between entertainment and awareness -…

The Vienna State Opera’s youth program presents “The Start Up​”, a free adaptation of Wozzeck de Berg, addressing the modernity of the themes of this work (in particular femicide).

the startfree adaptation according to Wozzeck in the form of musical theater by the program Disclosure for children and young people (launched by director Bogdan Rošcić and entrusted to Krysztina Winkel), aims to make young people aware of the real problems of contemporary society, including in particular burnout and femicide. The injustice-filled martial world in Wozzeck is designed on a start-up where stressed and rushed employees are exploited and overworked. The various locations of the drama take place in the conference room of Anker-Brotfabrik (former bread factory in the 10th district) in the middle of the stage (with a bar on the left, and sometimes a beauty salon with space musicians in the distance on the right. ). “As there is no stage in the classical sense, explains Krysztina Winkel at the end of the show, we want to allow as many possibilities of space use as possible. It is also up to the singers to use the available space and the different spaces represented. » The young singers thus work intensively from creation to performance, from November (start of recruitment) to June, having to constantly adapt to this adaptation, by definition evolving, to the latest developments of the work, like artistic collaborator Katharina Augendopler: “You need a lot of confidence in this process. We work with impulses and themes of Wozzeck, and change constantly to develop the show, before a formal dramaturgy of the show is fixed. »

Franziska Busse, Banan Sakbani, Igor Getmann, Helena Cernajsek – The Start Up (© Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn)

At the beginning of the show, the seventeen singers circulate around the room communicating their pains and concerns at work. The key clicks contribute to the rhythm, and the voice distribution alternates pleasantly between a round resonance and a penetrating dynamic, broken at times by the highs that border on screams. The increasing speed of the movements reveals their nervousness and predicts conflicts and the moral collapse of the characters, including the central figures, within the drama. Johannes Pietsch (Mr. Frisch) disembodies in video the distant figure of the company’s founder who is constantly on vacation. His privileged status shields him from the concerns of his young employees. The innocence and purity of his timbre and the melodicity of his singing form an interesting contrast to the spicy and humorous nature of his character.

Anastasija Stojanovic & Sebastian Waltersdorfer – The Start Up (© Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn)

Sebastian Waltersdorfer (Julian) offers, on the one hand, a velvety and pure timbre, and on the other, an explosive and threatening energy in his rage: a Wozzeck source. Anastasija Stojanovic (Maria, later a victim of Julian’s domestic abuse) shows a lot of potential in the strength and resonance of her voice, as well as her dramatic involvement. Maryam Tahon (Bar Singer) is an attractive stage presence with a thick, warm voice that matches jazz. Anastasiia Lukianchuk (the head of the salon) enhances her stage presence through richly nuanced vocal expressiveness (reflecting her inner protest at becoming, against her will, her peers’ therapist). The rest of the ensemble sustains the scenic dynamics, deftly alternating between different musical genres (neoclassical, pop-jazz, band, among others), between collective uniformity of singing, dialogue and declamation. These little “shocks” constantly revive the excitement on stage, drawing the spectators’ attention with every change in dynamics and tension.

Helena Cernajsek, Maryam Tahon – The Start Up (© Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn)

The musical direction of Andy Icochea Icochea manages to present the different musical styles in a sewn and enthusiastic way. The low brass register effectively acts as the backbone of the sonic mass, finding its balance in the balanced resonance of the strings. The percussion swings the music into modernity with sounds that are undoubtedly familiar to young audiences.

Anastasiia Lukianchuk (centre) – The Start Up (© Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn)

The final chorus, which culminates in a series of clear and passionate declamations about femicide, gives a form of conclusion to the drama and acts as a concrete awareness for the young audience. The Ôlyrix correspondent in Buenos Aires recalled, on the occasion of a production of Pagliacci, the scourge represented by these crimes in Argentina, this exhibition also reminds us how essential awareness-raising actions are in Europe (in Austria, 31 women were victims of this in 2021 and already 13 in 2022). This data is announced as a warning: “We hope that the show arouses the critical reflection of the young audience on femicide, but also on the system of society and the way of living together, as in friendship and relationships. Of course, reflection on music is also encouraged. In the end, the show is an experience, concludes Krysztina Winkel. A purpose attested by the serious and enthusiastic reaction of the young audience.

A Start Up (© Wiener Staatsoper / Michael Pöhn)

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