Arne Gieshoff und Franziska Angerer

Information on the piece

Music theatre by Arne Gieshoff and Franziska Angerer based on the novel "Croire aux fauves" by Nastassja Martin
World premiere in the Tischlerei of the Deutsche Oper Berlin on 21 June 2023

recommended from 16 years

approx. 1 hour 30 minutes / no interval

In German

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Supported by Förderkreis der Deutschen Oper Berlin e. V.

About the performance

The world premiere of BÄR*IN is the culmination of a joint project between composer Arne Gieshoff and director Franziska Angerer, in which they explore the relationship that exists between human beings and animals. This experiment in musical theatre draws heavily on Nastassja Martin’s novel “In the Eye of the Wild”: During a research trip in the Siberian wilderness the anthropologist is bitten in the face by a bear and badly injured. Martin’s dramatic story of a woman’s convalescence is simultaneously the beginning of a transformation: the distinction between herself and the bear become blurred; she has become half human, half bear – a bi-natural creature in which worlds implode.

Berlin’s history is likewise ursine in the extreme. From 1939 to 2015 the enclosure in the Köllnischer Park housed successive generations of bears, living and breathing versions of the city’s heraldic symbol. No less than their human neighbours, the bears are intrinsic to the city – yet their view of their urban surroundings remains largely unseen. The first family of bears perished in the bombardments of the Second World War, and their successors witnessed a city in a permanent state of flux between immediate post-war reconstruction, cold-war division, reunification and international stature as one of the world’s great centres.

In BÄR*IN, Nastassja Martin's narrative can be perceived as a prism of experience and a landscape of memory: the body art performer Fréderic Krauke, two singers of the ensemble and the actress Eva Hüster convey the physical, emotional and factual levels of her account. Arne Gieshoff's composition, in which singing, speech, live music and electronics are tightly interwoven, meets the sound of a three-piece band in BÄR*IN, whose songs tell the stories of Berlin's urban bears. Their sound, which ranges from swing to techno to hip hop, is a journey through the history of Berlin popular music from the beginnings of the Bärenzwinger to today. BÄR*IN is a hybrid evening about metamorphoses and an invitation to consider our world as a structure in which not only humans are active agents.

The director Franziska Angerer lives and works in Munich. Engagements have taken her to the Staatstheater Darmstadt, the Bavarian State Opera, the Residenztheater Munich, the SPIELART Theatre Festival in Munich and the Eclat Festival for New Music, among others. She is interested in the development of music-theatrical and cross-genre forms for which she finds sensual and poetic approaches. In her work she deals, among other things, with the relationship between man and nature and the end of the Anthropocene. She is the winner of the Dr.-Otto-Kasten-Prize 2021 of the Intendants' Group of the German Stage Association and was awarded the Götz-Friedrich-Prize 2021.

Works by the composer Arne Gieshoff have been performed by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra and Collegium Novum Zürich, among other ensembles. His oeuvre ranges from instrumentals for heterogeneous line-ups of musicians to conceptual installations involving specific locations and incorporating found objects, field recordings, interactive live electronic elements and live input from singers and musicians.

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