Five Movements

by Marc André, Régis Campos
Performed: - Frankfurt, Germany, Jun 23 - Jul 01, 2001

I directed two of the Five Movements for the Opera Frankfurt, the result of a composition competition. From many submissions five nominees were given a full production of their fifteen-minutes pieces. Mine were “Das O” by Marc André and “Nonsense Opera” by Régis Campos. The clip is from “Das O”, the photos from “Nonsense Opera”.

“Das O” was a meditation on Ingmar Bergman’s movie The Seventh Seal, using the text of the apocalypse both in German and in Swedish. No live singers, one mime, creating a self-imposed game of stepping stones over a vast empty space, a take on the chess game the errant knight in the movie plays with the grim reaper. Life is a vast bleak space, and we are errant knights all, trying to find sense and structure, but the challenge of doing so is on us. Nobody will ever give us answers and/or solace. Check out the clip:

“Nonsense Opera” was much more lighthearted and more clearly directed at the genre of opera. Three singers, soprano, tenor and bass, find themselves stuck not only in a loop of a traditional operatic story, but also stuck in the confines of their character clichés. Created for singers and their characters as puppets, “Nonsense Opera” pokes fun at the constraining limitations such a highly artificial genre requires. See the images below.


„"Das O" is based on chapter eight and twenty-two of the Revelation of St.John. They are read in whispers, in Swedish: an allusion to Ingmar Bergman’s film The Seventh Seal from 1956. In addition the four women whisper “A” and “O” from chapter 22, verse 13, Johannes Debus coordinates these acoustic events diligently. The composer is interested “the deep crisis of knowledge” in our day. Katrin Hilbe’s direction translates this impressively in a playful fashion: building blocks are strewn about the stage, becoming part of a game the protagonist doesn’t know. After some futile attempts he descends into despair, and has to witness how a woman with a sleepwalker’s assurance carries them one by one to their rightful place.”
Andreas Hauff, Frankfurter Rundschau