Munich Biennale

From another view

The Munich Biennale has remained a resolutely international festival ever since it was founded over two decades ago.

This internationalism has always been more than just skin deep, and not just limited to the diversity of the composers’ and librettists’ home countries. For the festival, it is a question primarily of intellectual substance and aesthetic standards. During the 22 years of the Biennale, in which it has been involved in the creation of music theatre works and has presented them in the public arena with unwavering continuity, global networks have advanced at a staggering pace. This has caused cultural traditions to clash with a speed and intensity that seems to have annulled their growth over the centuries. Our modern age entails living at two speeds. Everyday life and the arts have lost touch with each other. Cultures do not allow themselves to fuse on a fast track. What is needed is for us to take on a different viewpoint to our own, to try to understand what was previously foreign and unknown.

The music theatre projects fulfil the motto of the Munich Biennale in different ways. In the Amazon project, the perspectives of the European devourers, of the indigenous preservers, and of those with questions about the future come up against one another. The composer Lin Wang sees the contradictions of Chinese and European traditions as a call to set out on a search, to abandon ingrained convictions, and to be receptive to an unconditional self-knowledge. Philipp Maintz composes a radically different perspective: Maldoror creates an image of the world from the perspective of evil. Márton Illés, for his composition, uses an early dramatic draft by Rainer Maria Rilke, reflecting the floating stage of expectation over an abyss of terrible deeds and infamy.

Peter Ruzicka, artistic director