A staged concert: Through a dialog with three musicians the countertenor Terry Wey and dancer Yui Kawaguchi search for the spirit Johann Sebastian Bach.
An evening of Bach in a church setting
With their staged concert of chamber music „Cantatatanz“ Nico and the Navigators approach and bring themselves closer to the works of Johann Sebastian Bach. In this second edition of the „KlangZuGang“ series Nicola Hümpel and the Navigators explore sacral music through scenic imagery.
In the Arias by the once Thomaskantor of Leipzig they delve into their pictorial language of baroque piety and bound by a yearning of the hereafter search for timeless translations of Bach’s vocal and instrumental work. The Instrumentalists Mayumi Hirasaki (Violin), Jakob David Rattinger (Viola da Gamba) and Eugène Michelangeli (Cembalo, Organ) are incorporated into the performance with countertenor Terry Wey and dancer Yui Kawaguchi. As a strong contrast to the humility of Bach’s Protestantism compositions by Marin Marias serve as a whirlwind of invigorating joie de vivre.
Oliver Proske meaningfully frames a space at the center of which, uninhibited, is Bach. With and in his music we can discover how the missing pedals on a Cembalo can reveal erotic possibilities, where it is the human voice resides and what connects a peppermill to Pentecost. The hardwood galley benches of the church vessel transform into the pillars of a towering cathedral as soft tones explode into a thunderous pipe organ.
A production by the Thuringia Bach Festival and Nico and the Navigators. The performance is part of the KlangZuGang concert series, for which Nico and the Navigators receive the support of the Fonds Darstellende Künste from the Mittel des Bundes as part of a three-year sponsorship programme. In addition the ensemble is sponsored by the Region of Berlin.
“In ‘Cantata Dance,’ Johann Sebastian Bach shows himself to be impressively touchable.”
At the age of six, Yui Kawaguchi saw "Giselle" and was so moved that she wanted to become a ballerina herself. In her native Japan, this meant a balancing act between cultures. Today, the dancer lives in Berlin and knows how to overcome borders. Stuttgart - "I heard the music of Johann Sebastian Bach differently here than in Japan," says Yui Kawaguchi. All of Bach's sounds find a place in this landscape, the Japanese dancer and choreographer draws a picture. She has also "danced" music by Mozart and Handel, experiencing Handel "like pop music." "Bach's music, on the other hand, I feel is sacred, but unlike in Japan, his music is not untouchable here," says Yui Kawaguchi. Enthusiastic spectators experienced how touchable even "The Well-Tempered Clavier" is, a collection of fugues and preludes, at the breakdance show "Flying Bach" in Ludwigsburg and Stuttgart. Yui Kawaguchi, a trained classical dancer, took on the part of the classical dancer at the show in Ludwigsburg - very strict, very beautiful. Also in "Cantatatanz" - churches always serve as performance venues - Johann Sebastian Bach shows himself touchable in an impressive way; his music is joined by countertenor Terry Wey, instrumentalists and the dancer Yui Kawaguchi to a staged chamber concert. The production of Nico and the Navigators was created with the Berlin cultural center Radialsystem. The Tokyo-born dancer has lived in Berlin since she made a guest appearance at the Tacheles Cultural Center in 2001 with the production "cell166 b." Dance in Japan and in Germany: These are two different worlds "At first, I felt like a stranger on stage here," the dancer recalls. She thought the audience in Germany didn't understand her. Dance in Japan and Germany, those are two worlds. In the meantime, the Japanese dancer, who was awarded the Cologne Dance Theater Prize in 2010, is not only at home on Germany's stage. She has made guest appearances in America, Canada, Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Luxembourg, Austria and regularly in Japan. One of her choreographies was shown in Korea. Yui Kawaguchi has worked with Ismael Ivo, Helena Waldmann, Tomi Paasonen, Nir de Volff and toured the world with the Flying Steps. In 2011, the ensemble received the Echo-Klassik special prize for its production of "Red Bull Flying Bach." At the age of six, Yui Kawaguchi saw the ballet "Giselle" in Japan. The title role was danced by Yoko Morishita alongside Rudolf Nureyev. Yui was touched. "I could understand that body language, it was phenomenal, and I thought, if this is ballet, I want to do ballet." What she soon experienced was the gap between European culture and Japanese everyday life. "We lived very Japanese at home, sleeping on futons and eating on low tables on the floor," she says. Movements tended to be vertical, but in ballet class they went horizontal. "I couldn't reconcile my desire to dance with everyday life; it was confusing for me," Yui Kawaguchi says. But even then, two poles dominated Japan: traditional forms like no-theater and pop culture. "When I was 12, 13, I needed something else to dance, I started hip-hop and learned to choreograph for groups as well," the dancer says. Between jazz and expressive dance Those who experience her today notice her diversity of styles. For example, in the series "City in Piano," which she staged together with jazz pianist Aki Takase. These are utopian cities that the artists develop in a dialogue between dance and music. Sometimes under the title "Cadenza", sometimes as "Chaconne" (with visual artist Kazue Taguchi). With "Cadenza - The City in Piano V," Kawaguchi and Takase made a guest appearance this year at the Jazztage in Stuttgart's Theaterhaus. "Aki can give me landscapes with her sounds, which is a luxury for a dancer," says Yui Kawaguchi, who will now be seen in a solo at the Karlsruhe Dance Festival. "Match-Atria" is the name of the production, which also involves Japanese filmmaker Yoshimasa Ishibashi and 3-D specialist Masahiro Teraoka. The viewer wears headphones and 3-D glasses and holds an artificial heart made of plasticine in his hand - the heart of the dancer. As Kawaguchi dances, her heart pulsates in the hands of the audience. A 3-D image shows: she is dancing in the middle of her heart, in a landscape with a stream of hemoglobin. "This is where I found my self" Japanese Rieko Suzuki came up with the idea for this tangible theater. "What we do in 'Match-Atria' is typically Japanese," says Yui Kawaguchi. Technology is presented organically; the line between nature and technology is blurred. "I think it has something to do with our religion, Shintoism," smiles Yui Kawaguchi. She hasn't experienced the contrasts between Japan and Europe as strongly for several years. "My Japanese family says I dance differently than before, my movements have become softer, more continuous," says Yui Kawaguchi. Adding, "Here I have found my self, in my life there is no more deciding, I decide."
…The Japanese dancer Yui Kawaguchi first enters the chancel veiled, almost as if under a burka, while countertenor Terry Wey sings his “Bist Du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh. (BWV 508). … This experiment, Bach’s “ascetic simplicity” and “mathematical clarity” has its aesthetic appeal…. Thematically, however, Cantatatanz, with its questions about dying, the afterlife and religion, ties in precisely with the Deutsche Theater Berlin’s season motto “Der leere Himmel” (“Empty Heaven”), which artistic director Ulrich Khuon presented with his directors, dramaturges and actors at the “Früh-Stücke” matinee. A coincidence in the design of the program? Or research material for sociologists, cultural and religious studies scholars, who in a few years could look more intensively at what this concentrated confrontation with the last things says about a society that, between Greek aid packages and attacks on refugee homes, is clearly struggling to find a new footing?…
Kulturstreifzug The column reports on two "Tanz im August" guest performances, "Cantatatanz" in the Zionskirche, the opening premiere of "Nathan der Weise" at the DT and Wannsee readings. Voronia: At Tanz im August, the first thing to do is get sucked in. This week, dance dominated Berlin's playbills. On the home stretch of the "Tanz im August" festival, there were two guest performances by illustrious names. Voronia by the Catalan group La Veronal at the Schaubühne, however, disappointed completely. André Sokolowski (Kultura-extra) was annoyed by apocalyptic art honey, Frank Schmid tried to gain something from the vale of tears in his kulturradio review, but also had to draw the bitter conclusion that this evening tips over into "pathos-soaked mummery dance". While the audience takes their seats, the ensemble members from Barcelona are busy on stage, wiping the floor for the start of the season: dressed in white institutional clothing, they go to work thoroughly with vacuum cleaner, rag and mop. It would have been best if they had left it at that; the next seventy minutes are nothing but a lovelessly slapped-together smorgasbord of puzzled motifs from the history of art and religion. The evening is lost in irrelevance between an elevator to hell, a blank slate, a polar bear mask, a little boy, a lamb, and the brief appearance of four naked men desperately banging on the wall. The whole thing is underpinned by bombastic operatic sounds, the dancers writhing painfully in contortions. Surprisingly, not many more visitors left early. The advance praise was great; at "Tanz im August" 2014, the group "La Veronal" was considered the surprise hit of the festival with its previous piece Siena. Their new performance, however, thoroughly failed. Bul-ssang: Colorful dance guest performance from South Korea More coherent was the guest performance of the Korea National Contemporay Dance Company at the Volksbühne: "Bul-ssang" by Anh Aesson dates from 2009 and is a candy-colored mix that lets tradition and modernity collide. To the cool beats of DJ Soulscape (at stage right), the fifteen artists dance and jump through a course of Buddha statues and consumer temples. The attempt to show the Asian country's turmoil between the preservation of traditional values and Gangnam Style turbo-acceleration comes across a bit flat at times. Nevertheless, Ahn Aesson and her lively ensemble have to be credited for developing a coherent and entertaining choreography from their basic idea. But their concept would hardly have lasted more than 60 minutes. Cantata dance: Bach with dancer in the Zion church nave A marked contrast to this South Korean guest performance was provided by the group Nico and the Navigators with their revival of Cantatatanz (from 2011) in the Zion Church. Protestant, sparse austerity and the world-weariness of Johann Sebastian Bach's cantatas reigned in the sacred space that evening. Japanese dancer Yui Kawaguchi first enters the sanctuary veiled, almost as if under a burka, while countertenor Terry Wey sings his "Bist Du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh." (BWV 508) intones. The two circle each other for the next nearly 75 minutes, gradually taking up more space and navigating the entire nave, so that those in the front seats have the choice of craning their necks or, for long stretches, just taking in the music without the scenic images. This experiment, Bach's "ascetic simplicity" and "mathematical clarity" ("Nico and the Navigators" founder Nicola Hümpel in an interview with the city magazine tip) has its aesthetic appeal. Towards the end, however, the piece would have benefited from a stronger directorial touch, as some lengths crept in. What are we dealing with in this clash of dance and Christian baroque music in a religious space? Hümpel demarcates himself in the aforementioned interview: "No, because we are not dance. We have always been: neither. We are music theater in a certain, as yet undefined sense. In the meantime, we are no longer picture theater, either, because we think that's bad!" Consequently, this evening was not part of the "Tanz im August" festival, but stood entirely on its own in the Berlin cultural scene, supported by federal and state funds. Thematically, however, Cantatatanz, with its questions about dying, the afterlife and religion, ties in precisely with the Deutsche Theater Berlin's season motto "Der leere Himmel" ("Empty Heaven"), which artistic director Ulrich Khuon presented with his directors, dramaturges and actors at the "Früh-Stücke" matinee. A coincidence in the design of the program? Or research material for sociologists, cultural and religious studies scholars, who in a few years could look more closely at what this concentrated examination of the last things says about a society that, between aid packages for Greece and attacks on refugee homes, is clearly struggling to find a new footing? Andreas Kriegenburg lets Lessing's "Nathan the Wise" sink into clay and corny jokes at DT's opening of the season In the season-opening production of Nathan the Wise, there was little sign of a serious examination of the major themes that programmatically preceded this season. Andreas Kriegenburg has his ensemble (including above all his proven regulars Elias Arens, Jörg Pose and Natali Seelig) waddle across the stage for three hours in Buster Keaton style and rattle off classic texts far too quickly. The program announced the production as an "archaic comic". The result was an evening with clay-stained, pitiful characters that was not even half as funny as it would have liked to be. The Ring Parable, which for once Jörg Pose did not make fun of, seemed as out of place here as at a children's birthday party, which the SZ felt reminded of. After the break it didn't get much better, the rows had thinned out considerably in the meantime. On stage, the joking, pattering and waddling continued, accompanied by a mishmash of twenties light music, only briefly interrupted by mutual admonitions of the actors: "Lessing, biiiiiitttte!" For the final applause, instead of the big reconciliation and embrace scene in Lessing's original, they had come up with another gag: one after the other came forward - how could it be otherwise, of course, waddling again - and stared skeptically into the audience, their hands resting on their chins. That many in the audience looked back just as perplexed and with the same pose was at least one of the few funny moments of this season-opening premiere, which left a lot of room for improvement, as the Tagesspiegel rightly wrote. Rowohlt Birthday at Wannsee with Titanic, Horst Evers, Herfried Münkler, Ulrich Matthes and Tschick Those who needed some fresh air afterwards were well catered for in perfect summer weather at Wannsee: There, Rowohlt Berlin Verlag celebrated its 25th birthday party in the villa of the Literary Colloquium Berlin. There was a dense crowd on the narrow paths through the garden, and the audience shuttled between the terrace and the rotunda by the lake, where the publisher's figureheads read appetizers from their new publications. In his conversation with SZ editor Jens Bisky, political scientist Herfried Münkler resolutely opposed an overly idealistic view of the world: for example, he said, Egyptian President al-Sisi was an indispensable anchor of stability in the arc of crisis between Libya and Syria. Münkler rejected criticism from NGOs that the red carpet was rolled out for the authoritarian ruler during his state visit to Berlin in May, and warned that without his regime, the situation for Israel could become even more precarious. Bisky's conclusion that these were not particularly comforting prospects was countered by Münkler with his smug smile, saying that he was not a pastor and that consolation was not his job. As expected, the mood was much more cheerful during the appearances of Titanic editors-in-chief Oliver Maria Schmidt and Martin Sonneborn and year-end team member Horst Evers. The two satirists read a few samples from their soon-to-be-released best-of volume "Titanic Boygroup Greatest Hits - 20 Jahre Krawall für Deutschland" (Titanic Boygroup Greatest Hits - 20 Years of Riots for Germany): when they pretended to be the successor party to the NSDAP in the 1990s and demanded access to old accounts at Swiss banks; or when they parodied Twitter novice Thorsten Schäfer-Gümbel with a fake account and caused some confusion on the net during the Hessian state parliament election campaign. Horst Evers then made the audience laugh with a few samples of his short stories about the absurdities of everyday life: he reckoned with the adversities of a reading tour to the Wilstermarsch region because of an overambitious organizer and let a mail dialogue about an online massage lead to a grotesque fantasy story about rubber trees with a CIA spy mission The highlight of the long afternoon and evening was the reading of some passages from Wolfgang Herrndorf's novel Tschick by Ulrich Matthes. There's probably no need to advertise this book anymore: the laconic tone of this Brandenburg trip by three pubescents full of whimsical supporting characters manages, even when rereading and listening to it, to touch its audience one moment and make them laugh the next. Matthes reported that when the book was published, he stayed up late into the night reading it and suggested to the Intendant that he read it at the Deutsches Theater in Berlin. The stage version with Sven Fricke, Thorsten Hierse and Wiebke Mollenhauer has become a long-running hit since its premiere in 2011, and the next performances at the Kammerspiele are already sold out again. The German Stage Association reported in a season review that Tschick was even performed more often than Goethe's Faust.
Cantatatanz” is a sensually eroticizing presentation of Bach’s sacred music, with which the Berlin theater company “Nico and the Navigators” (director and concept: Nicola Hümpel) claims its interpretive sovereignty to, with and about Bach, without ever questioning the musical statement, the tonal and artistic beauty of Bach’s music.
The Christuskirche in Wittenberg is not a beauty, both externally and internally. But it can be used acoustically for concert events of a special kind, as happened on Saturday with "Cantatatanz" as part of the International Music Festival "Heaven on Earth" in Wittenberg. "Cantatatanz" is a sensually eroticizing presentation of Bach's sacred music, with which the Berlin theater company "Nico and the Navigators" (director and concept: Nicola Hümpel) claims its interpretive sovereignty to, with and about Bach, without ever questioning the musical statement, the tonal and artistic beauty of Bach's music. Grandiose dancer For the musical subject was provided by a wonderful Baroque ensemble (Mayumi Hirasaki, violin, Jakob David Rattinger, viola da gamba, Eugène Michelangeli, organ and harpsichord) together with countertenor Terry Wey, whose voice alone was beguiling. Wey and the dancer Yui Kawaguchi formed the gestural center of the interpretation and reinterpretation of the texts, which thereby perhaps cast doubt on the seriousness of their message, but not on the musical message. The center of the stage was formed by the podium-like raised chancel, on which four pews were draped, varying in their arrangement according to the situation. The gallery as well as the central and side aisles of the nave were also included. Here, Yui Kawaguchi, a dancing beauty, fluttering at times, always pleasing the eroticizing illustrations, had the effect of a butterfly. Lovely suggestions of seduction complemented the scenario. "Bist du bei mir, geh ich mit Freuden zum Sterben und zu meiner Ruh" (from BWV 508), began mysteriously Terry Wey together with Kawaguchi like a declaration of love to Anna Magdalena. In this, the dancing touches, the hands expressed a sensuality that could describe Bach's intimate relationship with his second wife Anna Magdalena. The singing had a heavenly attitude there. Vocal excellence They showed saucy flirtation, on the other hand, in "Widerstehe doch der Sünde, sonst ergreife dich ihr Gift," in which Terry Wey from the Oculi Cantata once again showcased his vocal excellence. The meeting of this troupe with the heavenly beauty of this almost otherworldly countertenor was a delight. The amused chuckling of the audience in view of this light-hearted spirituality, which gave the text a different counterpart, could not be avoided - and it should not. Splendid then was the scenic portrayal of sometimes rowdy, disinterested listeners during the performance of a violin chaconne played hauntingly by Mayumi Hirasaki. A splendid reflection of listeners as they can display collective ignorance. In the Goldberg Variations, Yui Kawaguchi showed not only acrobatic finesse in her dance as she gallantly arrived under the harpsichord to filigree open the laces of the harpsichordist Michelangeli's right shoe with her feet, then "undress" the foot and unleash in harmony a tête-à-tête for three feet, mind you - while playing the harpsichord. You know that "footsie" thing somehow. The lament "Ach dass ich Wassers g'nug hätte" by Johann Christoph Bach was also wonderful, disarmingly startling the audience out of its dreamy doze with a pithy, piercing cry from Michelangeli, as if to say, "Boy, it's enough"! Floating benches The brilliant illumination of the scenery (Ingo Nieländer, Fabian Bleisch) should not go unmentioned, which gave the whole a transcendence from the width into an infinite height: The pews literally floated one after the other from the horizontal into a column-like vertical, shiftable in their lightness, as if they wanted to show an interpretation in the infinite. Very well done, unfortunately in front of a small audience. Erhard Hellwig-Kühn, 10.07.2012
…this production manifests a profound understanding of Bach and the courage to take on an unconventional approach…
What does the Protestant humility of Bach have to do with secularised modernity? The theatre company Nico and the Navigators look into in this question in their staged concert “Cantatatanz”. The Navigators do not shy away from a rather audacious face-off with the venerable maestro: contrasted with the merry dance music of his contemporary Marais, played on the viola da gamba (Jakob David Rattinger), the titan of baroque looks to be stilted and out-dated. But thanks to a large pepper mill and all the fun of dancing and performing, the Navigators add a good pinch of piquancy to the heavy fare. "Nico and the Navigators" delve into the classic Bach repertoire with wit and panache. The Berlin-based theatre ensemble have created a staged concert in the style of a baroque pasticcio: director Nicola Hümpel turns popular arias and instrumental works of the saint of the festival into spellbinding images. Oliver Proske's stage, which is filled with church pews functioning as mobile pieces of the stage scenery, intensifies the special atmosphere of the sacred building, allowing the original historical context of the Bach cantatas to come to the fore and initiating a precise reading of the text. The director also draws many a lighter moment out of this tribute to Bach, caricaturing for example the pianist's severe tutor and the vocal exercises adopted by singers. The metaphorical images, slapstick and farce mean the production has a twinkle in its eye that lends this staged concert an enormous vitality. In this way Hümpel is able to illuminate different facets of Bach's oeuvre and develop an exciting concert-drama in which the on-stage action grips the audience without ever detracting from the musical quality. With her striking facial expressions and a captivating physical expressiveness, Yui Kawaguchi lends the production a playful freshness. The stylised lighting illuminates singers who perform the arias convincingly, beautifully interpreting the emotions and showing a flair for a quite charming dissonance. Terry Wey pleads with intensity in "Have mercy, my God", as the baroque violinists intone sighs on their instruments – this production manifests a profound understanding of Bach and the courage to take on an unconventional approach.
…Through metaphorical images, slapstick and little farces, the production had a wink in it, which gave the staged concert evening an enormous liveliness… An understanding of Bach with depth and the courage for an unconventional approach…
The Berlin company Nico and the Navigators danced to works from the Bach era in Erfurt's Predigerkirche as part of the Thuringian Bach Weeks. Erfurt. With esprit and verve, "Nico and the Navigators" dedicated themselves to evergreens of the Bach era in an in-house production of the Thuringian Bach Weeks on the last weekend of the festival. The Berlin theater ensemble created a scenic concert evening based on baroque pastiche practice: director Nicola Hümpel transformed popular arias and instrumental works by the festival saint into images of fascinating power. Like a beggar, the dancer Yui Kawaguchi dragged herself from the rood screen of the Predigerkirche Erfurt up the stairs to the erected stage, there to disrupt the contemplative devotion of a monk-like countertenor and three musicians as a playful seducer. Oliver Proskes' stage intensified the special atmosphere of the sacred building with pews that functioned as movable backdrops, forcing the historical context of the Bach cantatas' origins and initiating a close reading of the text. The monk (Terry Wey) wrapped his search for God in soft litter in the aria "Bist du bei mir." In keeping with the aria's content, the director developed an elegant movement language of hands for it, with which the dancer began to spin her seductive threads. The countertenor countered her ensnarement with the aria "Widerstehe doch der Sünde," which drove Yui Kawaguchi into the center aisle of the nave. She then disrupted the playing of gambist Jakob David Rattinger with saucy charm before shimmying along the harpsichord to Eugène Michelangeli. Finally, an organ inferno interrupted the sinful goings-on, and contrapuntal order returned to the Predigerkirche with Bach's Chaconne, in a dance-like interpretation by Mayumi Hirasaki. Tap to the music of the gambist Terry Wey tried to find his "Vergnügte Ruh" again with walking monk chant full of tenderness, but the dancer animated the gambist to a popular music of Bach's contemporary Marais, to which she tap-danced with exuberance. With a heartfelt Bach meditation on the harpsichord, Michelangeli finally converted the dance-addict to godliness. The director also extracted many light-hearted moments from the Bach study, caricaturing the pianists' hard piano school and some singers' addiction to top notes. Through metaphorical images, slapstick and small farces, the production had a twinkle in its eye, which gave the staged concert evening an enormous liveliness. At the pulpit, on the other hand, critical tones also sounded in pantomime, questioning speech prohibitions, for example. Hümpel thus illuminated various facets of Bach's oeuvre and used them to develop an exciting concert dramaturgy in which the scenic action was captivating but never detracted from the musical quality. With strong facial expressions and captivating physical expressiveness, Yui Kawaguchi lent playful freshness to the production. With sophisticated lighting direction, the musicians were convincing in the arias with the most beautiful interpretation of affect and delightful dissonance leading. Terry Wey pleaded intensely in "Erbarme dich, mein Gott," to which the baroque violinists intoned instrumental sighs - Bach's understanding with depth and courage for unconventional confrontation.
…scenes in which human beings discover each other in a music made in God’s honour…
When the divine reveals itself in pure superhuman artistic effort, then, in baroque music, it is inextricably linked with one name: Johann Sebastian Bach. No other composer equated soundscapes so boldly and decidedly with the most profound creeds; no other put his genius so much to the service of his God. In their staged concert "Cantatatanz", the ensemble Nico and the Navigators provide an updated view of his sprawling legacy. A highlight in all this is Oliver Proske's stage design: in the beginning, the old church pews counter the perspective of the audience-congregation, but gradually the hard Protestant seats go from the horizontal to the vertical position, becoming pillars that can be effortlessly rotated and shifted around. They provide the performers with plenty of scope for play – from trying to climb up them, using the armrests to loom over the collective ignorance below, while the famous violin chaconne plays, to a kind of dreamy sliding about. The musicians are included in the action to a greater degree, taking part in scenes in which human beings discover each other in a music made in God's honour.
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