Freely adapted from “Schwanengesang” by Franz Schubert
1 Baritone – David Ristau
1 Actress – Gina-Lisa Maiwald
1 Piano – Edgar Wiersocki
11.09.2018 – HIDALGO Festival 2018
In a vaulted cellar, space and sound are transformed for one evening. Schubert’s classical music is filled with strange sounds and electronic elements. The place is disintegrating. Between people, walls and decaying sounds and texts, two opposing figures search for their identity. Swan song as experimental metamorphosis.
“When the swan sings, it dies.” With this satirical verse, the 16th century writer Johann Fischart joins a tradition that dates back to antiquity. In his “Metamorphoses”, the Roman poet Ovid tells the story of Cyknus, who is transformed into a swan so that he can mourn his friend Phaeton, who died in the fire, by singing on the lakes. Swan song as lament.
But even in ancient times, the swan song was interpreted in a completely different way: In Plato’s book “Phaidon”, the philosopher Socrates – during a discussion about the immortality of the soul – interprets the song of the swans before their death as a welcoming expression: they are looking forward to the happiness that awaits them in the afterlife. The swan did not have to be completely pure back then, because according to another legend, Zeus approached Leda, with whom he had fallen in love, in this form and impregnated her.
As a symbol of transformation, the swan and its song are the starting point of SCHWANENGESANG. In a changing space, two protagonists – a swan and a raven – question their own and other people’s identities, try to communicate and experience a transformation.
This constellation is modeled on a fable by Aesop: The raven wants to possess the swan’s feathers and believes he can obtain them by copying the swan’s way of life. In SCHWANENGESANG, the laborious metamorphosis is reflected in the changing music.
An essential element of the evening and the change is the water, the swan’s natural habitat. The preceding verse can be expanded into a question: Does the swan die from its song – or can something new emerge from a destructive act?
The cast corresponds to the usual artistic level of HIDALGO and its artist collective. The artists may vary depending on availability.