Ponifasio/Orff: Prometheus — Music theater based on Aeschylus - Premiere

14 September 2012

Further dates: 18. 21. 23. 25. 27. September, 8 p.m. Funded by Kulturstiftung des Bundes.

Lemi Ponifasio about Prometheus: „Like the last speeches, the last dances on Earth."

Duisburg's Kraftzentrale with its monumental dimensions becomes a show-place for an unusual artistic constellation: in his first opera work, Samoan performance artist and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio encounters Carl Orff 's stunningly dynamic adaptation of Aeschylus' Prometheus. A large ensemble of singers, actors, dancers, a chorus, musicians, and lay actors participate in performing the tragedy of Prometheus, chained and rebelling against the gods.

In recent years, Lemi Ponifasio has attracted attention in works such as The Tempest: Without a Body, Birds with Skymirrors, and most recently in Le Savali: Berlin at the Berlin Festspiele in 2011. His works continue the traditions and mythology of his Pacific background in an aesthetically modern and political theater. With this new perspective, Ponifasio encounters an icon of European mythology in Orff 's rarely performed tragedy.

In his artistic universe Ponifasio has repeatedly taken the exposed nature of the modern individual to a different space of consciousness by way of the decelerated rhythm of his strict aesthetic. In its motifs and forms, his non-psychological approach touches on the pre-dramatic roots of European theater; Orff, too, turned to these elements in his setting of Aeschylus' ancient Greek tragedy in its entirety.

Carl Orff 's music is rooted in the declamation of the human voice in which the tragedy takes place. The rhythm of the language liberated from its original verse structure is presented with percussion instruments from all over the world throughout the acoustic space, and charged with archaic affects that reach the listener directly. Ponifasio's strong visual language between light and darkness focuses the attention of the spectators at the limit of perception. In so doing, it encounters Orff 's musical aesthetic of horror in a musicaltheatrical dialog in which the force and modernity of Orff 's work appears in a new light. Conductor Peter Rundel is the ideal partner for taking a new look at Orff 's score. Equally at home in both contemporary and classical music, he performs regularly with all of Europe's great orchestras and is a guest conductor at all the important opera houses across the continent.