Witch hunting was the great sin of the Early Modern period, with heretics being burned alive the length and breadth of Europe. At a time when the orthodox world view was under attack and cultural and religious assumptions were in crisis people found guilty of having consorted with the devil, predominantly women, were put to death in the most brutal manner. Although these events were part of a bygone age, even today women are enduring similar, if less drastic, persecution when their deviation from a supposed normality is used to justify social marginalisation and sanctions.
The three NEW SCENES premieres portray in markedly different ways women who either become “witches” or are shunned on that pretext. KEIN MYTHOS [No Myth] depicts a lesbian affair in the final months of the GDR. Two girls are discovered by the mother of Karin, a minor at the time, and Hannah receives a jail term. HAUT [Skin] is about a woman who emancipates herself from male desires, projections and mental images of female bodies by casting off her skin in a literal sense – at least this is how she experiences the process at an internal level. And UNSER VATER | VATER UNSER [Our father | our Father] presents two young women who enlist Satan’s help in escaping the repressive system of their father, whom they murder.
Three young librettists teamed up with the three composers, who were selected as the winners of a competition held in the summer of 2019 and whose three chamber operas mark the resumption of the NEW SCENES project, a collaboration between the Deutsche Oper Berlin and the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin. This is the fifth edition of a project devoted to modern-day musical theatre that sets out to demonstrate the continuing relevance of the genre. Students of singing, instrumentation and theatre direction at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin are given an opportunity to show off their talents as part of a professional musical-theatre production in the Tischlerei of the Deutsche Oper Berlin.