Saturday, 22 September 2012

Fringe benefits

Given the content and timing of Sven Hartberger’s press conference and the coverage he must have known it would generate, it’s a pity no plug was made for the events taking place this weekend at the ten district’s former Anker factory under the rubric ‘13 – no risk no fun’. Organized by the sirene Operntheater, the retrospective-cum-preview is spread across two long evenings and showcases work from Vienna’s music theatre fringe, much of it highly creative and well worth seeing. Highlights yesterday included the ZOON Musiktheater’s contribution, Das Bupadest Verhör, which involved a Marlene Dietrich figure flinging herself around a room that should probably have been checked for asbestos to the strains of a taped Gestapo interrogation, and Hans Zender’s Cabaret Voltaire for soprano and chamber ensemble, which seemed to owe less to Dadaism than Erwartung, or as my companion put it, a Salome spared and slowly allowed to go nuts. I Funerali dell´Anarchico Serantini, ostensibly to do with the death of Italian anarchist Franco Serantini, saw the men of the PHACE ensemble sat around a table in Agent Smith suits and shades for a clapping and squeaking routine – Clapping Music meets Récitations pour voix seule – about as artistically vibrant as old hat gets.

Tonight’s instalment will probably be the more interesting of the two evenings, not least of all for an actual performance of Récitations pour voix seule originally staged by Oper Unterwegs at a Hütteldorf swimming pool last year (titled here Flaschenpost), and an adaptation of Kafka’s Der Jäger Gracchus with music by Olga Neuwirth. Entry is pay as you wish, the bar and food make Gerstner at the Staatsoper look shabby, and the event is compèred by the worst ventriloquist a shoestring budget could buy. Do go if you can; the full programme is here and the live events start in a couple of hours.

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