“O Fortuna, velud luna” (“O Fortune, like the moon you are changeable”) – this is the well-known beginning of Carmina Burana, which became world famous last century thanks to Carl Orff’s musical composition. But the songs from the comprehensive collection of secular Latin poetry were already popular in their time. Full of tender and bawdy inventiveness, they glorify love, describe the joys as well as the tribulations of everyday life, and denounce the vices of the clergy and secular potentates. The satirical moralistic poems, and the drinking and gambling songs, give the audience a taste of medieval life.
Following concertante performances at the Deutsche Oper (Berlin), the ensemble Alta Musica, together with T-Werk, developed a scenic concert out of Carmina Burana with songs and music from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The musicians, who perform within a square space, move in front and behind transparent walls. For the audience, sitting on two sides of the stage, the choreography, light installation and ambient sound fuse into a dense sequence of images that allows them to become immersed in the sounds of the Middle Ages.
The performance and the interpretation were of a high international standard. Melodious, natural vocals combined with simple instrumentals.
Märkische Allgemeine Zeitung
… this magical offering at the start of the new year – the vocals, instrumentals, solos, the staging – was uplifting enough: the beautiful sounds of the instruments as the most beguiling possession of us mere mortals, the vocalities borrowed partly from traditional Marian hymns, partly from the medieval sibyllines, were like a loan from heaven. Simply wonderful! Does this kind of medieval high art grab the heart and soul? Several minutes’ applause and an encore were the answer.
Potsdamer Neueste Nachrichten
Ensemble Alta Musica:
Juliane Maria Esselbach (soprano)
Antonia Biemer (soprano)
Dagmar Jaenicke (recorder, pommer)
Thomas Voehringer-Kuhnt (hurdy-gurdy, pommer)
Petra Prieß (fiddle)
Rainer Böhm (recorder, shawm, string tambourine)
Conductor: Rainer Böhm
Director: Jens-Uwe Sprengel
Set: Heide Schollähn
Duration: 65 Min.
Foto: Göran Gnaudschun