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  ANTIGONE IN ZURICH   “Unbearable masterpiece”, was De Morgen‘s verdict on Milo Rau’s farewell to NTGent, Medea’s Children, awarding it five stars. Also critic Johan Thilemans came to the same conclusion: “Masterful is the only word that fits this performance.” And the critic from Sceneweb even went one step further: “Medea’s Children breaks the […]


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„Unbearable masterpiece“: Milo Rau brings all Greek tragedies to the stage

 

ANTIGONE IN ZURICH

 

“Unbearable masterpiece”, was De Morgen‘s verdict on Milo Rau’s farewell to NTGent, Medea’s Children, awarding it five stars. Also critic Johan Thilemans came to the same conclusion: “Masterful is the only word that fits this performance.” And the critic from Sceneweb even went one step further: “Medea’s Children breaks the boundaries of imagination.”

 

Rau, who declared 2018 NTGent the “City Theatre of the Future” and published the globally discussed Ghent Manifesto, will leave the “fantastic” city of Ghent another legacy: the ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL, a festival dedicated to Greek tragedy, presenting at sunrise the entire canon of 32 surviving plays in the streets of Ghent.

 

This “lifelong dream of Milo Rau” brings theatre back to the centre of society. “Why not spend our best hours on it? Why not enjoy theatre in the morning when we have the greatest clarity of mind?”, asks Rau’s co-curator Matthias Velle. Find all info about this “biggest tragedy festival since Sophocleshere.

 

Another piece of news shaked the theatre world these days: Nobel Prize Winner Elfriede Jelinek has given Milo Rau the permission to stage her play Burgtheater, which was banned for 44 years and is probably the most myth-enshrouded work in German speaking theatre. And not just anywhere, but on the stage of the Burgtheater itself, the largest in Europe: the “sensation of the coming season”, as the press unanimously wrote.

 

But before that, next Tuesday, Rau will open the TANGENTE festival with his acclaimed mining opera Justice. Already today, Antigone in the Amazon finally lands in Rau’s hometown of Zurich after stops in Finland, Australia, Italy, France and a dozen other countries. Last tickets here!

 

JUSTICE AT TANGENTE

 

 


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MEDEA’S CHILDREN   The myth of Medea is the bloodiest in the European canon. It begins with Medea’s love for Jason and ends with the murder of their children. Milo Rau’s version of the play is a radical re-reading. For Medea’s Children, he mixes Euripides’ version with a modern murder case. And: all the roles […]


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Trigger Warning: MEDEA performed by Children

MEDEA’S CHILDREN

 

The myth of Medea is the bloodiest in the European canon. It begins with Medea’s love for Jason and ends with the murder of their children. Milo Rau’s version of the play is a radical re-reading. For Medea’s Children, he mixes Euripides’ version with a modern murder case. And: all the roles are played by children!

 

After the globally acclaimed reinventions of Aeschylus’ revenge trilogy Oresteia (Orestes in Mosul) and Sophocles’ Antigone (Antigone in the Amazon), Milo Rau turns to a classic of Greek tragedy literature for the third time with Medea’s Children.

 

Together with six child actors, Milo Rau, his dramaturge Kaatje De Geest and NTGent create a synthesis of Greek tragedy and childish wisdom, made of film, music and performance. Bitter and sweet, tender and cruel, absurd and gory – like love itself.

 

TRAILER

 

How can affection turn into hate? Are we forced to make the same mistakes again and again? From the hunt for the Golden Fleece to a quintuple murder: Medea’s Children is an examination of the human soul through the eyes of children.

 

Medea’s Children celebrates its premiere on April 18 at NTGent, followed by premieres in the Netherlands and France. The German-language premiere is on May 31 at the Wiener Festwochen.

 

And: Medea’s Children is the prelude to Rau’s “oldest dream”, the ALL GREEKS FESTIVAL, for which NTGent will have all the classic tragedies restaged in public spaces over 32 days – conceived by Milo Rau himself, curated by Matthias Velle and Benoît Vanraes. Find all details here.

 

ALL GREEK FESTIVAL

 

 

NEWS

 

 

 

 


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FREE REPUBLIC OF VIENNA   “Really? Balaclavas at the programme conference, skating nuns, Pussy Riot and the proclamation of a republic”, wrote Austria’s largest daily newspaper, the Kronenzeitung. And indeed: it was certainly the craziest press conference that the Wiener Festwochen, Europe’s largest crossover festival, has ever experienced. Followed by the fastest ticket sales in […]


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Skating Nuns & Balaclavas: Join the Free Republic!

FREE REPUBLIC OF VIENNA

 

“Really? Balaclavas at the programme conference, skating nuns, Pussy Riot and the proclamation of a republic”, wrote Austria’s largest daily newspaper, the Kronenzeitung. And indeed: it was certainly the craziest press conference that the Wiener Festwochen, Europe’s largest crossover festival, has ever experienced. Followed by the fastest ticket sales in the history of the festival: a third of all places is sold in just 10 days after the programme conference!

 

“The cultural event of this spring” was how the French culture blog Mediapart summarised it, while the Belgian Standaard wrote: “Milo Rau is tackling it big at his first edition at the head of the Wiener Festwochen.” A total of more than 45 projects are planned – from Mateja Meded’s Cunt slime power to Peter Brook’s Tempest Project, from the creation of the Academy Second Modernism to the Vienna Trials, from the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra’s Kaddish Requiem to Rau’s newest play Medea’s Children.

 

Meanwhile, the Council of the Republic is growing. New members are joining every day: Elfriede Jelinek, Annie Ernaux, Yannis Varoufakis, Kirill Serebrennikov, Kim de l’Horizon, Carola Rackete, David Van Rreybrouck – and dozens more!

 

Be with us when the Free Republic of Vienna is proclaimed on 17 May in front of 50,000 spectators in the center of Vienna and live on television. Because we owe the world a revolution!

 

PROFESSIONALS

 

 

NEWS

 

  • Is Putin happy? – Milo Rau on Navalny, the Vienna Trials and the need for a civil society uprising

  • I can’t think alone – Rau on his late friend, playwright and director René Pollesch

  • Draw for change – ARTE documentary about Victoria Lomasko, official draughtswoman of the Free Republic of Vienna

  • Pure and simple – Belgium tour of The Interrogation, Milo Rau’s collaboration with the writer Édouard Louis, launched

  • Antigone in Australia – after Europe, Antigone in the Amazon tour continues in Australia


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  FREE PUBLIC WEBSITE PROGRAM BOOK   This morning (01.02.24), Artistic Director Milo Rau, Executive Director Artemis Vakianis, artists Florentina Holzinger, Bushra El-Turk and Caroline Guiela Nguyen, together with members of the Council of the Free Republic of Vienna, unveiled the programme of Rau’s first edition of the Wiener Festwochen in the mythical venue Hotel […]


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Revolution Now! Milo Rau, Elfriede Jelinek, Pussy Riot, Carola Rackete, Florentina Holzinger and many others proclaim Free Republic of Vienna

 

FREE PUBLIC WEBSITE

PROGRAM BOOK

 

This morning (01.02.24), Artistic Director Milo Rau, Executive Director Artemis Vakianis, artists Florentina Holzinger, Bushra El-Turk and Caroline Guiela Nguyen, together with members of the Council of the Free Republic of Vienna, unveiled the programme of Rau’s first edition of the Wiener Festwochen in the mythical venue Hotel Imperial in the Austrian capital.

 

On 17 May 2024, the Wiener Festwochen, Europe’s biggest crossover festival, will proclaim the Free Republic of Vienna in front of 50.000 people, broadcasted live on Austrian television. The grand ceremony marks the beginning of a 5 week long festival showcasing over 45 projects of theatre, opera, activism, music and dance – and the creation of several revolutionary institutions. Find the whole artistic program here.

 

The one-hundred-strong Council of the Free Republic includes, among others: Elfriede Jelinek, Carola Rackete, Annie Ernaux, Yanis Varoufakis, Kirill Serebrennikow, Oksana Lyniv, Jean Ziegler, Kid Pex, Sibylle Berg, Camille Etienne, members from the Landless Movement MST, the ZAD – Zone à Défendre, Rojava – and over 100 citizens and initiatives from the city of Vienna.

 

Join the Free Republic of Vienna! Because we owe the world a revolution!

 

FULL PRESS STATEMENT

PRESS CONFERENCE


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FREE REPUBLIC NOW! PRESS CONFERENCE   Where do you hear the music of Pussy Riot side by side with Mozart? Which festival writes its own constitution together with its audience, several Nobel Prize winners and declares itself a Free Republic? The 2024 edition of the Wiener Festwochen – one of the world’s largest crossover festivals for theatre, […]


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We Owe the World a Revolution: Free Republic of Vienna is Unveiled!

FREE REPUBLIC NOW!
PRESS CONFERENCE

 

Where do you hear the music of Pussy Riot side by side with Mozart? Which festival writes its own constitution together with its audience, several Nobel Prize winners and declares itself a Free Republic? The 2024 edition of the Wiener Festwochen – one of the world’s largest crossover festivals for theatre, opera, music, art and political activism under the Artistic Direction of Milo Rau – will be unlike any other.

 

On Friday 1st March 10:00 (CET), together with composer and Academy Second Modernism member Bushra El-Turk, choreographer Florentina Holzinger, director Caroline Guiela Nguyen and music curator Fuzzman, Artistic Director Milo Rau, Executive Director Artemis Vakianis and City Councillor for Cultural Affairs and Science Veronica Kaup-Hasler present the programme of the Festival Edition 2024, including messages from festival accomplices Sibylle Berg and Kid Pex.

The programme presentation takes place at the Imperial Hotel, Kärntner Ring 16, 1015 Vienna. The event will be broadcasted via livestream.

 

LIVESTREAM

 

In the midst of a crucial election year, the Wiener Festwochen will proclaim the Free Republic of Vienna, thus making the festival the very first to ever have its own hymn, flag, and revolutionary institutions.

 

In the tradition of the Paris Commune, Vienna – one of the five largest cities in the EU and the birthplace of classical Modernism around Schönberg, Freud and Klimt – will become the international capital of a Second Modernism this spring: a place for debates, events and celebration, where social movements meet intellectuals and artists to seek out alternatives for a common future.

 

During five-and-a-half unique weeks from 17 May to 23 June, the Wiener Festwochen will fuse political resistance with artistic virtuosity. The great names of classical music, opera, theatre and activism arrive in Vienna. At the same time the Vienna Trials are staged, holding politics, the media and the art scene accountable.

 

Join the Press Conference at Hotel Imperial, meet the festival team, our accomplices and the Free Republic’s Collective Dramaturgy Jana Beckmann, Carmen Hornbostel, Thomas Kasebacher & Iris Raffetseder.

 

FESTIVAL PAGE

 

NEWS

 


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  MAKING OF JUSTICE   “It is the first production of these dimensions in which Congo and Europe join hands. And it is also the first opera to deal with the subject of modern-day mining“, wrote the major German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung after the “brilliant” (Neue Musik Zeitung) world premiere of Justice last week.   […]


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NO EXCUSES ANYMORE: Academy Second Modernism debuts in New York!

 

MAKING OF JUSTICE

 

“It is the first production of these dimensions in which Congo and Europe join hands. And it is also the first opera to deal with the subject of modern-day mining“, wrote the major German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung after the “brilliant” (Neue Musik Zeitung) world premiere of Justice last week.

 

An opera like never before”, judged German television ARD after the premiere at the Grand Théâtre de Genève of this “reinvention of opera” (Tribune de Genève). “Opera has never been so radically decolonized,” reported the influential Deutschlandfunk, Swiss television SRF dedicated a whole documentary to Rau’s newest project. Parallel to the opera, Milo Rau launched the Justice for Kabwe crowdfunding campaign together with various NGOs.

 

Now Rau and Wiener Festwochen (Vienna Festival) – Europe’s largest crossover festival for performance, music, opera, art and discourse – are coming to New York to present their new initiative to change the music world from scratch: the Academy Second Modernism.

 

Did you know that only 2% of the works included in concert subscriptions hail from women? To change this, the Wiener Festwochen and many partner institutions all over the world are now launching a brand new global platform for female composers and presenting it in New York on February 6 and 7.

 

Together with Pulitzer Prize Winners and Academy Members Du Yun and Tania León, representatives from New York art institutions such as the Metropolitan Opera and under the patronage of music icon Nuria Nono-Schoenberg, we call for action to address the devastating current state of representation when it comes to female composers on the contemporary classical stage, opera, concerts, musical spaces and festivals. 

 

The aim of the Academy Second Modernism is the commitment of theatres, operas, festivals and ensembles to significantly increase the proportion of works by women composers in their programmes. Join us in New York to discuss and create a global manifesto demanding immediate change and decolonization in a still deeply entrenched field resisting to change!

 

“When someone is actually meaning to take action, there is a way. No excuses anymore.”

Nuria Nono-Schoenberg

 

ACADEMY SECOND MODERNISM

 

6 February 2024, 10:00
Austrian Cultural Forum
PRESS CONFERENCE

 

with Melina Tsiamos (Deputy Director ACF), Milo Rau (Artistic Director Wiener Festwochen), Jana Beckmann (Dramaturgy Wiener Festwochen), Du Yun (member Academy Second Modernism)
Register here.

 

7 February 2024, 18:30
Segal Center New York
BEYOND THE 2% – A MANIFESTO

 

with composers and Pulitzer Prize winners Tania León and Du Yun, Marcia Sells/Met Opera NYC, Kristin Marting/PROTOTYPE, Milo Rau and Jana Beckmann (Wiener Festwochen).
More info and live stream here.

 

7 February 2024
Segal Center New York
A DAY WITH MILO RAU

 

Join us for an afternoon with Milo Rau discussing his latest book Reclaiming the Future and the search for new forms of thinking, feeling, and collective action – plus an excerpt screening of Rau’s film work.
More info and live stream here.

 

 


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  “The first opera about the Congolese mining industry, developed with those affected and performed at one of the largest opera houses in the world: for me as a Congolese artist, this is a revolution.” Serge Kakudji   With the Congolese-European opera production JUSTICE, Milo Rau, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Hèctor Parra and their team are […]


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“This is a revolution”: First Mining Opera in History celebrates its Premiere!

 

“The first opera about the Congolese mining industry, developed with those affected and performed at one of the largest opera houses in the world: for me as a Congolese artist, this is a revolution.”
Serge Kakudji

 

With the Congolese-European opera production JUSTICE, Milo Rau, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Hèctor Parra and their team are challenging the opera genre: JUSTICE is not only the first Congolese-European music theatre production of this magnitude – it is the first opera ever about the mining industry, premiering in Geneva, the world’s largest commodity exchange centre and one of the birthplaces of international human rights.

 

But with JUSTICE, Mujila, Parra and Rau are not just staging the question of justice, they are realising it: To coincide with the premiere, they are launching a crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with Congolese and Swiss NGOs and lawyers to finally bring justice to those affected by the crimes portrayed.

 

The premiere will be live performed by hundreds of singers and instrumentalists (conductor: Titus Engel), including the iconic bass baritone Willard White, the Kolwezi born counter tenor Serge Kakudji, the Congolese guitar player Kojack Kossakamvwe and the librettist himself, Booker prize nominee Fiston Mwanza Mujila.

 

“This opera is an act against forgetting as well as a demonstration in favour of the truth. A call for justice and a bridge between the continents.”
Fiston Mwanza Mujila

 

CAMPAIGN

 

22 January 2024 Grand Théâtre de Genève
18:00 Press conference
20:00 Premiere JUSTICE

 

Press conference with Serge Kakudji (singer), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (librettist), Hèctor Parra (composer), Milo Rau (director), Johannes Wendland (HEKS), Céline Tshizena (Afrewatch), Josue Kashal (CAJJ).

 

PROJECT INFO

 

 


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  PRESS CONFERENCE AND PREMIERE   With the Congolese-European opera production JUSTICE, Milo Rau, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Hèctor Parra and their team are challenging the opera genre: JUSTICE is not only the first Congolese-European music theatre production of this magnitude – it is the first opera ever about the mining industry, premiering in Geneva, the […]


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Invitation World Premiere: Opera for Justice

 

PRESS CONFERENCE
AND PREMIERE

 

With the Congolese-European opera production JUSTICE, Milo Rau, Fiston Mwanza Mujila, Hèctor Parra and their team are challenging the opera genre: JUSTICE is not only the first Congolese-European music theatre production of this magnitude – it is the first opera ever about the mining industry, premiering in Geneva, the world’s largest commodity exchange centre and one of the birthplaces of international human rights.

 

But with JUSTICE, Mujila, Parra and Rau are not just staging the question of justice, they are realising it: To coincide with the premiere, they are launching a crowdfunding campaign in collaboration with Congolese and Swiss NGOs and lawyers to finally bring justice to those affected by the crimes portrayed.

The premiere will be live performed by hundreds of singers and instrumentalists (conductor: Titus Engel), including the iconic bass baritone Willard White, the Kolwezi born counter tenor Serge Kakudji, the Congolese guitar player Kojack Kossakamvwe and the librettist himself, Booker prize nominee Fiston Mwanza Mujila.

 

“This opera is an act against forgetting as well as a demonstration in favour of the truth.
A call for justice and a bridge between the continents.”
Fiston Mwanza Mujila

 

PROJECT INFO

 

22 January 2024 Grand Théâtre de Genève
18:00 Press conference
20:00 Premiere JUSTICE

 

Press conference with Serge Kakudji (singer), Fiston Mwanza Mujila (librettist), Milo Rau (director), Johannes Wendland (HEKS), Céline Tshizena (Afrewatch).

 

REGISTRATION

 


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  WHAT A YEAR THIS WAS 2023   START OF 2024: FAMILY   What a year! According to the critics, Milo Rau and his team delivered their ”best” or “most significant” work of their career no fewer than three times in 2023 with Antigone in the Amazon, The Last Generation and The Interrogation – plus […]


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Far beyond bourgeois theatre: this was 2023

 

WHAT A YEAR
THIS WAS 2023

 

START OF 2024: FAMILY

 

What a year! According to the critics, Milo Rau and his team delivered their ”best” or “most significant” work of their career no fewer than three times in 2023 with Antigone in the Amazon, The Last Generation and The Interrogation – plus two brand-new books and a “revolutionary” opera production!

 

In January 2023 was the Belgian premiere of The Interrogation. “Milo Rau’s most austere performance in years was also his best performance in years”, wrote De Morgen about the show in its best of list 2023. Rau created this “profound meditation on the power of theater” together with the French writer Edouard Louis, the actor Arne De Tremerie and the dramaturgs Carmen Hornbostel and Giacomo Bisordi. After Holland, Croatia, Belgium and France, The Interrogation will continue its European tour in January at the Teatro di Napoli.

 

Four months later, in May 2023 premiered Milo Rau’s cooperation with the Brazilian Landless Movement. Antigone in the Amazon – the Swiss director’s “most significant play to date” – has since toured throughout Europe and has been showered with superlatives: “a total show, as militant as it is spellbinding”, wrote La Libération, for example.

 

No wonder the piece has appeared in numerous best of 2023 lists, including those of the iconic French magazine Les Inrockuptibles, Swiss national television SRF or the Portuguese magazine Publico: “The Milo Rau-MST alliance went far beyond the modus operandi of bourgeois theater, claiming, like the Greeks, to mirror the audience and the polis.” Next Stop: Thalia Theater Hamburg.

 

Rau’s third show of 2023, “the hellscape and pamphletThe Last Generation, a cooperation with Theater Stap, was declared  “Milo Rau’s best theater production in five years of NTGent”. “Everyone will remember this experience forever”, wrote Radio France Culture about the controversial production that sparked a debate in Belgium about disability on stage.

 

THE MAKING OF ANTIGONE

 

2023 also saw the publication of two new books, the “literary jewelWhat Theatre Can Do and the artistic-activist essay The Reconquest of the Future. “I have to shout it out: read this book!” wrote the Frankfurter Rundschau about Rau’s The Reconquest, the second edition of which has already been printed.

 

But that’s not all: Milo Rau’s first opera staging La Clemenza di Tito at the Flemish Opera was met with rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. “The boundaries of opera have been pushed”, wrote f. e. the newspaper De Tijd, and the production was voted both in the Netherlands and in Belgium in the best of 2023 for its “overwhelming richness of images”.

 

The Viennese premiere of this “raw and magical” (NRC *****) interpretation of Mozart’s last opera, together with a cast of local citizens, will also mark Milo Rau’s start as the new Artistic Director of the Wiener Festwochen in spring, Europe’s largest performance festival alongside the Festival d’Avignon.

 

But the most important and at the same time saddest event of 2023 was certainly the farewell to our friend, the great actor Johan Leysen. Leysen performed in IIPM’s classics The Civil Wars (2014), Five Easy Pieces (2016) and La Reprise. Histoire(s) du Théâtre I (2018), among others, played Agamemnon in Orestes in Mosul (2019) and was one of the co-founders of the Film School for Mosul. We will always carry you in our hearts, Johan!

 

Oh, 2023! We are looking back on a year that will remain unforgettable forever – and forward to another year full of shared experiences and debates. Thank you for your support, cooperation, friendship, enthusiasm, solidarity and critical interest!

 

OBITUARY FOR JOHAN LEYSEN

 

 


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JUSTICE A MINING OPERA   Essay Fiston Mwanza Mujila   After his controversial take on Mozart (La Clemenza di Tito), Milo Rau’s new opera work Justice (libretto: Fiston Mwanza Mujila, music: Hèctor Parra) takes us to the heart of the Congolese mining industry. It is the first lyric work on the crimes of transnational companies […]


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Globalizing the Opera – Milo Rau, Fiston Mwanza Mujila and Hèctor Parra join forces for first Congolese-European mining opera

JUSTICE
A MINING OPERA

 

Essay Fiston Mwanza Mujila

 

After his controversial take on Mozart (La Clemenza di Tito), Milo Rau’s new opera work Justice (libretto: Fiston Mwanza Mujila, music: Hèctor Parra) takes us to the heart of the Congolese mining industry. It is the first lyric work on the crimes of transnational companies ever, developed with a Congolese-European artistic team: “How can we decolonize the gaze without taking such a situation into account?” (Mwanza Mujila)

 

At the center of Justice is a terrible accident: In 2019, an acid truck belonging to the Swiss company Glencore, one of the world’s biggest mining companies, crashed into a market place in South Congo near the city of Kolwezi. Dozens of people died in agony: a crime of “almost cosmic proportions” (Parra) for which there was never any justice.

 

Written together with the Congolese Man Booker Prize Nominee Fiston Mwanza Mujila (“Train 83”), set into music by Catalan composer Hèctor Parra (“The Kindly Ones”), with Congolese singer Serge Kakudji in one of the main roles and Congolese guitar player Kojack Kossakamvwe, it is the first Congolese-European opera collaboration of this size: “A requiem against forgetting as well as a manifestation of the truth.” (Mwanza Mujila)

 

Developed with the victims of the accident, Justice includes hundreds of instrumentalist and singers from all over the world, like the mythical baritone Sir Willard White or soprano Lauren Michelle. This “bridge between the continents” (Mwanza Mujila) will premiere 22 January 2024 in Geneva, performed by the choir and the orchestra of the Grand Théâtre de Genève – and open the Tangente St. Pölten Festival in April.

 

Interview Milo Rau

 

THE CONGO TRIBUNAL
A HISTORY OF SOLIDARITY

 

“Where politics fail only art can help,” wrote DIE ZEIT about Milo Rau’s first major Congo Tribunal in 2015 in the eastern Congolese city of Bukavu. A panel of Congolese and European lawyers had set itself the goal of finally ending the impunity of the large transnational mining corporations.

 

Further tribunals were held in Berlin, Zurich and the “world capital of cobalt” Kolwezi, and a cinema and television film were made. The opera Justice is based on this decades-long work, in particular the so-called Glencore Tribunal, which Rau and his team held in Kolwezi’s parliament in December 2021.

 

“Is it the most ambitious political theater ever staged?” asked THE GUARDIAN, Radio France Internationale saw the “craziest theatre project of our time”. Justice is the latest chapter in this attempt at transnational solidarity, a “completely new step in opera history” (Parra).

 

Or as singer Serge Kakudji, born in Kolwezi, puts it: “An opera about the Congo of today, developed with those affected and performed at one of the largest opera houses in the world, next to Glencore’s headquarters: that is an artistic revolution.”

 

Interview Serge Kakudji

 

NEWS