Spielzeit 26.08. - 09.10.

West-Eastern Divan

Love poetry of the East and the West by Hafiz, Omar Khayyam, J.W. von Goethe, Forugh Farrokhzad, Amal al-Jubouri and others

“Come and sit down for a breath, speak with me, for a word from such a laughing mouth is a true resurrection…” / Moslehedddin Sa’di, 13th century

“With all my power and all my fortune I have cast myself towards the Orient, the land of faith, of revelations, of prophecy and of promise”, J.W. von Goethe writes to Christian Friedrich Schlosser in the year 1815, thereby announcing the origins of his most poetic and significant verses, the West-Eastern Divan. Through a variety of not always accomplished translations of works by Hafiz, Nizami, Ferdowsi, Rumi and others he is introduced into the world of oriental song collections (divan) and deeply moved.  Goethe’s divan consists of twelve books, of which the Book of Love and the Book of Zuleika are among the most evocative: religious longing and “the cosmic dimension of love”, describing the world of man as an analogy of a higher world.

Albert Ostermaier, librettist of the music theatre piece Layla and Majnun after Nizami and a leading contemporary German poet, has written numerous poems during his work on the libretto which will be presented publicly in this reading.  Love poems and devotional poetry, poems of beauty and ecstasy, of longing and spiritual journey lead from the ancient poets of the Orient via German classicism and on into the 21st century.

The West-Eastern Divan sets the tone for our literature programme which this year concentrates on ‘Eastern’ writers, following Goethe’s maxim: “If you know yourself and others, / You’ll also recognize: / Orient and Occident / Are impossible to divide.”