Spuren der Verirrten

Spuren der Verirrten (The Lost) is described on the box as an opera by Philip Glass.  That’s pretty misleading.  It’s more a theatre piece/ballet by David Pountney and Amin Hosseinpour with a soundtrack by Philip Glass.  It was created for the opening of the new Landestheater Linz at the instigation of Artistic Director Rainer Mennicken (carefully trimmed beard, wire rimmed glasses) who wanted a piece that would encapsulate all the various theatrical forms the new building would stage, as well as show off its technical capabilities.  Mennicken also wrote the “libretto” based on a highly abstract play by Peter Handke which seems to deal with the hopelessness of the human condition in some sort of post apocalyptic world.  There’s no plot as such and the work unfolds in a series of scenes.  For example there’s a ballerina point shoeing across the stage followed by a “spectator” in the auditorium commenting on the action followed by dancers with roadsigns followed by a Gumby like couple sitting under a table followed by more narration.  Then come more dancers in Hosseinpour’s signature “jerky” style followed by a woman with an anti-nuclear sign having a row with her boyfriend in front of a giant green brain.  And that’s just the first ten minutes of a piece that goes on for nearly two hours.  Along the way we get a reality TV show in which the characters discuss whether a serial killer is worse than a goalkeeper who lets in a soft goal, a confrontation between the patriarch Abraham and a giant rabbit and a scene where a naked woman cuddles a human head while two dancers do the fish slapping dance around her.  The piece concludes with the orchestra on stage and the chorus in the pit miming playing instruments and singing “blah, blah, blah” which actually fits the music pretty well.

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