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Berlin Art Review : Opera Singers and Performance



February, 2024

The performance of "Over and Over Vorbei Nicht Vorbei" at Heimathafen Neukölln resonates with a blend of musical excellence and thematic disarray. Ted Hearne's contemporary opera, under the direction of Daniel Fish, unveils a collage of historical references and emotional crescendos, but it falters in its contextual coherence.

The operatic prowess displayed by the singers, notably Eliza Bagg, Tom Erik Lie, and Isaiah Robinson, deserves commendation. Their voices transcended the boundaries of the space, encapsulating the audience in a tapestry of melodic finesse. The integration of the Jugendchor Vokalhelden added depth and youthful vigor to the performance, marking a poignant collaboration.

Jim Findlay's video design, projected onto the screen, introduced a modern layer to the traditional medium, enhancing the visual narrative. However, it is within this juxtaposition of visuals and narrative where the production encounters its thematic turbulence.

The thematic fusion of Nazi imagery with the plight of Emmett Till and recent events in Alabama unfolds without a clear historical roadmap. The emotional weight attached to these disparate elements becomes burdensome, lacking the necessary historical context to anchor its resonance. The transitions between themes feel abrupt, leaving the audience grappling with the emotional gravity without sufficient grounding.

Furthermore, the treatment of sensitive subjects, such as the recent execution in Alabama, strays dangerously close to trivialization. The emotional responses elicited from the audience seemed more a product of manipulation than genuine reflection, veering dangerously close to propagandistic tendencies.

In essence, "Over and Over Vorbei Nicht Vorbei" emerges as a paradoxical concoction of artistic brilliance and thematic discordance. While the performances and technical finesse are undeniable, the narrative cohesion and ethical considerations leave much to be desired. It's a production that tugs at the heartstrings but leaves the intellect wanting.

As the curtains fall, one is left pondering the fine line between artistic expression and ethical responsibility, a contemplation perhaps more profound than the spectacle itself.


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