Cantus

Cantus

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Copenhagen
September, 2024
World premiere of a new work by Jeppe Ernst

Cantus (Bind III) is a non-verbal choir-piece commissioned by the Scenatet and composed by the ensemble’s recurring collaborator, Jeppe Ernst. The piece is a testament to the fruitfulness of the collaboration between Scenatet and Ernst, as well as an example of their joint effort to challenge preconceived notions of what classical music and drama is and can be.

In a study of social dynamics and intersubjective relationships, ten musicians staged as a choir perform a non-verbal script consisting of an explosion of gestures, touches and strokes. An opera of sorts, Cantus is an inquiry into the ineffability of the loneliness inherent to human existence. How intimate, how close can we be to someone, the piece seems to ask, while still feeling radically disparate and alienated from them??

Cantus proposes radical stylistic devices that suggest a brand-new approach to opera and performance. Essential for both Scenatet and Ernst is the attempt to preserve the existential and emotional depth that has always been at the core of an art form such as opera while simultaneously daring to challenge its deep-seated stylistic conventions. Cantus is yet another example of this endeavor.

Supported by

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


Lohengrin

Lohengrin

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

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Italian composer Salvatore Sciarrino’s Lohengrin is an enigmatic work: the opera, based on a text by the French symbolist Jules Lafourge, is often seen as a parody of Wagner’s grand, romantic opera of the same name, but Sciarrino’s work, however, is not simply a comic and ironic commentary of Wagner’s larger than life aesthetic. Rather, Sciarrino continues what Lafourge had already begun, which is to write the unconscious into the story and thus turn the characters into desiring subjects. Sciarrino’s Lohengrin is, like Wagner’s, a tragedy, but for Sciarrino, the tragic is an unstable and ambivalent concept that is constantly forced into dialogue with the grotesque and the ridiculous.

In a cross-aesthetic live installation, Scenatet challenges and reinterprets Sciarrino’s opera. The existing structure of the score is broken down and recomposed in a unique interaction with space, sound, light, video, body, and voice. The audience is invited to enter a world of sound that moves from speaker to speaker in a musical exploration of ‘the other’: ‘the other’ as something both threatening and alluring, ‘the other’ as something we don’t understand and which we can either choose to reject or allow to expand our horizons. This is precisely the true tragedy in Sciarrino’s opera: our inability to partake in a mutual relationship with ‘the other’ as someone inherently different from us. In this way, Lohengrin is a silent invitation to open our mind in the encounter with ‘the other’.

Premiere 2024.

Supported by

The Danish Arts Foundation, Augustinus Fonden, 15. Juni Fonden, Knud Højgaards Fonds, Sonning Fonden and William Demant Fonden.


The Weather in Us

The Weather in Us

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

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The Weather in Us is an interdisciplinary performance for fifteen musicians, singers, and performers created by Scenatet in collaboration with composer Bára Gísladóttir and choreographer Margrét Bjarnadóttir. Exploring the deep, primordial interconnectedness between human life and the weather, this performance asks a series of difficult but simultaneously incredibly urgent questions about what it means to be a human being in the time of climate change.

Will the increasingly extreme weather phenomena motivate people to respond to the climate crisis? Or are we all simply too affected by that which the psychologist Peter Kahn has named “environmental generational amnesia” – a term describing the way in which each generation tends to regard the state of nature they were born into as ‘natural’, ‘undamaged’, and ‘eternal’. Are we unable to respond to climate change for the simple reason that we haven’t personally perceived the state of the world that these changes are measured against?

What does it mean, not simply for our physical environment but for who we are as human beings, that nature, the climate, and the weather is changing at a pace that is at once increasingly rapid and yet at the same time nearly imperceptible? That is the question that The Weather in Us attempts to interrogate.

The work is a commission by Scenatet in collation with SPOR festival (DK), Ultima Festival, (NO) and HELLERAU (DE).

Premiere May 2025.

Supported by

Danish Arts Foundation and KODA Culture.