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The 5th  Qara Qarayev  international                                                            
contemporary music  Festival          Baku, Azerbaijan, 14-19 April 2013


The Girls from the Variety Show are Lonely on the Earth…


"The new musical theater is not just a form of theater with its style, but the application of the principles of musical thinking to the theater arts. Words, light and movements are articulated in the same way as sound, timbre and tempo".

Mauricio Kagel

A famous German composer of Argentine origin Mauricio Kagel conceived his "Variété" in 1976 as a vaudeville - concert show with actors and musicians. It is indicated in the preface to the score that "illusionists, magicians, acrobats, striptease dancers of both sexes, sword-swallowers, card players, comic actors, athletes, midgets, equilibrists, fakirs, caricaturists, mimes, freaks, fire eaters, shadow theater artists, animal trainers, ventriloquists, clowns, telepaths and hypnotists" may participate in the performance. There is the same bizarre kaleidoscope in music: tango and jazz of the late 1940s refracted through the prism of the avant-garde. The output is a postmodern action realized in the "patchwork" technique. Masked as a wandering comedian, Kagel blows up traditions of various artistic genres to bring all together again as a mosaic of ancient stones in the final.

The Kagel's "Variété" is a rare guest in the Post-Soviet Space. Therefore its premiere on April 18 in Baku Theatre for Young Spectators in the framework of the 5th Qara Qarayev International Contemporary Music Festival promised to be a special event. However, the theatrical show provoked more questions than answers. The choreographer of the AVA Dance Company ballet (Germany/Spain) Avatara Ayuso turned the eight numbers of the "Variété" into a quite repetitive action, the main message of which was difficult to comprehend. It did not turn into an entertaining extravagant concert as Kagel had conceived. But we saw excessive melancholy, not assumed by the composer.

The Psychological Studies were embodied using an experimental language of modern dance. What was left from acrobatic brilliance was only "callisthenics" with a scarlet ribbon, embodying probably a heavy share of the dancer. The plastic theater was limited to "idle" run and collective plexus of hands and feet of the four dance members that was evidently aimed to symbolize whether loneliness or women's friendship or the fierce rivalry. Everyone present in the hall observing the performance could think out his own storyline, a drama or a fairy tale with an unhappy end. That is the feature of a plotless ballet: everyone is free to imagine his own story.

The Azerbaijani Con Tempo Ensemble under the direction of Vladimir Runchak (Ukraine) was responsible for the music component of the performance. Eva Zöllner (Germany) played a style-forming party of accordion. A very bright and impressive Kagel's score partly sounded perfect. The play of meanings and shades, the magic of theater and irrational projections were focused in music at that evening.

Prepared by Elena Kravtsun, Press Center of the Festival

Deutsche Botschaft       Ministry of Culture of Russian Federation             Republique Française              Gemeente Amsterdam       Fonds Podium Kunstum performing arts fund NL           ArtsCouncil Azerbaijan