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“Eternally repeating itself”

5 AUG 2012

published in: General

Javier Pérez: El Carrusel del Tiempo 2012 (Photo: Luigi Caputo)
At the Karl-Böhm-Saal, the Spanish artist Javier Pérez has realized an installation associated with Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s opera Die Soldaten. 17 couples find each other in a monotonous dance, eternally repeating itself. They are arranged in rigorous symmetry, like a mandala, in larger and smaller overlapping circles – and within all this order, they also reveal a chaotic assembly of strings and shoes and couples and figures. At the center stands a gramophone – after all, what would a dance be without music?

However, it is the dance music has irritated Festival audiences, and we would like to take this opportunity to explain the context. Javier Pérez has related to the composer Zimmermann in two ways: “Time: yesterday, today and tomorrow,” that is one of the instructions in the score of Die Soldaten – in other words: “on any given day. Eternally repeating itself,” Ingo Metzmacher, who conducts the production at the Felsenreitschule, explains. – Constant repetition is also the basic motif of Pérez’ installation. The simultaneity of yesterday, today and tomorrow can be perceived here, and leads to irritation.

In Zimmermann’s opera, the simultaneity of events is expressed through complex simultaneous scenes: music, drama, ballet, pantomime and film are superimposed and flow together. In addition, he used very different musical styles to create his opera. Quotations from various musical epochs were integrated into the score – “at one point, the orchestra is ‘transformed’ into a jazz band”. That is the very image that Javier Pérez refers to with his choice of music, even though it follows his own artistic intuition; after all, “I did not want to create a work that illustrated the opera or Zimmermann’s thoughts.”