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ipar1306 Offline

Posts: 122

Wed Jun 29, 2016 8:54 am
#31 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Another observation here, following on from some early remarks Thomas made, referring to Wieland Wagner's productions in Bayreuth. In this case, I draw a parallel between Lydia Steier's production of DONNERSTAG aus LICHT and Patrice Chereau's production of the Ring in 1976-1980. Initially Chereau's production was seen to be a terrible travesty, and totally contrary to what Wagner had written. It was seen to deny all the mythological elements of the music. But in time people saw it differently - that it in fact provided a different perspective on the mythology, and on the score, and told not a different story, but the same story in a new language. Still many did not like it, but it has now I think become accepted as a valid and certainly extremely effective staging. I see Lydia's production in a similar light, except for two important things: first, that Chereau's production came 100 years after the premiere, by which time the Ring was well known everywhere (and of course especially in Bayreuth), whereas DONNERSTAG aus LICHT is still new and known only by a few people, and so there is less knowledge of the 'original' against which audiences can view Lydia's approach and ideas; and, second, that the relationship between staging and music is, I think, very different in Stockhausen than in Wagner. For Wagner, the music was the expression of the drama, whereas in Stockhausen it is the other other way around: the staging is an expression of the music, and so this means that changes to the staging are, in a sense, also changes to music. It therefore becomes a matter of deciding when a new staging crosses the line from being a new but still valid musical interpretation and instead becomes, in effect, actually different music. I personally think that that line is drawn more broadly and freely than many others think, but it is a line nonetheless - and it was a line that Chereau's did not need to consider in the same way. For him, he just had to create a drama that was still expressed by the music. Lydia had to create a drama that still expressed the music.


Ulrich Offline

Posts: 145

Wed Jun 29, 2016 9:31 am
#32 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Ian, thank you for this (for me) illuminating contribution! I think, one has to differenciate in respect to Steier's production. There is one thing, that is simply impossible, and that is the staging of MONDEVA - it neglects not only the music but also the basic content of the scene. The other general decision is, to identify Michael completely with Stockhausen himself - that is part of the composition in KINDHEIT, but it is not the whole truth. Early critics wrote, that by this Stockhausen made himself to a Jesus, a saviour - but if you see the original intention of the composition, that is less than half-truth, for Stockhausen answered, that everybody has in him a part of Michael, and he in KINDHEIT just took his own childhood, because he knew that best, to tell the childhood of Michael. But in this respect there are certainly some traits in DONNERSTAG that seem to legitimate the staging in Basel. But: By this you simplify the story totally, you neglect the depth of the universal themes Michael stands for, and you are not aware of the essential connections to the week, the whole cycle, that in the composition is present in every scene - but in the actual staging you did not get the faintest idea of that. And that, as you put it, damages the music. What gets lost is simply the glamour of this universal perspectives that are in it. Reduction - simplification, definitely not a good result. And in that we do not talk about these ideas of applying the psychiatric clinic to Michael... Even the noble FAZ-newspaper stated, when the composer is here shown as a madman, that goes a bit too far.


Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:09 am
#33 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Good morning,

A few other questions ?
If Stockhausen=Michael, is it not possible to joke or to make a caricature of such a pretention ? I worked and I know very well Pike, he is not stupid...Maybe Karlheinz himself joked also about this possible interpretation ?
If Michael is a universal energy that works in everybody ? What a catholic, a jewish, a buddhist, an hindou, an african, a muslim, does with that ? For example, for a muslim, in some versions, it is Michael and Gabriel together who brought Mohamed to the highiest point in Heaven, durind his Miraj (ascension ). These two archangels were guiding a white fantastic animal, Al Bouraq, on which Mohamed was sitting, and other prophets before him also, says the tradition…
Do we have to believe in that conception of Michael and take this like a Bible to work on Stockhausen pieces ?
Is it not paradoxal in a period where extremism, fanatism are killing people, that other artists or specialists might fall is this trap ?
Are we not in a period of a necessary dialogue between religions ?
Are we going to bring the people together by a so particular point of vue ?
Is the adoration of Michael a new religion ? Like Raël does for example , because he has also his own new sign, his own cross, his own way of dressing ?
It is not better to give the chance to discover these fantastic pieces to a great number of people, even the realisation is not perfect ?

When I read this : Wouldn't Kathinka and Suzee and/or the Stockhausen Stiftung as owner of the rights have had the possibility to stop this? …
I am really afraid…and it reminds me this beautiful poetry of Théodore de Banville, and this morning, I imagine Karlheinz…escaping by his fantastic jumps, like this clown, from …épiciers, notaires, boursiers à lunettes d’or, critiques, demoiselles…

Le saut du tremplin

Clown admirable, en vérité !
Je crois que la postérité,
Dont sans cesse l'horizon bouge,
Le reverra, sa plaie au flanc.
Il était barbouillé de blanc,
De jaune, de vert et de rouge.

Même jusqu'à Madagascar
Son nom était parvenu, car
C'était selon tous les principes
Qu'après les cercles de papier,
Sans jamais les estropier
Il traversait le rond des pipes.

De la pesanteur affranchi,
Sans y voir clair il eût franchi
Les escaliers de Piranèse.
La lumière qui le frappait
Faisait resplendir son toupet
Comme un brasier dans la fournaise.

Il s'élevait à des hauteurs
Telles, que les autres sauteurs
Se consumaient en luttes vaines.
Ils le trouvaient décourageant,
Et murmuraient : " Quel vif-argent
Ce démon a-t-il dans les veines ? "

Tout le peuple criait : " Bravo! "
Mais lui, par un effort nouveau,
Semblait roidir sa jambe nue,
Et, sans que l'on sût avec qui,
Cet émule de la Saqui
Parlait bas en langue inconnue.

C'était avec son cher tremplin.
Il lui disait : " Théâtre, plein
D'inspiration fantastique,
Tremplin qui tressailles d'émoi
Quand je prends un élan, fais-moi
Bondir plus haut, planche élastique !

" Frêle machine aux reins puissants,
Fais-moi bondir, moi qui me sens
Plus agile que les panthères,
Si haut que je ne puisse voir,
Avec leur cruel habit noir
Ces épiciers et ces notaires !

" Par quelque prodige pompeux
Fais-moi monter, si tu le peux,
Jusqu'à ces sommets où, sans règles,
Embrouillant les cheveux vermeils
Des planètes et des soleils,
Se croisent la foudre et les aigles.

Jusqu'à ces éthers pleins de bruit,
Où, mêlant dans l'affreuse nuit
Leurs haleines exténuées,
Les autans ivres de courroux
Dorment, échevelés et fous,
Sur les seins pâles des nuées.

" Plus haut encor, jusqu'au ciel pur !
Jusqu'à ce lapis dont l'azur
Couvre notre prison mouvante !
Jusqu'à ces rouges Orients
Où marchent des Dieux flamboyants,
Fous de colère et d'épouvante.

" Plus loin ! plus haut ! je vois encor
Des boursiers à lunettes d'or,
Des critiques, des demoiselles
Et des réalistes en feu.
Plus haut ! plus loin ! de l'air ! du bleu !
Des ailes ! des ailes ! des ailes ! "

Enfin, de son vil échafaud,
Le clown sauta si haut, si haut
Qu'il creva le plafond de toiles
Au son du cor et du tambour,
Et, le coeur dévoré d'amour,
Alla rouler dans les étoiles.



Adorján F Offline

Posts: 22

Wed Jun 29, 2016 12:27 pm
#34 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Dear Thomas, I just read the article of Lotte Thaler in the FAZ (which by the way is not noble any more) and shook my head. It is one of those quickly written reviews... She mixes things she read in the program booklet (EXAMEN as qualifiying examination for a conservatory) but were not shown in the production, and things she misunderstood in the staging (MICHAEL is shown as a traumatized man but not a lunatic - if Thaler would know "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest", then she would know that McMurphy [Jack Nicholson] is NOT lunatic but forced into a psychiatry where he helps other oppressed human beings to free themselves - therefore the conclusion of Thaler you quoted is absolutely POINTLESS).
Besides, every review praises the second tenor of Act Three, no one the first tenor of Act One... Was Tantsits so bad?
Finally I must say that I am shocked by demands for juridical actions! I never doubted in my comments that Stockhausen´s intentions were missed but I tried to understand what the director wanted to express. And this freedom of expression is something which must be defended: even if the result is absurd or wrong. My parents come from a land where culture was oppressed by people who "knew" the "truth" and artists were put into jail because they made a "wrong" interpretation. No, the answers to a "failed" or "wrong" production (and I do not think that Steier´s staging was a catastrophe) must be constructive criticism and - above all - another production with other emphases.

Bernard Pulham Offline

Posts: 6

Wed Jun 29, 2016 1:46 pm
#35 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

With the text intact and visible with clear surtitles (in two languages), and changes in the story visible as a parallel to/ commentary on/ interpretation of, Stockhausen's original conception, I can NOT accept that the Basel production of Donnerstag aus Licht was misleading to Stockhausen's opera. The freedom for big creative decisions in opera production is a long accepted necessity of the Opera production process, and all involved at Basel have made considerate and enormous contributions that led to revelatory performances. Complementary artistic contributions.

To justify my confidence I must acknowledge that the work's theme of multi-Incarnation of Eternal spirits, was indeed present, in everything I saw and heard. Even if Michael's Heimkehr was dramatically presented as earthbound, rather than celestial, I did NOT feel that change because from the wonderful opening chord of Act 3 in Basel with Eva's beautifully sung MI-CHA-EL the 'belief' of every character on stage was overwhelming and undeniable, and we were thus taken to an eternal realm. The notions of heaven and earth are totally preserved in the text, in the spirits seemingly incarnate in every performer, and also in Stockhausen's composition from musical sound. All of this experience takes prominence over the dramatic rationalisation in the production. We have to allow that extra layer of dramatic interpretation in the theatre, because of our complete confidence in the music, and our freedom to think freely. A zealous fear of interpretation only leads to a reality of censorship in the arts, where purists recommend limiting access for many.. All those moved by Stockhausen's music are entitled to work towards a living performance in the theatre ( and all future, novel or more authentic, stagings too).

I agree that problems occur in adding new drama to scenes such as Mondeva, expecially where the appearance of the bassethorn player Eva is delayed until after the extra commentary (on female experience and injury) is shown. The director could easily have revealed Mondeva-Bassetthornist, centrally and simultaneously with this new multi-person visualisation. So I am not unaware of the failings of specific moments, of the staging in Basel, but I am fortunate to have the original synopsis in my own memory to compensate from what is left out on stage.

There is a place for CD listening, with headphones, with no possibility of variation and distractions ( including stage noises!) That solo listening gives a special direct link with the composer, It requires no social gathering, no dialogue and no risk, but surely it is not enough.
When music is as wonderful as Donnerstag aus LIcht, it is possible, and I believe advisable, to go further, with optimism in the dedicated performers., To experience the performance anew. To be fearless,


Bernard Pulham

Christian Offline

Posts: 123

Wed Jun 29, 2016 2:28 pm
#36 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Oh, I don't call for any juridical actions. I don't want anyone to be sued and the freedom of art is of course always to be defended. But there is a difference between censorship and the defence of a work's integral character.
What I only wanted to know is that: If it's true that Kathinka considered this interpretation as terrible (if I understood her right, that was the case) why didn't she or anyone else try to convince Mrs. Steier to give another direction to the opera? Maybe she did but perhaps it was in vain. Once again: When I met Kathinka in fall in Munich she already seemed to be unhappy about the ideas in Basel, and I ask myself whether at that time it wouldn't have been possible to avoid the worst. That makes me ask what were the legal possibilities to have an influence on the interpretation. Were there any? I don't know and that's why I ask.

ipar1306 Offline

Posts: 122

Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:24 pm
#37 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Thank you Thomas again for your reply and thank you again to all for such thoughtful contributions. It seems to me that many of us look for and treasure the same, or similar, things in our experiences of this piece, even though we may find it in different ways and see it in different forms. It seems to me that all of us want to be touched by the universal themes of Stockhausen's work - and some of us saw them in this production and some of us did not. I really did see Michael here as universal being ... told throug the story of one man, and made universal in part (I thought) by the sensitivity and humanity of the staging, which made his struggle with brutality and loss, and his search for love and resolution, something we could all identify with; but largely it was, I think made universal by the music of Stockhausen. Those mighty choral chords that welcome Michael home at the beginning of HEIMKEHR, to quote Bernard's example, make us experience something great in even the most banal and perverse production. As you know, I did not see this production as banal and perverse, nor as a trivialising or simplifying of the story, but one that transferred its deeply spiritual message to the tangible everyday life of struggling humans. This is the universality of Stockhausen's work, that it can touch us just as profoundly at all or any of these levels. But still I find myself longing for a production in which creativity as energetic, engaging and poetic as that of Lydia Steier's is nevertheless rooted in a total and unshakeable respect for everything written in the score.

Adorján F Offline

Posts: 22

Wed Jun 29, 2016 6:26 pm
#38 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Christian, thank you for clarifying this. I do not know what Kathinka Pasveer thinks now, after the two presentations, but she admitted that much thinking went into the production.
I surfed in the net and found this early statement by Lydia Staier which confirms my impression that she is somebody who is sincere and comparatively conservative: "Etwas Pompöses auf die Bühne zu stellen, zählte zu den Grundgedanken. Da verlässt die 34-Jährige [...] die Linie eines ihrer Regie-Lehrmeister, Calixto Bieito. Sie erheischt nicht mit Provokationen Aufsehen: »Ich fühle mich nicht gezwungen, Leute zu beleidigen.« Sie könne Geschichten und Anliegen besser vermitteln, wenn das Publikum mitgehe, statt sich irritiert zu verschließen." I don´t want to know what e. g. Christof Schlingensief or Frank Castorf would have made with DONNERSTAG. Unimaginable.

Christian Offline

Posts: 123

Wed Jun 29, 2016 10:02 pm
#39 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

Perhaps we would have been surprised if Schliengensief had directed LICHT....! I don't dare to imagine what would happen in MONTAG directed this way - would we see Eva in an abortion clinic?
But I wanted to tell that Kathinka wrote me directly and explained that she tried to discuss and to change some things which in some cases was accepted by Mrs. Steier and in other cases it was not. It was a process of give and take, Kathinka wrote, and she didn't want to risk the huge effort of the musicians what I can understand. I answered to her that perhaps in contracts to come it might be possible to have some clauses in order to avoid all which contradicts the "geistlich-geistiger" character of LICHT - of course I don't know whether that would work.

Sven ( Guest )

Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:22 pm
#40 RE: DONNERSTAG aus LICHT in Basel June 2016 reply

As many members in this forum do not know me, please allow to briefly introduce myself: I am Sven from Berlin and I would like to add some words from the perspective of a passionate music lover:

I have followed the above discussion as well as several postings on Facebook, and if I see it correctly, the discussion takes place on two different layers:

(1) The first layer is about the question: What exactly ist he work of art („das Werk“)? Where does it end, and where does the freedom of an interpreter start?
And, depending on how you answer this question: To what extent have Stockhausen’s instructions tob e regarded as binding and unalterable?

(2) The second layer is: how to eveluate the quality of Lydia Steier’s interpretation in Basel?

Personally, I am not 100% sure about either oft he two above mentioned points, and I hope to obtain further input/ clarifications from the other participants in this discussion.

ad (1):
I am reading a lot about if or if not the staging would be in accordance with what Stockhausen wanted to see on stage, or if it at least would express Stockhausen’s intentions.
Now, when I read such formulations, a question comes to my mind, which some oft he readers might perceive as blasphemic or arrogant, or maybe even luciferian, but I can only assure you that I do not mean it that way. The question is: is an interpreter bound to what Stockhausen wanted to express, and if so: to what extent?
I regard this as a general (art-) philosophical question, and I understand that the different opinions about this question mark the line between „traditional“ productions on the one hand and „director’s theatre“ („Regietheater“) on the other hand.

Now, Lydia Steier’s interpretation can undoubtedly be classed among director’s theatre productions. And I do know that Stockhausen did not want to have his operas staged in a director’s theater manner. The question is: is it legitimate anyhow to stage them this way? From a different angle, you could as well ask: is it allowed to disregard Stochausen’s clear instructions?

My general response to this would be: yes and no. I believe there is a (maybe very thin) line between what should be allowed and what not.

In the case of other composers, the question is easier to answer: let us take the example of Mozart’s and da Ponte’s operas: Mozart wrote the music. Full stop. Da Ponte wrote the libretti with only few stage directions. Nearly everybody would agree today that the stage directions of da Ponte are not so essential for the ultimate work („the opera“) that a stage director hast o follow them word by word.
In case of e.g. Wagner, the question becomes more complicated: Wagner wrote both the libretto and the music. And he had very precise ideas of how his dramas should be put on stage. His stage directions were far more extensive and detailed than the ones of any other composer before. So does this make a difference in respect oft he question to what extent directors must follow his instructions?
History has decided by answering the question with „no“. Why is that?

I believe the main reason is that today’s stage director’s pay contibution to the fact that a work of art is not „cast in stone“, but the longer it lives, the more it changes. Of course the music score as such does not change, but the way the work is perceived by the audience, and by that, the work of art itself changes ist meaning. Today’s audience could never understand, even if they tried hard to do so, what exactly Wagner had in mind when he wrote the text and the music.
The consequence is that the work as such is subjected to change. Wagner’s operas in the 1940’s in Bayreuth had a different meaning than 1976 in Chéreau’s interpretation, and no, absolutely no interpretation could ever have expressed exactly Wagner’s intentions.

So is that good or bad?
I think it is neither. It only shows that it is an illusion that one may ever hope to see a work staged exactly in the way the authors had in mind., and that time will naturally bring further changes.

So what does this say about interpretations of Stockhausen’s operas?
I believe: even if one tried hard, there will never be a way that the production team of an opera can be sure to meet Stockhausen’s intentions.
But should today’s stage director’s at least try to express Stockhausen’s intentions by following his (very) detailed instructions?

The key to this question, according to my opinion, can be found when asking what it ist hat makes Stockhausen’s instructions different from the instructions other composers gave for their works.

My understanding ist hat Stockhausen – other than all composers before him – regarded his instrcutions regarding colours, forms, scents, stage, movements, gestures etc. as essential part oft he music itself.
So if we take this as a basis fort he following thoughts, than no deviations whatsoever from Stockhausen’s intructions would be possible, because it is a common understanding today that „whatever you do on stage“, the music must remain untouched.

This being said, I would like to –or better: I feel urged to – address another question which might seem blasphemic or luciferian, but is - promise! - not intened this way:
Is it actually true that you cannot deviate from Stockhausen’s instructions without changing his work and missing the essence of the work?

This question leads inevitably to a further question: what is actually „the work“? Is „the work“
(a) = the opera which Stockhausen had in mind? OR:
(b) = what the audience sees, hears, smells – experiences?

The differentiation might seem very theoratical, but if we take a closer look, it is not:

In answer (a), the opera as written on paper by Stockhausen is the finished and complete work. From that angle, every performance is merely a reproduction oft he work.
In answer (b) however, the work comes into being only through a performance, i.e. the work includes both the score AND the way it is being performed.

The pratical consequence of this differentiation is immense:
When following answer (a), the work remains in the ownership of the composer. as consequence, all performances which claim to present „the work“ need to express the composer’s intentions – or at least try, as this will never be 100% possible (s. above).
When following answer (b), the music, once it has been written down, becomes so to say, „common property“, with the consequence that interpreters might or might not feel bound to follow the composer’s instructions.

I think it is not possible to answer this question once and for all. Personally, I tend to answer (b). The reasoon ist hat I see an essential difference between music and e.g. a painting.:
A paiting, once the painter has finished it, stands for itself. You can hang it on a wall, and it will remain unchanged (disregarding the change it undergoes through the process of natural ageing). A piece of music however comes to live and finds ist destination only when actually being performed. This is why I believe that the performance is an essential part oft he work itself.

Keeping this in mind, I would like to forge a bridge back to the discussion further above by asking: Which directions in Stockhausen’s scores are (and should remain) untouchable and which can be left to the production team’s discretion?

What I have understood from the discussion is that the staging in Basel in some scenes had the effect that the music itself was effected by that in a way that the music ultimately sounded differently then it is written in the score. I would agree that this must not happen.

But what about all those instructions by Stockhausen, which do not effect the music (understood in the „common“ sense, i.e. „the notes“)?
I have to admit: I am not sure about this part, and I would like to hear more about this from you: are all gestures strictly tob e followed? If not: which are essential, which not?
Same question for colours, movements etc.

Whatever the answers may be: I personally think there must be a certain balance between Stockhausen’s instructions and the liberty of the people who bring the work to life by performing it, and, fort he reasons mentioned above , I believe this „borderline“ does not necessarily have to be 100% in line with Stockhausen’s own instructions.

Let me now proceed with:

Ad (2) :
How to eveluate the quality of Lydia Steier’s interpretation in Basel?

Obviously, the question arises only for those who, as I do, acknowledge a certain independence of the stage director from Stockhausen’s instructions. If you do not acknnowledge such independence, then it is only logic that you are against any such director’s theatre staging in principle.

But for those who are still willing to follow my argumentation, please let me share some thoughts:

During the GRUSS, the room was illuminated in red, which according to Stockhausen is one of LUZIFER’s colours. Does that make sense on a symbolical level? No, I do not think so. And I assume the production team did no have any of Stockhausen’s symbolsim in mind here. I could give dozens of other examples, and others in this forum have already commented on many of them. Now, the question is: ist hat good or bad?

Again, I am not sure.
Thomas Ulrich has highlighted above that the production miss the central point of the work, meaning the religious dimension. It is certainly true that the production has done everything to „suppress“ this point. Ans I have to admit that, having seen a production of DONNERSTAG fort he first time in my life, I would rather have appreciated a production which would have focussed on the spiritual essence oft he opera.
On the other hand, putting my personal view on the opera aside, I ask myself: should it not be permitted to show LICHT or parts of it, in a way which is different from Stockhausen’s own intentions?

Of course, this question ties in with the above question „what ist he work?“. In order to put a further focus on this: can anybody actually say what is the true essence of DONNERSTAG? Please do not misunderstand me: it is certainly not my intention to disrespect all the people here in this forum who have worked initmately with Stockhausen or have done very valuable research on his music! My question is really meant to be an open question of an enthusiastic Stockhausen „amateur“.
Where I am coming from when I ask such question is: I have experienced many performances of operas by early baroque composers to contemporary composers, and some oft he most amazing performances were those which did certainly not take into account the view oft he composer (be that view knwon to today’s stage directors or not).
So why should it not be allowed for a today’s stage director to neglect the intention oft he composer – and at the same time find something new and unexpected in the opera?

The way that DONNERSTAG was narrated in Basel was certainly very different from Stockhausen’s understanding of his opera. But does this fact alone make the production a bad thing?
At least I, and many other people I have spoken to, have perceived the staging as enourmously exciting and touching, with all the weaknesses it certainly has. And I do not think that we have seen a „parody“. When reading Lydia Steier’s comments in the programme, and also having in mind her excellent staging of Händel’s „Giulio Cesare“ at Komische oper Berlin, I think that she has a very serious, conscious and deliberate approach to the operas she is putting on stage. The way I perceive it, she also did not want to provoke anybody, but rather tried to cast a different light on the opera, open a new space for interpretation.

That does not mean however that I was absolutely happy with the staging. I have two main concerns:
(i) The story which she tells is immature. The whole story is develloped so to say „from the first act“. It seems she wanted to narrate a consistent story through three acts. But the opera is not structured in that that way. It has been said before that the first act is so to say a chamber opera, the second act a trunmpet concerto, and the last act similar to an oratorio. To force these three types of music into a single consistent story progressive story just does not work, and it levels out the variety oft he musical styles. Which brings me to my next main concern:
(ii) The narrative style has the consequence that several of the most intersting scenes as far as the music is concerned, are being „sacrificed“. Thomas Ulrich and others have given examples already, like the duet between trumpet and bass, the swallows couple and MISSION in MICHAEL’s REISE. You just cannot neglect/sacrifice these scenes only in ordert o tell your own story. The music is so strong that you – if you do not feel bound to Stockhausen’s instructions – at least have to find a different way to present the music in a way that makes sense from a musical side, too.

So my personal bottom line is:
• I do believe that in priciple, a stage director is not 100% bound to all of Stockhausen’s many detailed directions. But I am sincerley keen to learn more about what makes Stockhausen’s stage directions different from the stage directions of other composers and librettistst in ordert o be in a better position to make up my mind about this.
• From my perspective, the stage direction was not bad in principle, in partiuclar it was very strong from the emotional perspective, but it contained several strong mistakes as far as the narrative style and the negligence of music is concerned.

Please allow two closing remarks:

(I) It might be worthwhile to consider what has been said in some media reviews: maybe this new way of performing Stockhausen will encourage other theaters to overcome their reservations against LICHT. I have to admit I feel a certain dsicomfort about his idea, because I would not like the idea that any brute director works off his personal traumas by using Stockhausen’s operas. On the other hand I believe that the risk shoud be taken, because what is the alternative: on the one hand the option that the opera houses mostly continue to disregard LICHT. On the other hand the risk that e.g. three of ten future productions might be awful. But then at least you might have seven wonderful productions! And e.g one wonderful production per year to me seems a lot more attractive than one production in 30 years.

(II) When Alain Louafi mentioned the term „fool“ above, this reminded me of the story of Parsifal: it took a genuine pure fool to discover the secret oft he holy grail and to save the knights.
Now, I do not want to say that Mrs Steier is a fool, nor do I want to say that any idiot should stage LICHT. My point is rather: it might be positive and eye-opening to cast a new, fresh view on LICHT. Then you might not find what you have been looking for, but you might get rewarded by unexpeted insights.


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I feel that it could be useful to have a discussion-forum on the music of Stockhausen. There are so many people from all over the world, young and old, learned and eager to get into contact with this musical world: musicologists, composers, musicians, music lovers; people who plan concerts - who write books or have to give lectures and so on. So there should be much stuff, many ideas that we can share. And when we have open questions, there may be people who studied just that and could give a hint or a stimulus. A problem might be the English language, but i feel that is the only possibility that many people who are interested can participate. And we can exercise tolerance to mistakes! Thomas Ulrich
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