Ten terribly banal conversations before and after sex. Ever-present is a fear the experience might not be unique: Have you been here with anyone else? You remind me of someone. - So? Whom do I remind you of? Have there been any women here before me?
The Reigen consists of ten more or less erotic encounters between men and women. Like a circular dance, Dirne and a soldier meet intimately, then the soldier and a house-maid, the house-maid with a young man, ending with a Count and Dirne. Despite differing social status all shockingly exhibit the same motifs and repetitive behavioral patterns: one endears, one is in a rush, one doesn’t actually do this. And ‘afterwards’ suddenly it’s the other who is in a hurry, becomes gruff or slips away with insignificant babblings. It always comes to sex but rarely to encounters.
After its premiere in 1897, it was Arthur Schnitzler himself who invoked the performance-ban of his ten dialogs lasting until 1982. The play was developed into an opera by the Belgian composer Philippe Boesmans and director Luc Bondy in 1993. The artfully orchestrated music contributes much wit to the original – or did you know that mosquitos also practice an erotic Reigen?
Coproduction by Stuttgart Opera and Nico and the Navigators.
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