World premiere of music theatre.
The composition of Michal Rataj’s A Study of Aphasia mixes music and sounds with the texts of Katharina Schmitt, focusing on spatial and performative aspects of contemporary music-theatre. It is a music-theatre performance for mezzosoprano, violoncello, female vocal quartet, live electronics and one actress. In his book Children’s Speech and Aphasia (1918), the Austrian linguist and founder of logopaedics, Emil Fröschels, describes the relationship between the development of language skills among children, speech impediments and psychology. Among other topics, Fröschels mainly focuses on the area of speech loss or aphasia. Inspired by Fröschels’ book and one particular scene from Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (the one in which the actress loses her voice), Schmitt and Rataj explore language, speech and voice. For them, the question, “who speaks?” is just as important as the question, “who cannot speak?” or, “who cannot be heard?” The performance is concerned with the study of voice as a fundamental element of identity. The dramaturgical framework is based on a situation between a mute (speechless) character and a speaking one, which results in a palette of different vocal expressions such as singing, Sprechgesang (speech-song), whispering, speaking and screaming. The states between speaking and lack of speech are presented in relation to the psychology of the characters. The spatial sound of the performance mirrors them.
This opera is a part of the “NODO / New Opera Days Ostrava festival.” A festival pass for special price is available here.