Carl Orff (1895 – 1982)
Opera De temporum fine comoedia (1973)
Director — Anna Guseva
Production Designer — Yulia Orlova
Choreographer — Anastasia Peshkova
Costume Designer — Sergey Illarionov
Lighting designer — Ivan Vinogradov
Video Design — 2BLCK
General Producer — Ekaterina Arsenyeva
Music Director and Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
Performed by the musicAeterna Choir and Orchestra, guest soloists, and performers
The central event of the Diaghilev+ Festival will be the production premiered at the Diaghilev Festival in the summer of 2022 and nominated for the Russian national award Golden Mask-2022 in five nominations. The stage version of The Mystery on the End of Time (De Temporum Fine Comoedia) – the pinnacle of Carl Orff’s late work – fits eternal themes into the post-industrial context of the Shpagin Plant and our time.
Director Anna Guseva, choreographer Anastasia Peshkova, artist Yulia Orlova, and costume designer Sergey Illarionov have conceived the production as a performance based on physical theatre. In the factory space, the modern version of the ancient doctrine of Apocatastasis, the universal salvation, is unfolding energetically, and at the same time slowly, dramatically, but also meditatively: why did people kill God? Can they be forgiven? What awaits the world at the moment of the Apocalypse? The performance interprets eternal questions in a new way, but in its core strictly follows the ideas of the reformer of the musical theatre Carl Orff.
Throughout his life Orff was developing a special type of musical theatre where he synthesized relatively simple musical forms, allegedly unprofessional singing, dance, dramatic acting, and recitation in search of the art’s proto-language. The composer called this synthesis “world theatre”, omitting the word “music” itself. Meanwhile, music plays a key role in his mysteries. Orff’s orchestra composition is unorthodox to the extreme with the participation of many percussion instruments. Orff’s soloists should not only have great acting abilities, but also be able to abandon the actor’s type of existing on stage, performing not the roles, but ritual duties. Orff’s choir should be able to speak and shout, and dramatic actors should be able to sing. Orff’s mysteries are a far cry from conventional theatre, but they are close to medieval liturgical dramas performed in churches and on the streets.
The pinnacle of these searches was the synthetic score of De temporum fine comoedia, which only with a stretch could be attributed to the opera genre. In his Mystery on the End of Time, Orff summarized his deeply personal ideas about light and darkness, about good and evil, about the world order and the end of time, combining Latin, Ancient Greek, and German texts from the Sibylline Books, the collection of orphic hymns, and the medieval collection Carmina Burana. This grand-scale work for many soloists, several dramatic actors, a choir, and a huge orchestra with the participation of about thirty percussionists was being created over the period of ten years (1962 – 1971) and was repeatedly edited by the author. The 1973 version, premiered under the conduction of Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival, will be performed at Diaghilev + Festival.