Eating a Man

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival
Lawrence Batley Theatre
November 19, 2024

A performance opera for one singer and five musicians

With Eating a Man, Composer Christian Winther Christensen and stage director Anna Berit Asp Christensen have embarked on a musical and personal voyage exploring the concept of the unknown and the alien. The investigation has its starting point in Winther Christensen’s ten-year-old mocumentary-work Documentation about Apu Sakar, wherein Winther Christensen agrees to eat an Indian man after his death. The purpose of the ritual is to honour the deceased by letting his spirit live on through the consumption. 

Now, ten years later, the work has been reimagined by Scenatet and new questions have emerged: questions concerning the symbolic meaning of cannibalism, the possibility of honorable cultural exchange, and the nature of the experience of alienation. Eating a Man does not give any definitive answers but allows the audience not only to answer these uncomfortable questions for themselves, but also to interrogate the root of this uncomfortability. 

Eating a Man is a performance opera commissioned and produced by Scenatet with support from November Music, SPOR festival, and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival. The work was premiered at SPOR festival September 2021 and will tour to November Music November 2023, and HCMF, November 2024.

Reviews

Seismograf

“Christensen’s music teases the attention rather than demanding it in a big forte fortissimo. Similarly, it was also clear that something important is at stake in Eating a Man. But it was liberatingly unclear whether the gaze is directed at Christensen himself as a form of cathartic self-insight or at a prejudiced and xenophobic outside world”.

Credits

Performers: My Hellgren (vlc), Vicky Wright (cl), Rowland Sutherland (fl), Matias Seibæk (perc), Fei Nie (pno), Kasia Ziminska (vio), Clara Stensgaard (voc)
Composer: Christian Winther Christensen
Staging and direction: Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Video: Christian Winther Christensen and Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Light design: Maria Pi Houmann
Technical Manager: Mette Hornbek Hansen
Performance images: Marc Fluri

Supported by

The Creative Europe programme of the European Union, Sounds Now, The Danish Arts Foundation, Augustinus Fonden, KODA Cultur and William Demant Fonden.


Some Songs

Only Birds Know How to Call the Sun and They Do It Every Morning

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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SPOR Festival
Turkis
21:00 Saturday May 25, 2024

Tickets

Frequenz_. Festival
KulturForum
20:00 Tuesday May 28, 2024

Tickets

KM28
Karl-Marx-Straße 28, Berlin
20:00 Thurday May 30, 2024

Tickets

If a voice assistant were to learn to speak as a human infant does, through vocal experimentation and play, what might that sound like? And if this learning process were to unfold in the context of an experimental avant-fusion band, what kind of unexpected and unconventional music might be the result?

Questions such as these are interrogated and – perhaps – even answered throughout composer Kaj Duncan David’s new work bearing the playfully unassuming title, Some Songs, which was commissioned and produced by Scenatet in collaboration with Frequenz Festival. The music takes the listener on a trip through places that are at once both humorous and delicately moving. Starting where David’s solo album All Culture Is Dissolving (2021) left off, this new concert-length work takes his exploration of the link between artificiality and reality to its next logical step. Inspired by emergent AI-technology and cyber-cultural references ranging from vaporwave aesthetics and techno-shamanistic visions to the sound design of computer games, Some Songs deconstructs the dichotomy between human and non-human.

Performing vocals and keys himself, Kaj Duncan David will be leading a small electro-quartet completed by EWI (electronic wind instrument), MIDI percussion, and electric guitar. The work is commissioned by SPOR festival and Frequenz Festival and will be premiered at SPOR festival May 2024 and will tour to Frequenz Festival, Kiel and KM28, Berlin May 2024 and HCMF November 2024.

Credits

Performers: Vicky Wright (EWI), Mikkel Schou (gui), Matias Seibæk (perc), Kaj Duncan David (pno & voc)
Composer: 
Kaj Duncan David
Text: Maikon Kempinski

Supported by

Creative Europe programme of the European Union, Sounds Now, Danish Arts Foundation and KODA Culture.


Backyard Opera

Backyard Opera

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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Backyard Opera is a site-specific outdoor opera installation created in a collaboration between composer Bent Sørensen and stage director Anna Berit Asp Christensen, artistic director of Scenatet. After it was premiered at Copenhagen Opera Festival August 2021, Backyard Opera received a glowing review from Information, where it was described as a “beautiful opera about loneliness”.

Backyard Opera is inspired by the French author George Perec’s postmodern novel Life: A User’s Manual, which in stunning detail attempts to give an account of the many shapes life takes in a Parisian apartment block. Similarly, Backyard Opera sucks the audience into the backyard’s cacophonous catalog of lives and destinies. The opera unfolds as a fragmentary series of peepholes into the lives behind the many facades that make up a Copenhagen backyard.

For several years, Sørensen and Christensen have collected a wide range of sounds, quotes, and fragments. Small remnants of life that each take part in constituting Backyard Opera’s kaleidoscopic puzzle of passions, disappointments, illusions, and (self)deceptions.

Reviews

Information

“The backyard tells stories about people, close, next to, on top of each other, and about their fragile connections. About love that is as fragile as eggs and cheerful as bubbles, and about how each of us are in our bubble, just as our beloved is in his bubble, sleeping, at work, out of our lives. There is no such thing as one big omelette: we can never be anything but eggs lined up close together. Neighbors”.

“Beautiful opera installation let the audience in for reflections on our lives and how close to each other we can really get, a contemplative universe with song and music and a reality close to reality [that] was experienced as […] a beautiful opera about loneliness”

Credits

Idea & concept: Bent Sørensen and Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Libretto, scenography and sound design: Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Musical composition and sound design: Bent Sørensen
Sung lyrics / excerpts: Tomas Espedal, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Production management and technical direction: Janus Jensen and Peter Barnow
Light design: Morten Hembo
Sound engineer: Jonas Kirkegaard
Producer: Mette Hornbek Hansen
Sound supervisor: Sebastian Vinther Olsen
Musicians: Signe Asmussen, soprano with Anna Melander, Jonas Frølund, Therese Iversen, Oriol Pares, Katerina Anagnostidou, Fei Nie, Mikkel Egelund, Louise Gorm, Iben Teilmann and Lea Emilie Brøndal Pedersen
Conductor: James Sherlock
Voice actors: Birgitte Prins, Camilla Gottschalck, Charlotte Munksgaard, Claus Flygare, Henrik Birch, Louise Pøhler, Mikkel Trier Rygaard, Morten Klode, Rasmus Hougaard, René Kruse, Sophie Zinckernagel and Søs Uldall-Ekmann
Photo: Marc Fluri

Supported by

Danish Arts Fundation, Augustinus Fonden, KODA Culture, Aage og Johanne Louis-Hansens Fond and Copenhagen Opera Festival.


Gaze for Gaze

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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Gaze for Gaze is an opera created by Danish composer Niels Rønsholdt in collaboration with the music- and performance ensemble Scenatet.

While thematically staying within the tragically lovestruck territory that is traditionally occupied by opera, Gaze for Gaze is, stylistically, a total reimagining of what one would traditionally expect an opera to be. Both Scenatet and Niels Rønsholdt have continuously explored different ways to tear down the traditional boundaries separating composer, performer, and audience. Gaze for Gaze is no exception.

Throughout, the text of the opera is dispersed among the members of the audience, literally blurring the lines between ensemble and audience. Moreover, the music is packed with references not only to the opera tradition but also to popular music, rendering the piece a mosaic of influences as much as it is an authorial work.

Not even the aesthetic dimensions of the opera retain their traditional roles. Rather than functioning simply as a form of visual embellishment, the elaborate and nuanced light design functions as a dramaturgical element intrinsic to the very content of the opera.

What we are left with, as Politiken wrote in a highly positive review after the world premiere of the opera in 2017, is an opera that is at once very different and very successful.

Gaze for Gaze is commissioned and produced by Scenatet and was presented at SPOR festival 2018 and at Warsaw Autumn in 2019.

Duration: 90 min

Reviews

Politiken

“I left the hall both stunned and excited. ‘Blik for Blik’ was both very different and very successful. Perhaps as a slow, meditative mix of traditional Japanese noh-theatre, good Danish circle pedagogy – where everyone sings according to their beak – and curious minimalist avant-garde.”

Credits

Composer and text: Niels Rønsholdt
Light design: Mikkel Larsen
Sound technician: Anders Ørbæk
Performers: Scenatet
Soloist: Daniel Gloger and Ida Urd Damm Brammning

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation and KODA Culture


Harsh, dear

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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Harsh, dear is a site-specific musical theatre performance created by Brazilian born composer Marcela Lucatelli in collaboration with seven performers from Scenatet, who commissioned the work. Described by Politiken as an abundance of impressions, the performance explores the immensely complex social and relational situations that can emerge when art is placed in a public space. Using the harsh industrial architecture of Refshaleøen as its backdrop and driven by eight performers armed with percussion, vocals, and – most importantly – a total lack of restrictions, the audience are allowed into a space where the distinction between order and chaos seems to collapse.

For three hours, the audience are enabled to move around freely between the performers and watch, listen, and interact with the performance from every possible angle. The result is an experience that can only be described as overwhelming: A mosaic-like amalgamation of an austere environment of bricks, steel, and concrete inhabited mostly by heavy machinery, unbridled creativity, and human drive. Throughout, the audience is forced to consider the past and the future of an environment which they otherwise, most likely, would not find worthy of thought.

Harsh, dear is an outdoor site-specific performance where the audience can move freely and come and go as they please.

Duration: 3 hours

Harsh, dear is initiated, commissioned and produced by Scenatet in collaboration with Marcela Lucatelli.

Reviews

Politiken

“Nothing ventured, nothing gained’, said a wise graffiti on a wall behind Lucatelli, which fit perfectly. She risked it all. It’s great that Lucatelli and Scenatet’s talented musicians will gamble wildly and walk the plank in solidarity with the works they perform”.

Credits

Concept and composition: Marcela Lucatelli
Performers: Anne Marie Hjort Christiansen, Gianluca Elia, Katerina Anagnostidou, Marta Soggetti, Mette Hommel, Michael Hope, Utku Tavil and Marcela Lucatelli
Artistic director: Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Sound designer: Gianluca Elia
Lighting designer: Jari Matsi

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation, Augustinus Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fonden, William Demant Fonden and KODA Culture


Memoriam

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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A symbiosis of music and movement, Memorium emerged from a collaboration between the performance ensemble Scenatet, the Greek-Swedish choreographer Tim Matiakis, the Danish composer Niels Rønsholdt, and the world-renowned house dancer Marie Kaae Schmidt. The collaboration was described as “extraordinarily well-balanced” by the jury of CPH STAGE, who selected Memoriam for their international program and praised the ability of the performance to explore the intrinsic loneliness of human existence while creating a sense of magical interconnectedness between the performers on stage.

Memoriam gives insight into the routines, practices, and memories of a secret community. The audience enter an experience where immersive sonic landscapes, colored textiles and choreography create the sensation of a timeline that, while strikingly coherent, can be experienced as situated in both past and future. The link between the two is the space explored by Memoriam. Working with the mirror as both an important aesthetic device and a metaphor, the performance unfolds as a sensuous universe of both reminiscences and premonitions.

The work was premiered at MUSIKHUSET Copenhagen 2022. 
In 2023 Memoriam was selected for CPH STAGE International program. The international jury said:

“This collaboration is extraordinarily well-balanced – between unusual collaborators such as one of Denmark’s best house dancers, a music ensemble playing new compositional music while all the creatures are dressed in a future universe. Almost ironically, this work tells the story of how all human relationships contain a paradoxical loneliness in a way that makes all the future creatures on stage seem almost magically connected.”

Memoriam is an interdisciplinary performance with five performing musicians and one dancer.

Duration 60 min

Memoriam is initiated, commissioned and produced by Scenatet.

Reviews

Bastard

“MEMORIAM is performing arts poetry that explodes genres and times
MEMORIAM are universes of abstraction that are not captured by fixed sentences
MEMORIAM are worlds of three-dimensional extension, soundscapes and curved textiles 
MEMORIAM calls for bodily texts that transform wordlessness”

Iscene.dk

“As an experimental ensemble, Scenatet is interested in staging and exploring space in order to break away from conventional concert formats. They like to mix contrasting genres and styles, and emphasize the great range in new music.”

Kulturkupeen.dk

“It is essentially a Gesamtkunstwerk, where the individual elements are basically equated with equal value. That is the music, the words, the musicians and the dancer and the “image”. A total of 6 people perform on the beautiful playground: a mirror floor.”

Den 4. Væg

“It is incredibly fine and poignant, but at the same time abstract and indefinable. It is simply something that needs to be experienced, not retold.”

Politiken

“Memoriam’ mourns something that has been lost, and perhaps it is language. Perhaps it is the mind.”

Sceneblog

“Anna Berit Asp Christensen and the avant-garde ensemble Scenatet have all the prerequisites to close in on themselves, with the overload of artistic talent and expertise that the members together possess. They could be a nerdy research team sitting in a dusty library, developing artistic formulas that posterity would praise them for and that artists would follow for many years. But Scenatet doesn’t close in on itself, they invite, they lure, they develop and they create, they take their talent seriously, and they live up to the old adage nobility obliges – modernly rethought.”

Credits

Concept and staging: 
Niels Rønsholdt, Tim Matiakis and Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Music and text: 
Niels Rønsholdt
Choreography:
 Tim Matiakis
Dancer: 
Marie Kaae Schmidt
Performing musicians: 
Signe Asmussen (voc), Mathias Monrad Møller (voc), Anna Jalving/Kasia Ziminska (vio & vla), Katrine Grarup Elbo (vio), Matias Seibæk (perc)
Lightdesign: Jonatan Winbo
Lighttechnician: Imre Zsibrik
Costumes and styling: Ylva Falk
Make-up and hair: Leila Belangeon Bouaziz
Artistic director: Anna Berit Asp Christensen

The performance is created in close collaboration between all above.

Supported by

Statens Kunstfond, Augustinus Fonden, Det Obelske Familiefond, KODA Culture, Knud Højgaards Fond, 15 Juni Fonden, The City of Copenhagen, William Demant Fonden.


Interludium

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Interludium is a musical performance without sound. Created in collaboration with composer Jeppe Ernst, the performance is a striking example of this composer’s deeply original dogma of removing the most fundamental constituents of music – the sound – in order to question the hegemony of the ear and allow for the other four senses to come into play.

When Scenatet premiered the performance at SPOR Festival 2020, a review from kunsten.dk described it as “a welcome reminder of why we need art and music, not least the kind that doesn’t give us what we expect or ruffles our feathers, but that surprises and awakens us”. The aim of the performance is exactly that. As a study of basic social power relations, Interludium examines the false dichotomy between the uniform and the diverse as well as between the active performer and the passive observer. The very title, Interludium, is indicative of the way in which the performance carves a space in between each side of these binaries.

What unites and separates human beings as archetypes and individuals? How do we change the spaces we find ourselves in? Centered around six bodies moving slowly and gracefully across an open space, the performance becomes as a ceremonial interlude, a parenthesis in time and a break from the norm, wherein in an answer to these difficult questions may arise.

The work was premiered at SPOR festival September 2020 and has subsequently been performed at CPH STAGE 2021 and Passage festival 2023.

Duration 35 min, three performances in a row is recommended.

Interludium is commissioned and produced by Scenatet.

Reviews

Kunsten.nu

“For me, [Scenatet’s premiere of] Interludium was a welcome reminder of why we need art and music, not least the kind that doesn’t give us what we expect or ruffle our feathers, but that surprises and awakens us [ ..] 
Jeppe Ernst is perhaps one of the most hyped composers […]. And with good reason. In recent years, he has distinguished himself by working with what can be called creative reduction. In several cases he has operated with a dogma of removing the supporting pillar of music: namely the sound. In this way, he has created compositions that are aimed at other senses and at the social space that arises between the work and the recipient, and the audience. In this way, he leaves his audience with fundamental questions about what was otherwise taken for granted – that a concert should primarily be heard, for example.”

Credits

Performers: Mikkel Egelund, Katerina Anagnostidou, Thórgunnur Anna Örnólfsdóttir, Lorenzo Colombo, Matias Seibæk, Marta Soggetti
Composer: Jeppe Ernst
Artistic Director: Anna Berit Asp Christensen
Photo: Anne Birch Basse, Marc Fluri

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation, KODA Culture, Augustinus Fonden and Den Obelske Familiefond.


Me Quitte

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  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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Danish composer Niels Rønsholdt’s song cycle Me Quitte is an ode to love at its most excruciatingly, devastatingly painful and bleak. Written to be performed by the music- and performance ensemble Scenatet along with the Faroese singer Anna Katrin Øssursdóttir Egilstrøð and Rønsholdt himself, the work was first premiered at SPOR Festival in 2013 and then released as a studio album by the esteemed record label Dacapo in 2016.

Taking as its point of departure one of the most iconic love songs of all time, Jacques Brel’s ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’, the surreal, eleven-part song cycle distorts the legendary chanson like a series of fun house mirrors: pulling the lyrics apart and singing them – literally – in reverse. More than an interpretation of Brel’s ballad, ‘Me Quitte’ appears to be haunted by the song, condemned to forever wander through the increasingly mysterious maze of its lyrics.

Upon the release of the album, the Danish daily newspaper Information praised the work and wrote: “Me Quitte is the bearer of a rare beauty. With the gibberish of inversion, it speaks directly to the soul. Sends small grey arrows into the heart. Into solar plexus. It pierces our conception, and it leaves us both cleansed and confused.”

Reviews

Information

“Me Quitte is the bearer of a rare beauty. Through the nonsensical language of reversed speech, it speaks directly to the soul. Sends little gray arrows into the heart. Into the solar plexus. It pierces our imaginations and leaves us both cleansed and confused.”

Credits

Vocal soloist: Ida Urd Damm Bramming og Niels Rønsholdt together with Scenatet Performers
Composer: Niels Rønsholdt

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation, KODA Cultur, Sonning Fonden and Knud Højgaards Fonden.


Passion

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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On the one hand, Danish composer Christian Winther Christensen’s Passion is clearly situated within the tradition of western classical music. From the Baroque to the Avant Garde; from Bach to Rossini to Poulenc: Since the very beginning of musical notation, composers have recast the crucifixion of Christ into a wide array of musical works. On the other hand, Christensen’s Passion is highly unusual: Situated in front of an enormous screen, it is the audience members themselves who are gradually guided into their own crucifixion with the help of eight performers from Scenatet.

In a remarkable fusion of absurdity and touching sincerity, the performance explores the intersection of sacrifice and ecstasy – an intersection that could be described as the very emotional core not only of religious experience and practice, but also of human existence. Passion combines a wildly conceptual idea with a deeply emotive musical backdrop consisting of relentlessly progressing percussion and siren-like cries of trombone. Described by Politiken as a completely unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime experience, the performance utilizes this highly distinctive combination of theatrics and music to examine ancient primordial themes – the nature of suffering; love of one’s neighbor – in a completely new way.

Passion is an interactive performance for eight musicians and a limited number of audience members per performance. The work is repeated three times per performance day.

Duration: 30 min

Passion is initiated, commissioned and produced by Scenatet.

Reviews

Politiken

“I have never experienced anything like it. To feel the audience faithfully carry out the instructions and become the visual side of the performance while concentrating on doing everything right was completely unfamiliar. Like moving back and forth across the line between being a cast member and the audience again and again. To both give and take at the same time was a very special pleasure”.

Credits

Concept and composition: Christian Winther Christensen
Performers: Matias Seibæk, David Hildebrandt, Anders Frandsen, Robert Sylta, Gabriel Boezi Gjerpe, Therese Iversen, Erica Giacoletto and Bárá Gísladottír.
Sound- and video technology: Mikael Tobias
Artistic director: Anna Berit Asp Christense

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation and KODA Culture


The Bunny Shack

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  • Scenatet presents
  • Interludium
  • by Jeppe Ernst
  • Passage Festival
  • August 6, 2023

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There is something distinctly uncanny about the child’s stuffed animal. Visibly grubby and smeared in spit, tears, and other abject fluids, the stuffed animal is nonetheless the object of unbridled affection. As a child, the Swedish born composer, cellist, and performer Alexandra Hallén was particularly attached to Byggis, a stuffed bunny which was tragically lost. Simultaneously, Hallén had a habit of falling flat on her face, which caused her teeth to resemble – you guessed it – a bunny.

Hallén’s The Bunny Shack, which was premiered at SPOR Festival 2023, is the work of an artist coming to terms with these painful childhood experiences. In a liberating performance which not only disbands the polarity of performer and audience but also of human artist and stuffed animal, what unfolds is nothing short of an adventure: “Hello, dear. It’s me, the bunny. I’ve prepared something special for you. Do you want to be a part of the great egg hunt? The rules are simple, just follow them”.

The Bunny Shack is a concert installation with five performing musicians and audience moving freely.

Duration: 60 min

Credits

Created by: Kaninen and Alexandra Hallén
Performers: Vicky Wright, Matias Seibæk, Anne Eisensee and Kaninen
Photo & Video: Kaninen

Supported by

Scenatet, SPOR festival and The Royal Academy of Music