“At a time when the livelihood of artists is fundamentally threatened, they must use their resources in a creative way to find and invent a way out of this crisis“, says baritone Dietrich Henschel about his new opera project COSÍ.20 – Love is Contagious.
Mozart's famous opera Così fan tutte, this cynical bet placed on human immorality, examined in an experiment, dissected and seen through a microscope, provides the artist collective ĀRT HOUSE OPERA with the ideal foil for opera in times of social distancing. In their theatrical field study, Dietrich Henschel and stage director Thomas Höft socially separate all players of COSÍ.20 for an intense psycho-experiment, first shown at Lockenhaus Castle from 31 July to 2 August 2020. Will isolation succeed or will it destroy any kind of relationship? Can the contactless exchange of emotions remain free from pain?
forum:lockenhaus have taken over as promoter of the project, which had been originally planned to be launched in Berlin, but was then unexpectedly and suddenly halted due to the singing ban imposed by the Corona-infection protection regulations of the Berlin Senate.
At a time when performing great opera is impossible, COSÌ.20 gathers together a complete opera company in a compact format, benevolently exploiting the versatility of its members. In addition to a fantastic handpicked line-up – including soprano Johanna Winkel and tenor Benedikt Kristjánsson – the cast includes artistic director, baritone and pianist Dietrich Henschel and conductor Gabriella Teychenné as well as the Vogler Quartett.
In their work, the artistic team addresses the question of how to deal creatively with the new conditions caused by the Covid 19 pandemic. "The health threat is real", the COSÌ.20 members say and add: “Viral infections that take place via droplet transmission and aerosols can only be fought by protective measures such as spatial distance and masks. If you take that seriously, it doesn't mean that performative art is impossible. However, performances have to change: reduced orchestras, shorter performance times, safety distances, respiratory masks, these are new conditions that theatre and concert events have to adapt to.” COSI.20 goes one step further: “We are not simply reducing ourselves to a Corona format, we are accepting the new conditions, taking them as the basis for our artistic examination of an ingenious opera from the repertoire. COSI.20 gains its actual strength from the apparent reduction. We look at Da Pontes theatre laboratory through the eyes of our current laboratory situation and we transfer the research results from Da Ponte and Mozart into our pandemic present”, says the production team.
The production is performed in a version compressed to 140 minutes, and includes music by György Ligeti, György Kurtag und Ghostly Kisses. In this isolation scenario, the public is intended to play its own role under all the necessary precautions for infection protection.