Elfriede Jelinek has weighed in on Alexander Pereira’s recent decision to pass over Olga Neuwirth’s The Outcast in favour of Birtwistle’s Gawain at next year’s Salzburg Festival with one of her famous online literary polemics. Titled ‘Erklärung Pereiras’, the essay colours Pereira’s response to Neuwirth’s criticism as the manifestation of a God complex, a (mock?) diagnosis Jelinek puts through the wringer of her convoluted, breathless, and yet somehow always very precisely paced prose style. If I were Pereira I’d have it framed.
On the subject of Jelinek and her online essays, another post well worth checking out is her 1998 piece on Schubert, which in part should be read in the context of this silliness (though she does not address the issue explicitly or take a side). In German is better, but there is also an English translation. ‘Requiem auf einer Oper’, available only in German, deals with the other Neuwirth collaboration for Salzburg (discussed here) that fell through. Her take on Die Fledermaus, penned soon after the far right entered Austria’s governing coalition in 2000, centres on transgression and amnesia, and by rights ought to be reprinted every Christmas in the programme for the Staatsoper’s Schenk production.
A final Jelinek plug: performances of An Ideal Man, ‘übermalt’ by Jelinek, continue at the Burgtheater through December, though the play and Barbara Frey’s largely vacuous production may be lost on those without an interest in Karl-Heinz Grasser and the more sordid aspects of Austrian politics; director Stefan Bachmann is no Nicolas Stemann but has turned in a perceptive and at times profound production of Winterreise, essential viewing for the text alone, at the Akademietheater (two performances remain).