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Cong Su: Mercury Light World

Cong Su Mercury Light World
music theatre after poems by Gu Cheng
libretto by Michael Schindhelm (2005) WP/CW
Chen Shi-Zheng · direction
Renchang Fu · conductor
Yoshio Yabara · stage/costumes

Dong-Jian Gong · bass
Li Yanan · soprano
Die Maulwerker · choir

Leigh Haas/flora&faunavisions · video design
Matthias Kirschke · sound direction
Veit Gries · lighting design
Gregor Luft · technical director
Kathrin Veser · assistant director
Kathrin Veser/Katherine Quigley · production manager

In Chinese with German supertitles

MaerzMusik | Berliner Festspiele in coproduction with Hebbel am Ufer HAU, Theater Basel and Brisbane Festival, in cooperation with Berliner Künstlerprogramm des DAAD, supported by the Hauptstadtkulturfonds

18:30 introduction
with Cong Su, Michael Schindhelm and Chen Shi-Zheng
moderation · Matthias Osterwold

Subject of the libretto is the poetry of Chinese lyric poet Gu Cheng, one of the most outstanding Chinese poets of his generation. His childhood was determined by the Mao Cultural Revolution, his adolescence by the short thaw period following Mao’s death, his later life by exile and alienation. As a young man, Cheng travelled from Beijing to New Zealand and Europe, spent a whole year in Berlin on invitation of DAAD, created an existentialist-Taoist work in which his personal quest for identity and a modern consciousness are being reflected on the border between cultural and chronological eras.

The quest becomes the subject of the libretto, employing various poems from the cycles Mercury Light Worlds and Advent of the Spirits/Spirits on Their Way to the City. The central focus of the plot revolves aound a person found unconscious in a Berlin street, who, when coming to realizes to have lost all sense of identity. Nobody knows who this person is. Police, public and diplomatic investigations yield no results. Without an identity but with an awareness of foreign origins, the protagonist is headed for a dramatic self-questioning.

Cong Su does not compose an opera for instrumental ensemble but creates a computer-generated sound image by merging music and nature sounds.