Utopia – Musical Chamber Theater for Six Voices and Instrumental Ensemble by Dieter Schnebel

Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik Schwäbisch Gmünd, Germany


Schwäbisch Gmünd’s European Church Music Festival (Festival Europäische Kirchenmusik Schwäbisch Gmünd) frequently focuses on scenic performances within the church space. Dieter Schnebel’s music theater piece Utopien (2008–2013), premiered thanks to a composition commission from the EvS Music Foundation at the Munich Biennale in summer 2014, is now to be performed at the Romanesque Church of St John (Johanniskirche) – once again supported by the EvS Music  Foundation. Director Matthias Rebstock together with stage and costume designer Sabine Hilscher developed a scenic version for the special architectural context of a church space, thereby opening up a new dimension for the reception of this piece of space, tone and movement theater that epitomizes Schnebel’s almost six decades of comprehensive work exploring the possibilities of the human voice.

The work also offers insights into Schnebel’s complex theological and philosophical world of ideas: "This piece is not about particular utopias or even about all of them – that would itself be utopian. It is more about the nature of utopia – as a work of chamber music theater with movable voices and bodies of musicians. So utopia as a musical abstraction that admittedly often, even surprisingly, becomes concrete. Arising as an organizational principle here was the Pauline triad – faith, hope, love – alongside its negative counterpart disbelief/doubt, hopelessness/resignation. Love is per se dialectical." (Dieter Schnebel)


July 17, 2018

Johanniskirche Schwäbisch Gmünd


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