How radio waves carry the voice of songs

criticism Too many ideas, too few to carry: "Winterreise / Winterreise" at the Leipzig theater

Intendant Lübbe has already tried out the knitting pattern of the double staging several times: In his "Winterreise / Winterreise" he brings together two texts that are a good 200 years apart. On the one hand, it is a collection of poems by Wilhelm Müller from Dessau, which has achieved classic status through Franz Schubert's setting as a song cycle "Die Winterreise". The other text comes from Elfriede Jelinek, who, as a Schubert fan, undertakes the trip in 2011 to turn it into a theater text for the Münchner Kammerspiele.

In 2011 Jelinek will be 65 years old - her text can be read as a kind of balance sheet when she reaches retirement age. It sounds like a self-questioning of one's own life, in which the fear of having failed, of having taken a wrong direction, plays a major role. He appears quiet, personal, apolitical and revolves around questions such as: Who am I? What does time do to me? Do I become someone else as time goes by? There is also the sentence: "We can no longer hear your lyre." Does that relate to the Nobel Prize winner for literature, whose lyre no one wants to hear anymore?

In any case, it is a good text that leaves things open and revolves around loneliness, life, time and meaning; a text that Müller overwrites into today's digital parallel worlds. The "network" plays a role, as it leads us to believe that we are in contact with a large number of people.

Stay rhythmic!

Incidentally, this double selection of pieces is not due to Corona, which one could assume in view of the loneliness issue. No, on the one hand director Lübbe is a Jelinek fan and has already staged some of her texts, on the other hand he is also a fan of these piece combinations.

The fact that Corona struck is more of a catalyst that can still focus the message of the staging. Because a winter journey in alienation and death also means, dialectically speaking, the other option: a journey back to life. A journey that promises a new hold in oneself and in the community. How to get there Just now? There is a moment in the production when it gets extremely loud.

Julia Berke remembers in one scene that she was an organ student who couldn't get along with the instrument. It sounds and roars along with it; Environmental noises inflate to the point of cacophony, everything gets mixed up. Then the noise of the world collapses and there is one sentence left, like a manual for life: "stay rhythmic!", "Stay rhythmic!" It is a categorical imperative to the self like a pulse, a heartbeat, a breath. Cynically speaking, you could say: Corona is a godsend for this production!

Above all summits there is peace'

The set shows a mountain. We see a cable car station, snow, a viewing platform with a telescope (stage: Etienne Pluss; costumes Bianca Deigner). The eleven protagonists made it up there, to this magical mountain, to this end of longing, to this Kickelhahn, to which Goethe wrote: "Above all peaks there is peace ...!"

And out of nowhere, the eleven then sing a song from the "Winterreise": "At the fountain in front of the gate, there is a linden tree." Refrain in verse three: "You would find rest there!" The song is not presented here with a singing voice and piano accompaniment as in the original, but presented in a new set, as a composition for a polyphonic choir (musical direction: Jürg Kienberger). That sounds beautiful, this sad, wistful music.

But then out of the valley - upside-down world - a kind of disco avalanche rolls upwards: "Hurray the Gams ..." - that is of course après ski; that is Corona in Ischgl. The elf up on the mountain holds against it with German songs, but loses against the fun society in the valley. That is the central moment and the most beautiful scene of the evening; that is the message of the production in a nutshell.

Walking stick becomes slapstick

Judging by the applause, which was rather restrained, obviously perplexity arises in the course of the staging. In other words: video projections, wind machines, acoustic gimmicks in the auditorium and in the foyer, slapstick numbers such as hiking scenes in a winter storm that have been turned over and over again in the end only distract and paste what is essential.