Jürgen Flimm For Marie

For Marie

When we heard the terrible news, it was as if we had been crushed by a lead weight: Marie Zimmermann had been taken from us.

This autumn would have been her first season as artistic director. We were delighted that she had taken over this not-so-simple task – and then suddenly this sprightly, proactive, successful woman-of-theatre left us. How were things to continue? We all soon reassembled and were quite clear that we did not want to abandon this beautiful festival, that this year we would continue along the lines set out by Marie Zimmermann. For many of us this was a very difficult decision, many of us had other plans, some suitcases were already packed; and for me personally it meant bringing my work as Director of the Salzburger Festspiele into line with the task here. We reorganised ourselves, and alongside my colleague Jürgen Krings, I would like to mention Andrea Kaiser, Ulli Stepan und Thomas Wördehoff as colleagues who attended to all the various needs of the Triennale.

An important theme for Marie was »foreignness«, foreignness in us, homelessness in an inhospitable world that has no room at the inn, where the concept of homeland has become blurred. We have taken up several facets of Marie’s great themes, we have studied her plans and have realised many of her ideas. The programme we are privileged to present to you, the audience, we dedicate in our hearts to Marie Zimmermann.

Johan Simons, our good neighbour fromGent, is back again with his production of Vergeten Straat (Forgotten Street) by Louis Paul Boon. We are delighted that Alain Platel is coming back with his latest dance creation pitié ! Erbarme Dich ! with music from St Matthew’s Passion. The Münchner Kammerspiele will be showing their new play by Händl Klaus and Lars Wittershagen. The director Sebastian Nübling who, with his young ensemble from Basel, inspired us so much last year with his Parzival. Christoph Schlingensief, one of Germany’s most important artists, himself a work of art, is coming directly from Oberhausen in the heart of the Ruhr with his Eine Kirche der Angst vor dem Fremden in mir (A church of fear for the fear in me) which he is going to construct in the Gebläsehalle in Duisburg. The Bavarian Theatre Academy are coming from afar to show us Die Nacht (The Night), an evening of music by Mozart and texts by Einar Schleef, the linguistically-dexterous director and author who died too young. It will be directed by Anna Viebrock, known to us through Christoph Marthaler’s beautiful, meditative work – she was his stage designer for many years.

Schorsch Kamerun, singer with the Goldenen Zitronen and now also international director, will set up a musical-theatrical installation in Gladbeck with Westwärts, based on the texts of the poet Rolf Dieter Brinkmann. That Dutchman of theatre Ivo van Hove was commissioned by Marie to adapt Visconti’s legendary drama about emigration Rocco e i suoi fratelli (Rocco and his brothers) for the stage in the Jahrhunderthalle in Bochum. And our series Werk will present the noteworthy director Luc Bondy, who follows in the footsteps of Andrea Breth, Peter Zadek and Claus Peymann: at the heart of this honour are productions of Marivaux’s comedy of errors La Seconde Surprise de l’amour, a co-production with the Ruhrtriennale that recently premiered in Paris; as well as Shakespeare’s King Lear, a production from Vienna’s Burgtheater.

The Bulgarian mezzo-soprano Vesselina Kasarova, who is at home on all the great opera stages, will seduce us with couplets and arias from Jacques Offenbach, Cologne’s most famous export to Paris, in O, nuit d’amour ... ! She will be accompanied by the actor Jan Josef Liefers, who provides the witty period atmosphere through the gloriously sarcastic texts of the Goncourt brothers. Following on from their success with Das Trojanische Boot Mnozil Brass, the off-beat brass septet from Vienna, will lead us this year into the glorious harbour of marriage with the opera Irmingard. And for the first time at the RuhrTriennale Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker will show a dance piece called Zeitung (Newspaper); also making their debut here are Benoît Lachambre and Louise Lecavallier with Is you me, as in previous year this is the result of a collaboration with our esteemed colleagues from the PACT Zollverein.

An expansive programme of literature invites you to encounter poets and writers both known and new. And for the youngest members of our audience this year we are not only providing an extended Theatre Academy for Children but in the Salzfabrik (salt factory) of the Kokerei Zollverein the renowned British theatremaker, Sue Buckmaster, will introduce our youngest visitors to the secrets of salt with her production Salt.

And last but not least there is the exclusive concert series Century of Song, which, with Joe Henry as musical director, has such great songwriters as Mose Allison, Rosanne Cash, Meshell Ndegeocello, Billy Bragg and others. And not forgetting Mike Herting, who curated the concerts last year and who this autumn will be organising a series of shows with musicians from our region whose roots lie in different cultures.

There are so many interesting performances, concerts, readings, and discussions for you to visit in our wonderful halls here. We look forward to seeing you! And I would like to wish Willy Decker, the new Artistic Director of the RuhrTriennale until 2011, all the best. May he have great successes in the coming years in these most beautiful of performance spaces.

Break a leg, Willy, we are counting on you!

Until then!

Your very own

Jürgen Flimm

PS: Oh, and we are going to New York! On 5th July our Die Soldaten (Soldiers) will have their premiere there in the Armory Hall, an old parade hall for the New York regiments! Why don’t you come with us to the Big Apple!