© schultz+schultz Mediengestaltung / Wiener Konzerthaus
20th until 28th January 2018
In his acceptance speech for the Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding for his novel entitled «Compass», the French writer Mathias Énard said the following in March 2017: «It seems that today’s political commentators have forgotten who Europe was. And what Europe means. Europa was a Lebanese princess, who was abducted from a beach in Sidon by a god from the north, who desired her: Zeus. Europa, daughter of King Agenor, who never set foot in our climes; Europa spent her life in the south east Mediterranean between Phoenicia and Crete. Europa is an illegal immigrant, a foreigner, one of the spoils of war. Her story is the story of the Mediterranean, a story of desire and conquest. We can learn a lot from this metaphor of Europe’s history.»
It is true: the ancient myth of the founding of Europe, a myth about the Phoenician princess whom Zeus, in the form of a bull, seduced, abducted and raped in Crete is a bad omen for the bloody history of our continent and its hybrid identities. But even in the distant past, cross-currents and turbulence formed, that in the fateful course of events, demonstrated in varying degrees of intensity: «Europa on the Bull» is a symbol both of the serious consequences of aberration and the promise of possible reversal.
Jordi Savall's portrait of the Prince of the Humanists, Erasmus of Rotterdam, with an excellent trio of actors, provides a striking start to the «Eurovisionen» that form the theme of «Resonanzen» 2018. Following a short history of European polyphony, told by Paul Van Nevel's Huelgas Ensemble, La Simphonie du Marais will give the first Austrian performance of the «Tableaux d'amour» of André Campra's «L'Europe galante». After the world premiere of Dorothee Oberlinger's «Eurowinds», there will follow the debuts of Arianna Savall's Melpomen ensemble and of Guillermo Pérez's Tasto solo. The latter will explore the transfer of culture within the embryonic European economic community, the Hanseatic League, while Melpomen will take us back to the «Cradle of Europe» in antique Greece. A concert by Stylus Phantasticus with present Madeleine de Scudéry, a forerunner of the women's rights movement and Concerto Romano will perform Monteverdi's famous «Combattimento», a vivid call for peace to Christians and Muslims, as the focal point in the banquet concert. To round the festival off, Václav Luks and sein Collegium 1704 will explore the continent at the time of the Habsburgers which was then slowly starting to crumble.
A festival cannot provide any answers to pressing political and social questions. At the same time, neither should it ignore them, issues, but sharpen them and dig its thorn deeper into the fat of time in order to hit the nerve of the era.