Surrogate Cities Ruhr

Choreography for the Ruhrgebiet by Mathilde Monnier with music by Heiner Goebbels

  • © Wonge Bergmann
    (c) Wonge Bergmann
  • © Wonge Bergmann
    (c) Wonge Bergmann
  • © Wonge Bergmann
    (c) Wonge Bergmann
  • © Wonge Bergmann
    (c) Wonge Bergmann
  • © Wonge Bergmann
    (c) Wonge Bergmann

Kraftzentrale at Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord becomes a showplace for a large-scale work of musical theater. French choreographer Mathilde Monnier creates with 130 local performers and the Bochumer Symphoniker under the direction of Steven Sloane a choreographic work for Surrogate Cities, Heiner Goebbels’ seven-part composition for two solo voices and large orchestra. In his orchestra cycle, Heiner Goebbels sketches the portrait of an imaginary metropolis. The orchestra is understood as an image of society and a metaphor of a city. In the midst of the scene, it acts as a musical center of forces and part of the choreographed landscape.

Mathilde Monnier’s choreography for Surrogate Cities Ruhr was inspired by the mutual interplay of musical temperature and intensity. With children and young adults, adults and senior citizens, the choreographer explores their repertoire of movement and places it in a tense relation to music. In so doing, the participants help to create the choreography; their transformations in the urban space become images of collectivity and loneliness. Surrogate Cities Ruhr understands the variety of cities in the Ruhr Region as a polycentric metropolis and creates an interaction between the city and its residents that seems to break out of the purely musical sphere. The formless shape of the city becomes an event in the at times breathless, at times lyrical architecture of moving bodies and in the rhythms of the music and its orchestral gestures.

The music of Surrogate Cities, which has been performed around the world since its premiere in 1994, takes its impulses from texts, drawings, and structures of city maps, using sounds from Berlin and New York, Tokyo and St. Petersburg, or encounters historical-musical fragments and found pieces directly. The sampler plays a central role as the mode to digitally store this acoustic material. The more narrative parts are voiced by the virtuosic singer David Moss and American jazz vocalist Jocelyn B. Smith.

Mathilde Monnier, one of France’s most innovative choreographers today, sees dance in an inspiring interaction with other art forms. Since 1984, she has been developing pieces with international artists, performances, and installations. At Ruhrtriennale 2012, she was a guest with Twin Paradox und Soapéra, for which she was awarded the “Best of the Best” Prize from the Children’s Choice Awards.

Composition —
Musical Direction —
Choreography —
Stage —
Light —
Sounddesign —
Collaboration Choreography —
Lluis Ayet, Jorge Gonçalves, Thibaut Kaiser
Song —
Voice —
With —
130 Akteuren aus der Metropole Ruhr
Texts by —
Paul Auster, Heiner Müller, Hugo Hamilton


— 20. September 2014
Further dates
— 21. 26. 27. September
— 1 h 30 min
New Production
— 20 / 30 / 40 / 55 €
Reduced prices start at 10,00 €

Discount for young people

Children and young people up to the age of 27 can book special discounted 10 € tickets in all available price categories. The discount is available online here.

Project supporter

With the friendly support by Institut français and the association of friends and supporters of Ruhrtriennale e.V.

  • Sat20Sep
    Surrogate Cities Ruhr on 20. September 2014 at 7.30 PM
  • Sun21Sep
    Surrogate Cities Ruhr on 21. September 2014 at 4.00 PM
  • Fri26Sep
    Surrogate Cities Ruhr on 26. September 2014 at 7.30 PM
  • Sat27Sep
    Surrogate Cities Ruhr on 27. September 2014 at 7.30 PM


Open discussion
— 26. September, following the show
Mathilde Monnier / Eszter Salamon
21. September 2014
Museum Folkwang, Essen
Music theater with Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Production by Heiner Goebbels
15. August 2014, 16. August 2014, 17. August 2014, 22. August 2014, 23. August 2014, 24. August 2014
Kraftzentrale, Duisburg
Heiner Goebbels / Holger Noltze
28. September 2014
Museum Folkwang, Essen

Press Comments

Like much of Goebbels's music, it is at once radical and eclectic. Orchestral music and vocals blend with electronics. The running order of its disparate movements is ultimately the decision of its performers, but whichever way it is played, it reveals a powerful unity of vision.

— The Guardian, 04.03.2012

Mit 'Surrogate Cities Ruhr' verleiht Heiner Goebbels seiner Triennale-Intendanz einen bemerkenswert vitalen, unbedingt sehens- und hörenswerten Schlusspunkt.

— Westfälischer Anzeiger, 22.09.2014

Verbeugung vor dem Revier […] Goebbels᾽ Musik strahlt eine visionäre Kraft von universaler, regional nicht eingrenzbarer Signalwirkung aus. […] Sie beeindruckt in der Kraftzentrale des Duisburger Landschaftsparks Nord am stärksten.

— Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, 22.09.2014

Unter Steve Sloane legt sich das Orchester mit solcher Brillanz ins Zeug, dass die raumfüllende Wirkung der mächtigen Klangschichten unentwegt fesselt.

— Recklinghäuser Zeitung, 22.09.2014

A production by Ruhrtriennale.
Coproduction Zukunft@bphil - Département éducatif de l'Orchestre philharmonique de Berlin - Zukunft@bphil est soutenu par la Deutsche Bank, Centre chorégraphique national de Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon - programme Hors Séries