Wiener Festwochen 2024:
Florentina Holzinger stages her first opera

Viennese choreographer and performance artist Florentina Holzinger will show her first opera at the Wiener Festwochen. Under the working title Sancta, the one-acter Sancta Susanna by Paul Hindemith will be complemented with new compositions and sacred music to form a feminist mass. After the world premiere at the Mecklenburg State Theatre (May 2024), the piece will come to the Wiener Festwochen 2024.

Florentina Holzinger is currently considered one of the most exciting theatre makers and known for her radical and spectacular performances that push all boundaries. For her production Ophelia’s Got Talent at the Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin, she was distinguished in several critics’ surveys, among them by Theater heute magazine as theatre director of the year and by TANZ magazine as best production of the year. Now for the first time, she is developing an opera, where her performers share the stage with vocal solists, choral singers and an orchestra.

Based on Paul Hindemith's scandalous piece Sancta Susanna, whose plot focuses on the female libido, a scenic mass is created that deals with Christian rites as well as miracles and magic and celebrates the emancipation of female desire as liberation. Musically, the evening will feature sacred music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Sergei Rachmaninoff and Charles Gounod, among others. Austrian composer Johanna Doderer will arrange all parts of the Ordinary for women's voices and will add an Agnus Dei and a Sanctus as new compositions. The production is made possible by a broad production alliance of Florentina Holzinger/Spirit, neon lobster, Wiener Festwochen, Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Staatsoper Stuttgart and Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin.

© Elsa Okazaki

For Florentina Holzinger, creating an opera production is a logical continuation of her artistic work: "My shows have a lot in common with opera. Different art forms such as dance, music, acting and performance meet and unite to create a Gesamtkunstwerk. Sancta is exciting because we expand this specific composition, which can be experienced on stage through singers, choir and orchestra, with additional instruments, namely our performative grasp of bodies."

Festwochen artistic director Milo Rau has long been associated with Holzinger: "I have been following Florentina's work for many years. Her clarity and radicalism, but also the absolute freedom with which she takes feminist and overall political positions, are a perfect fit for the Wiener Festwochen. As a producing festival, we are super proud to be involved in the creation of Sancta and to celebrate the premiere with her in Florentina's hometown of Vienna."

© Silke Winkler

At the presentation of the Sancta project in form of a press conference in Schwerin on September 19, 2023, f.l.t.r.: Emil Roijer, Dr. Judith Lebiez, Hans-Georg Wegner (Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater), Florentina Holzinger, Viktor Schoner (Staatsoper Stuttgart), Jana Beckmann (Wiener Festwochen)

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