Musical Theatre with classical and electronic music reminiscent of the members of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz
“If we don’t play well, they’ll send us to the gas chambers”. [Alma Rosé, 2nd conductor of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz]
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As the Auschwitz wheels of destruction turn, it is accompanied by orchestral music. Music on command. Forced musical labor. Female concentration camp prisoners between the ages of 16 and 40 witness unimaginable horror and have to play to it. The music fulfills functions: it has to express the power of the National Socialists; it coordinates and rhythmizes work; it calms and tortures; and it serves to entertain and relax the SS officers. The female musicians have to perform: it’s a matter of life and death.
This contemporary musical by spreeagenten is devoted to the memories of those who witnessed this horrific period of history, the members of the Women’s Orchestra of Auschwitz. The result is a cross-border dialogue between text and music, classical repertoire and electronic composition, past and present; it’s also a dialogue between the witnesses, ensemble and audience on the questions of “How to survive?” and “What does my art mean to me?”
We trembled and cried, tears running down. You couldn’t help people. You have to stand and play, knowing they were on the way to the gas chambers. [Esther Bejarano, Accordionist]
“The staging follows renunciation […] It doesn’t need any real appearance of a concentration camp. And yet all this is present. It sounds through the young people’s mouth, lives in their gestures, is present through sounds and music which are related. „Mädchenorchester“ [“Girl’s Orchestra”] is a miracle of stylization”. [Neues Deutschland]
“Moving documentary theater”. [Berliner Morgenpost]
“The impressive staging visually renounces horror pictures. The stage design is reduced to a few, but carefully selected details. […] Also the stage music by composer Munsha makes the deadly menace perceptible in every second”. [Inforadio]
“Hard, brutal words strike soft tones in downright absurd scenes”. [Berliner Zeitung]
“„Mädchenorchester“ [“Girl’s Orchestra”] is a play about the beauty and vulnerability of music. […] The concept to let it be performed by a young ensemble works excellently. Thereby the play seizes elementary questions. Answers can be found in the silent nuances”. [Tagesspiegel]
“Musicians and performers form a common resonant body of memories. Memories of horror and humiliation. […] The interaction of Berlin students and acting and music professionals gives the performance authenticity – as partly the members of the girls’ orchestra of Auschwitz were also only 16 years old”. [rbb Television, Kowalski & Schmidt]
With: Sonja Kessner [performance] | Anna Langner [soprano, performance]
and Lea Böhm, Elli “Liam” Drews, Mounir El-mohamad, Denise Priegnitz, Emelie Stein, Rudi Stein, Jardel Tibusseck [performance]. JungesKammerEnsemble Schostakowitsch-Music School Berlin-Lichtenberg: Adrian Petersen, flute | Sophie Irmer, oboe | Anne Hänisch, clarinet | Nele Wolf, bassoon | Cornelius Bernitzky, cornet | Gabriela van Dijk, Concertmistress, Soloist, 1st violin | Josephin Ber- ger, 1st violin | Florian Schumann, 1st violin | Rebecca Meisel, 1st violin | Lukas Postulka, 1st violin | Luise Homann, 2nd violin | Birte Tröger, 2nd violin | Therese Wegerich, 2nd violin | Olga Yanchuk, 2nd violin | Emeli Tröger, viola | Yves Hachenberger, viola | Tobias Ronneberg, cello | Hanna Ittner, cello | Jonas Fink, bass | Sophie Oberschmidt, accordion | Leon Pester, timbal/percussion.
Daniela Lunelli aka Munsha : Live Electronics
Concept, Text, Director: Susanne Chrudina | Composition, Musical Director: Daniela Lunelli aka Munsha | Set & Costume Design: Stefan Oppenländer | Orchestra Director, Conducting: Till Schwabenbauer | Dramaturgy: Sabine Salzmann | Production Management, Assistant Director: Chris Wohlrab | Costume Assistant: Isabella Schuh |Musicological Assistance, Conducting: Gabriela van Dijk | Pedagogical Support: Jördis Gierig | Film Documentary: Branka Pavlović, Nikola Polic ́ | Public Relations Nora Gores | Graphic Design: Ulrich Kochinke | Technical Director: Christoph Wüst | Sound: Aiva Yamac | Lighting Technician Stephen Willaredt, Tobias Bischoff | Intern Make-up: Nataša Trifunać, Guest Student Technical Department: Tjark Lasch
A spreeagenten production in coproduction with Ernst-Haeckel-School Berlin-Marzahn, JungesKammerEnsemble Schostakowitsch-Music School Berlin-Lichtenberg, Jugendkammerorchester Berlin e. V., TATWERK | Performative Forschung, Heimathafen Neukölln and Theaterscoutings.
Funded by Capital Cultural Fund (Hauptstadtkulturfonds) and with funds by Berliner Projektfonds Kulturelle Bildung.
Foto: Nihad Nino Pušija
We want to thank „Verein der Bundestagsfraktion DIE LINKE e. V.“ for financial support, Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum and Theaterhaus Berlin Mitte for support.
Media partner: taz. die tageszeitung