What is your meaning in life today

Baroque lust and frustration of life today

Music theater about Wilhelmine von Prussia's life

By Jörn Florian Fuchs

Georgia Stahl in the Erlanger Markgrafentheater (Mario Heinritz)

In the music theater at the Markgrafentheater Erlangen about Wilhelmine von Prussia's life, historically documented scenes and fictional scenes are interlinked. With her consistently over-the-top but never trivial picture theater, the young director Lilli-Hannah Hoepner succeeds in entertaining and moving people for two hours.

The noble girl from Prussia did not have it easy. The uncontrolled father with a tendency to overdrill (soldier king Friedrich I) ensures a childhood without idiocy. As a young woman, the princess is married straight to Friedrich von Brandenburg-Bayreuth, now Wilhelmine is sitting in the Franconian provinces and is looking for tasks and meaning in life. She quickly found the latter in art, she composes, writes and turns Bayreuth into a court of muses.

She exchanges letters with Voltaire, a philosophical salon is set up, opulent buildings and magnificent parks are created on her behalf and under her watchful supervision. Whether Richard Wagner would have set up his Festspielhaus in a city without Wilhelmine's artistic and artistic legacy, one can certainly doubt.

But what does the margravine tell us today? At least she has immortalized a lot about herself and her time in an autobiography, sometimes with harsh, relentless formulations.
At the Markgrafentheater Erlangen, Michael Emanuel Bauer (composition and musical direction) and Constantin von Castenstein (text) have turned Wilhelmine's life, work and impact into a multi-dimensional musical theater. "The Wilhelmine Code" initially leads into a dreary precariat of today. A flighty mother, a brutal father and the siblings Billie and Rico live together in a very small space. Billie takes refuge in other worlds, on the MP3 player she follows a harmony course.

Change of scenery: brightly colored figures flit around in a blown up, almost skeletonized theater, one recognizes the margravine with a - skeletonized - hoop skirt, her husband seems to consist only of powder puff. Voltaire (with dyed purple hair), Empress Maria Theresia (on a walker with a red carpet), a minister and the doctor who is constantly handling pills soon arrive. Superville on. The doctor is urgently needed, because the margravine is increasingly suffering from depression and one or two delusions.

Historically documented scenes and fictional scenes are skilfully interlinked, financial problems are discussed, guests are received, plans are forged.
With her consistently over-the-top but never trivial picture theater, the young director Lilli-Hannah Hoepner succeeds in entertaining and moving people for two hours. She also manages to over-play some of the platitudes and nonsense of the text (Voltaire: "When I think out loud, angels have orgasms") with virtuosity. One piece in a piece is brilliant, namely when six actors pantomime Wilhelmine's opera "Argenore" in an ultra short version - only one singer sings all the roles in the most varied of pitches and diction.

Musically, the "Wilhelmine Code" is a skilfully made mix of styles. In addition to baroque echoes, there are staccato-like repetitions of individual phrases that are reminiscent of a loop grammar à la Bernhard Lang. In addition to the piano, accordion, drums, saxophone and clarinet, a Casio digital horn is used, which sounds spherical like a glass harmonica.

Three consistently excellent actors (Georgia Stahl, Mario Gremlich, Nicholas Reinke) as well as the multi-talented singer Cornelia Melián interact time and again with the musicians, the result is just as entertaining as it is interdisciplinary in the best sense of the word.