Columns linked to Matthias Goerne

Wozzeck at the Liceu: The Dark Beauty of Horror

Xavier Pujol

In the 18th century there was pain and misery, but art generally displayed the beauty of the world. In the 19th century there was also pain and misery and art showed a part of it. In the 20th century there was a lot of pain and a lot of misery and very often art became unpleasant because the artist felt the need to show the world all the unnecessary pain, the avoidable misery, the great alienation and violence that govern human relationships. For many artists, failing to do this would have...

War Requiem: War as (only) pain and suffering

Xavier Pujol

In 1942 composer Benjamin Britten declared himself a conscientious objector in front of a tribunal. Twenty years later, in 1962, his War Requiem was premiered as part of the commemorations of the inauguration of Coventry cathedral’s reconstruction, which had been destroyed during the German air raids of WWII. The composer, who considered this piece as one of his most important creations, made a requiem without epic character, without exaltation of the heroes fallen in the honour...

An overwhelming Wozzeck in Salzburg

Ilana Walder-Biesanz

There is always something happening in William Kentridge’s staging of Wozzeck. It can be hard to know what to look at—the supernumeraries creeping around in gas masks? The improbably piled-up junk that serves as a set? The charcoal drawings projected as backdrops? The little videos than range from absurd cartoons to scenes of abuse? It almost doesn’t matter. All these elements work together to create a cohesive atmosphere haunted by war and poverty. The production has...