Operetta Research Center
28 April, 2021
Operetta goes online? That’s not exactly news, after more than a year of Corona lockdowns and closed theaters, when there often was little else to do but stream productions. But the Musikalische Komödie in Leipzig is taking things to a different level. They are cooperating, for the first time, with six filmmakers from the Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film München, i.e. the University of Television and Film in Munich. Together, they will undertake a pilot art-film project to give operetta more visibility on YouTube, where a different generation is watching.
The participants will film short works of 2-3 minutes in length in Leipzig, and then edit the results in Munich. Working in two teams, filmmakers Nina Moog, Johanna Seggelke, Paula Tschira, Carlotta Wachotsch, Mila Zhluktenko, and Marie Zrenner have already begun with individual experimental projects. So far, they’ve had a chance to attend rehearsals for Emmerich Kálmán’s Gräfin Mariza and Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd with their cameras.
Once completed, the short films will be available on the Oper Leipzig’s YouTube channel, in a new rubric entitled “Nebenschauschätze,” i.e. “sideshow treasures.”
Prof. Bettina Reitz, President of the HFF München says, “It’s exactly in these times, when art, film, the entire cultural sector can’t present its work through regular channels, that this kind of a collaboration between the HFF München and the Musikalische Komödie in Leipzig is priceless. This cooperation makes visible what we’ve all been missing. The fact that uniting two art forms, such as here with opera and cinema, results in a particularly open and adventurous kind of cooperation shows all the more that artists are coming together and uniting even more than usual. This kind of collaboration demonstrates that together, we are strong and visible!”
The Leipzig company’s chief conductor Stefan Klingele says, “The filmmakers will use this time of crisis as an opportunity to create a new symbiotic relationship between the theatrical and the cinematic. These experimental films will be much more than just representational works and will capture the essence of our theater in a language uniquely cinematic.”
Marie Zrenner, a student at the HFF and one of the project’s directors, says, “This project gives us a completely open and experimental chance to look at the world of the theater, specifically at the Musikalische Komödie, providing new and unusual perspectives that are both refreshing and modern.”
Because of the Corona situation, the grand re-opening of the recently renovated stage of Musikalische Komödie at “Haus Dreilinden” had to be pushed back, once again.
So the premiere of Gräfin Mariza on 8 May 2021 will be streamed. It would be rather cool in the Munich students could turn the whole production into an artistically and youthfully edited film, for later DVD release. Because too often such operetta streams look frighteningly old-fashioned and not like something regular YouTube users would stay tuned to for long.
For more information on the Gräfin Mariza stream, click here.