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Cornelia Rainer on her Production of Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz

10 AUG 2012

published in: Drama

Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz (Photo: Wolfgang Kirchner)
Once a year, the Young Directors Project of the Salzburg Festival, initiated in 2002, offers young directors the chance to boost their careers. This year, in addition to a Frenchwoman, a South African and a South Korean, a young Austrian has the opportunity to present her talent: this summer, Cornelia Rainer directs Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, a work commissioned by the Salzburg Festival. The main role will be played by the Burgtheater ensemble member Markus Meyer.

The director, who grew up in rural East Tyrol, only discovered theater relatively late in life. “My first cultural experiences all involved music. Music was a possibility to approach and grasp another world,” Cornelia Rainer says. Together with her sister, she remains very active on the music scene, appearing with the Musicbanda Franui, among others. Apart from music, literature was her second passion: “I always read a lot. That was always a necessity.” Only during her school days did her interest in theater awaken, and she began to travel to Vienna and Klagenfurt regularly to attend performances. There, for the first time she “got a feeling of what it might mean to be involved in theater myself”.*

Now, at the invitation of Salzburg’s Director of Drama, Sven-Eric Bechtolf, she is directing at the Festival. Rainer had already worked with him as an assistant director at the Burgtheater. Bechtolf is enthusiastic about the perseverance and assertiveness of the young director. She has proven those two traits right at the beginning: instead of following Bechtolf’s concept of borrowing the structure from Georg Büchner’s novella Lenz, Rainer followed her own design. She mixes texts by Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz, Georg Büchner and Johann Friedrich Oberlin. Together with “Theater Montagnes Russes” – a theater company she founded which brings different performers together, depending on the project at hand – Cornelia Rainer makes Lenz’ well-documented sojourn at the Steintal the point of departure for a theatrical portrait of the poet. She focuses particularly on the music, working together for the first time with the Swiss collective “Schi-lunsch-naven”. Apart from Christian Prader and Julian Sartorius, the group includes Sophie Hunger, a rising Swiss singer, songwriter and film composer. As this production once again clearly demonstrates, Cornelia Rainer is determined to remain active on both the music and the theater scene.

You can form your own impression of Cornelia Rainer’s theatrical and musical approach to Jakob Michael Reinhold Lenz starting on August 10, 2012 at the republic. After the premiere, there will be additional performances on August 11, 12 and 13, all at 8:00 pm. Further information and tickets for this fascinating production are available here.

*The quotations are taken from two APA interviews with Cornelia Rainer.