Press Reviews

Press Reviews of the first Performance on April 11, 2004
back    The evening as a whole develops an atmosphere in which it becomes apparent that in the course of their work, eighteen participants have turned into a team. Precisely for these young people involved in theater, the experience acquired here should prove invaluable. The fact that an institution, in this case the Staatsoper Stuttgart, would even permit itself an experimental forum like this cannot be praised highly enough.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung

These are glimpses into the workshop. Together with Sciarrino’s one-act opera Infinito nero (1998), the Forum Neues Musiktheater showed eight more projects in the Römerkastell. The result was an evening lasting nearly three hours that had the character of a workshop, a preliminary summary of the work. (...) On the whole, quite thrilling. One work that stood out was Sciarrino’s Vanitas (1981), a 'still life in one act' staged by Michael von zur Mühlen as a brilliant study of transience – a woman alone, applying makeup behind a Plexiglas wall. Piano and cello celebrate beautiful and bizarre sonic encounters, while Rosemara Ribeiro sings fragments of a delicate jazz ballad that seems to drift on a breeze.
Südwest Presse

The visions of the sixteenth-century mystic Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi, whose fragments, handed down orally, have been arranged by the Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino as an “ecstasy” in one act for mezzo-soprano and eight instruments, are the basis of this evening of music theater on being and death, body and transcendence. (...) And Sarah Maria Sun plays the protagonist with great presence and soft-spoken and insistent articulation.
Cannstatter Zeitung

Like Infinito nero, based on textual fragments of the mystic (or schizophrenic ?) Maria Maddalena de' Pazzi (delicately sung by Sarah Maria Sun), Sciarrino’s Vanitas for voice, cello, and piano is a musical celebration of silence, a continuum of sounds, rhythms, and musical notes that appear to be natural phenomena, unfolding in a constantly changing series of combinations.
Stuttgarter Zeitung

One must not picture work at the “Forum” like work at an ordinary opera house, where the project is clearly defined and the labor clearly divided. Instead, a diverse group of young theater people came together—directors, set designers, composers, and musicians—knowing only that they were going to collaborate on Infinito nero. (...) However, the most beautiful contribution is a video by Anja Kleinmichel, Achim Naumann, and Michael von zur Mühlen on Sciarrino’s piano piece Perduto in una città d'acque.
Badische Zeitung

Noteworthy: Michael von zur Mühlen’s Vanitas, set in a transparent photographic laboratory with the outstanding mezzo-soprano Rosemara Ribeiro.
Rheinischer Merkur

The fact that a director like Joachim Schlömer has not attempted to create a 'finished product' of the kind that is familiar from the conventional theater world - and he found it difficult not to do so, as he admits – is surely remarkable. The door is left open for changes and discussions. The Forum Neues Musiktheater could hardly do a better job of documenting its work.
DeutschlandRadio Berlin - Musikthema

(…) Sciarrino’s music takes up these signals and impulses. It acts as a highly sensitive electronic instrument that registers every expression of the psyche: the rhythm of breathing and the heart’s pounding pierce the silence; the music unfolds through barely audible noises, sets tersely formulated sonic particles, and seems, with its sounds, to be ceaselessly listening into the person of Maria Maddalena, intent on illuminating the uncanny darkness of a mysterious soul. However, precisely this deliberate reduction creates a tremendous tension. The music seems to draw the listener along with it imperceptibly on its expedition into the central character’s soul. It radiates great emotional power, precisely in its unremitting drive toward silence.
Neue Musikzeitung