimpse of the station operated by MBE technology to demonstrate the music-controlled power supply, open up the “Feel well and easily moved” areas of the station for the first time and present several protagonists from the management team of this latest of Munich’s attractions.

Musical Direction
Stage design
Yiran Zhao

The question posed by Oblivia in this geological era of the Anthropocene and its man-made crises is: “How did it get to this point?” and is the starting point of their new piece for the 2024 Munich Biennale which will premiere in the inner and outer spaces of the municipal library in the HP8. In this work, the hit Finnish company of the new music theatre scene take another look at humanity’s great concerns and counter them in a delicately humorous manner using fragments of text, movement, and New Music. In “Turn Turtle Turn”, the five performers of Oblivia, working with three local singers and the twelve-member ensemble ö! directed by Francesc Prat, playfully and pointedly create a grandiose tableau: they meander between the age of dinosaurs and adventure stories, between the Ice Age and parallel worlds, between prehistoric geography and our hunt for fossil raw materials. Sometimes coming right up close, sometimes seeming to drift right away, “Turn Turtle Turn” flows in its search for traces of the status quo of humanity stuck between perpetual (self-) destruction and persistent hope.

Concept, Direction, Dramaturgy, Texts
Light & Stage Design
Costume Design
Ted Hearne, Tamara Miller

Het Geluid has developed a hybrid sound robot that moves above and below ground through parts of Munich’s inner city, thus bringing together digital and real (social) spaces. Creating a community production of musical events comprising a group of invited artists, a choir as well as the audience will provide the driving force for this special object. “In Passage” is music theatre about new forms of collective work, as well as technical and social developmental processes to get societies of the future moving.

Conzept & Direction
Conzept & Direction
Künstlerische Beratung
Stage Design
Alvin Curran

Alvin Curran’s installation for a hanging self-performing piano and a large number of football boots strewn across the floor was inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini who, because of his vast talents and interests, was an avid football player. Completely randomly and far more than artificially intelligent, the programme living within the instrument chooses from a huge number of pre-recorded data and composes an infinite number of musical events – played acoustically on this so-called “diskklavier” piano. “Footnotes” is a sounding artwork that invites selective football players to join in the performative dialogue!

Campus 2024_On the way - Aufbrüche, Fahrpläne und Reisegruppen im neuen Musiktheater

Students from a variety of faculties will engage with the productions of the Munich Biennale by watching performances, attending discussions and artists’ talks, and carrying out creative research. The focus will be on attending the performances as well as on in-depth discourse around the productions visited between the interdisciplinary participants and their lecturers. In addition, there are plans for presentations from the accompanying lecturers as well as discussions and possibly workshops with artists from the productions of the Biennale.

Concept und Realization
Concept und Realization
Mithatcan Öcal

Earth is lost. The time has come to make an about turn in the wasteland of a terrifyingly real future following the great catastrophe. Whoever has a spaceship can consider themselves lucky – but before Mike Tango, Sierra Sierra, Charlie Gold and Mandy Lemon can go on the run, the ship and onboard computer have to play along. And they prove to be extraordinarily wilful and lively…

This premiere of Defect was commissioned in cooperation with the State Theatre of Kassel. Istanbul composer Mithatcan Öcal is considered one of the greatest international talents of contemporary music. He exemplifies strong musical concepts along traditional lines and an intrinsic musical logic in a radical large format which is consciously anti-eclectic. Interdisciplinary artist cyclixe wrote the text of this space opera, she is also responsible for the production’s videos. Her works voyage through the graphic arts and widely differing media, along social and political fold lines, through human networks and realities, across continents – and for this work, through time and space.

Libretto & video
Musical direction
Stage and costume design
Light design
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