sponsored by Roche
Medeamaterial is the middle part of Heiner Müller’s dramatic triptych Verkommenes Ufer Medeamaterial Landschaft mit Argonauten (Despoiled Shore Medeamaterial Landscape with Argonauts), which premiered in Bochum in 1983. The mythic content of the work is coupled with bleak visions of a future in which political, social and interpersonal dystopias overlap. Pascal Dusapin presented his operatic setting of Müller’s text in 1992. Since then it has received regular performances and was also awarded the Premio Abbiati in early 2018. Müller’s dialogue about the breakdown of a relationship is further radicalized by Dusapin’s decision to shift the action so that it takes place in Medea’s head. The composer also makes Medea the only protagonist who sings, answered by two other characters who only speak their lines — including Jason as a surreally low-pitched opponent — in addition to a solo ensemble and chorus. Originally conceived as a modern counterpart to Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, Dusapin’s score limits its instrumentation to the organ, harpsichord and a small baroque string ensemble: a symbol of the unreal dream world of the text and its timeless universality, as well as the culture shock that Medea suffers when feeling marginalized and isolated in Jason’s homeland.