Lieder von Vertreibung und Nimmerwiederkehr
In ›Lieder von Vertreibung und Nimmerwiederkehr‹, Austrian composer Bernhard Gander is scoring a libretto by Ukrainian writer Serhiy Zhadan to create a new opera with director Alize Zandwijk and soloists from the Ensemble Modern and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
As a commissioned work by the Münchener Biennale, the content of Gander's and Zhadan's musical theatre is based on the theme of the upcoming festival: friendship. Friendship is where »kindred spirits meet on equal footing«. Yet the expectations that friendship entails make it susceptible to great disappointment and hurt. This topic becomes especially critical when it comes to »friendships« between abstract entities such as states, nations or peoples. Whereas it was Old Europe, the USA and the Soviet Union who insisted on »friendship« with their neighbours over the past two hundred years, China has become increasingly involved in countries throughout Africa, while Russia's borders have been plagued by old and revitalised conflicts between and about »friends and relatives«.
In their premiere Gander and Zhadan address the deeply complicated borders and boundaries of friendship that run between states that used to be firmly connected. Zhadan takes the existential challenges of the Russian-Ukrainian relationship as the starting point for his libretto. Using an exemplary border post situation, Zhadan's text deals with the dramatic effects of war, expulsion and flight on the human individual. The characters who appear here are confronted with the question of how to take a stance when the cultural, historical, political and personal relations are too complex and contradictory to make the »right« decision possible. When they began their work, no one could know the terrible topicality this issue would assume.