Sunday, 20 May 2018

Theater Basel | The Rake's progress

The rake's progress by Igor Strawinsky plays at the Theater Basel now, produced by Lydia Steier who already produced Donnerstag aus Licht by Karlheinz Stockhausen at the Theater Basel.
The Rakes progress is inspired by the copperplate Series "A rake's progress" by the British painter and engraver William Hogarth.
The opera tells us the story of the young Tom Rakewell, who is in love with Anne Trulove, but still seeks more in the world, he wants to become rich and famous and find a life full of luxury. When Nick Shadow shows up and offers his services, promising him a fortune when he follows him to London, Tom abandons Anne and follows Nick, not considering what the price for his services might be in the end.
He follows him into a world of glamour, crazy parties, art and money and the longer he is in this world the more he realizes that it can not fulfill him. Rather than going back to Anne he continues to search for more and the real purpose of his life, always following Nicks advice. Anne tries to save him but Tom gets lost more and more, he even marries the beardy turkish lady Baba and never doubts anything his friend and servant advises him, until he asks for his tribute - Tom's soul.
The opera is very impressive, colourful and powerful and the singers are fantastic. It mostly takes place in a huge frame that is set up on stage, a reference to the original copperplate series.
The mix of pop art and baroque elements makes the tragic story more colourful and entertaining.
There is so much attention to detail in this production and we liked it a lot.
The music was -as all the characters- very versatile and beautifully played by the orchestra of the Theater Basel, conducted by Kristiina Poska.

musical direction: Kristiina Poska
production: Lydia Steier
stage: Katharina Schlipf
coworker stage: Thomas Unthan
costume: Ursula Kudrna
light: Andreas Grüter
choir: Michael Clark
dramatic composition: Pavel B. Jiracek

Andrew Murphy as TRULOVE
Hailey Clark as ANNE TRULOVE
Matthew Newlin as TOM RAKEWELL
Seth Carico as NICK SHADOW
Theophana Illiewa-Otto as MOTHER GOOSE
Eve-Maud Hubeaux as BABA THE TURK
Karl-Heinz Brandt as SELLEM

© picture: Sandra Then

Saturday, 5 May 2018

Theater Basel | Romulus der Grosse (Romulus the great)

Friedrich Dürrenmatt's play Romulus the great plays at the Theater Basel now, directed by Franz-Yaver Mayr.
Romulus the great, a Roman tyrant who does nothing during his reign but breed chicken, eat and sleep awaits eagerly the day when the Germans finally invade rome and take over the power.
He sees no future for a state that is based on murder, repression and plunder and unlike his wife - who desperately wants to save her homeland he is relaxed and prepared to take whatever will come up to him.
In an incredibly entertaining way the story of Romulus, his family and his entourage is told, facing the national bankruptcy, the terrors of war and the conflict of interests that arises more and more during the evening.
The actors were excellent and as the stage setting was the same during almost the whole evening the light was used very targeted, marking little breaks between different scenes or creating a more comfortable or more threatening atmosphere.
We liked Romulus the great very much, it made us laugh and still we found it to be critical towards the society, facing problems that are still very current today.

direction: Franz-Xaver Mayr
stage: Michela Flück
costume: Korbinian Schmidt
composition: Matija Schellander
light: Tobias Voegelin
sound: Andreas Döbeli, Ralf Holtmann
dramatic composition: Katrin Michaels

Myriam Schröder as JULIA, HIS WIFE
Leonie Merlin Young as REA, HIS DAUGHTER
Florian von Manteuffel as TULLIUS ROTUNDUS & MARES, MINISTER
Nicola Mastroberardino as ACHILLES & PYRAMUS, SERVANT

three chickens (extras from the Theater Basel)

© picture: Kim Culetto

blickfang Basel 2018

The 9th blickfang Basel takes place from May 4-6 2018 at the hall 3 of the Messe Basel.
From the 150 exhibitors, around 60% are new exhibitors that are at the blickfang Basel for the first time. As always the blickfang is about finding inspiration for your own home and life and about having the opportunity to buy unique and limited pieces that are not mass produced. The exhibitors always have the chance to express their own attitude towards the production, consumption and their products, they remain connected to what is important to them and that is what connects us even stronger to the brand, if we find that we can identify with their values and the philosophy behind the product. The blickfang is always worth a visit and beside our must-go-to labels that we have seen at the blickfang many times before (like Jungle Folk) we always discover something new that impresses  or fascinates us. What we love most about the fair is that most of the times you get the chance to get in touch with the designers personally and hear about their inspirations, values and the stories behind their products.

CarrerBikes are luxurious wooden bikes that are handcrafted from exclusive and highest quality woods. The bikes are handcrafted in Italy using traditional Italian artisanal boat building techniques.
The bikes are very strong and endurable and very stylish.

The Zurich based sustainable and fair fashion brand Jungle Folk always surprises us with new beautiful and fashionable pieces that you will love for years and years to come.

Betonist, an arts and crafts atelier from Basel, creates indoor and outdoor home accessoires.
It is impressive how versatile they use concrete and combine it with other materials, to create unique pieces that are not only useful but also an eyecatcher.

Einstoffen is a swiss brand for glasses and sunglasses that also produces shirts and watches. Every piece is designed in Switzerland and produced in small factories in China under controlled and ethnical correct terms and conditions. 

das kleine b is a German brand that produces furniture and home objects in Hamburg, preferably from wood. The shapes are clean and modern, leaving the focus on the item you place inside rather than on the object itself, the object is like a simple yet beautiful frame for whatever you place inside.

Claudia Nabholz produces authentic and individual fashion, designed in Zurich and fairly produced in Thailand. The clothes she creates are unique, timeless and sustainable.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

STEPS dance festival | L-E-V / Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar «Love Chapter 2»

Sharon Eyal & Gai Behar's «Love Chapter 2» danced by L-E-V is an incredibly impressive choreography that shows us the emotional state after a lost and ended love.
The dancers seem to fight against their own bodies, sometimes as a unity and sometimes each of them for themselves. Their movements are sharp, elegant and precise, the dancers are in full control of all of their movements but seem to have lost all control over their emotions.
The dancers are amazing, not only in the way they dance but also with their facial expressions, they manage to completely captivate us in what seems to be a cold and troubled world.
Sharon Eyal is said to have created her own contemporary language in classical dance, and in all her choreographies she works with Gai Behar, an Israeli Techno DJ. In Love Chapter 2 DJ Ori Lichtik produces the music live during the show and the steady and very powerful beats make the whole choreography even more intense and make you feel every beat and every movement of the dancers even stronger.

© picture: André le Corre

Sunday, 15 April 2018

STEPS dance festival | Noetic/Icon by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

The dance festival steps (Migros Kulturproduzent) is the biggest international Biennale for contemporary dance.
The Belgian / Moroccan choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui shows his choreographies Noetic and Icon, both are creations that are about Men in all their facets.
The two pieces are contrasting each other strongly, which at the same time makes them complement each other perfectly to be shown in one evening and represent different sides and facets of society and the people.
While noetic is very introspective, thoughtful and straight, focused mainly on the mind and interaction, Icon focuses on creating and destroying, it is rooted and very down to earth with 3.5t of clay surrounding the dancers and weighing them down.
Both choreographies are in their own way incredibly impressive and touching and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui once again managed to transport us into his own world, where movements, music and precise speeches that are sometimes told by a single person and sometimes by a choir of dancers, tell us a lot, make us feel so much and leave us with many things to think about.
The live music with drummers and singers make the shows even more impressive and created a perfect atmosphere for the two choreographies.

The Göteborgsoperans Danskompani and Cherkaoui's own ensemble Eastman are dancing.

© pictures: Noetic: Bengt Wangselius / Icon: Mats Baecker

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Theater Basel | Tod in Venedig (Death in Venice)

Death in Venice, a play by Richard Wherlock based on the Novel by Thomas Mann, is based on the authors experiences during his family vacations and inspired by the death of the composer Gustav Mahler that is the model for Aschenbach in the story.
The story makes two complete opposites collide, the emotional and free minded world that fascinates the perfectionist Gustav von Aschenbach deeply. It shows us how close life and death, beauty and decay and desire and compulsion are.
The stage design is as simple as it is impressive, there is only one huge wave on stage on which water, the sea, reflections of cities and different underwater scenes until the death are projected during the evening.
Therefore the element water is a constant companion during the whole show.
The photographer Gustav von Aschenbach is bored by his job and during this crisis he travels to Venice to find new inspiration.
There he meets the young Tadzio that not only fascinates him because of his youth but also because of his young and free spirit.
The further away the object of desire strays, the stronger grows the desire of Gustav to be close to him and get his attention.
During the show he loses himself more and more over the desire to be close and united with the young Tadzio who barely notices him.
Always by Gustavs side is the Angel, that accompanies him, lifts him up when he falls, hurls him through the air when he gets lost and tries to keep him from following Tadzio wherever he goes.
When Gustav and the angel dance together they seem to be as one, complementing each other perfectly but at the same time rejecting one another, sometimes letting go but always coming back together until the very end.
Even though the whole ensemble was brilliant and the porters from the hotel and the other guests are very entertaining, is especially these dance parts that touched us very much and made us feel the misfortune and seek of happiness of the protagonist the most.

choreography: Richard Wherlock
musical direction: Thomas Herzog, Georg Köhler
stage: Bruce French
stage and costume: Catherine Voelfray
light: Jordan Tuinman
video: Tabea Rothfuchs
dramatic composition: Armin Kerber, Bettina Fischer

Javier Rodriguez Cobos as GUSTAV VON ASCHENBACH
Frank Fannar Pedersen as THE ANGEL
Anthony Ramiandriosa as TADZIO
Ayako Nakano as TADZIOS MOTHER
Debora Maiques Marin, Dévi-Azélia Selly, Andrea Tortosa Vidal as TADZIOS SISTERS
Diego Benito Gutierrez as TADZIOS FRIEND
Piran Scott as HOTEL MANAGER
Alba Carbonell Castillom Lydia Caruso, Gaia Mentoglio, Armando Braswell, Max Zachrisson as HOTEL STAFF
Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Sergio Bustinduy as ASCHENBACHS PARENTS
Max Ossenberg-Engels as THE YOUNG GUSTAV
Lydia Caruso,  Rubén Bañol Herrera as PHOTO MODELS
Rubén Bañol Herrera, Julian Juarez, Castan Ismael del Valle as THREE BOYS AT THE LIDO
Sergio Bustinduy as STYLIST
Lisa Horten-Skilbrei, Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Sidney Elizabeth Turtschi as THE STYLISTS ASSISTANTS
Mirko Campigotto as THE STRANGE MAN
Camille Aublé, Alba Carbonell Castillo, Lydia Caruso, Lisa Horten-Skilbrei, Debora Maiques Marin, Gaia Mentoglio, Annabelle Peintre, Raquel Rey Ramos, Marina Sanchez Garrigós, Dévi-Azélia Selly, Andrea Tortosa Vidal, Sidney Elizabeth Turtschi, Rubén Bañol Herrera, Diego Benito Gutierrez, Armando Braswell, Sergio Bustinduy, Mirko Campigotto, Julian Juarez Castan, Max Ossenberg-Engels, Frank Fannar Pedersen, Piran Scott, Ismael del Valle, Max Zachrisson as HOTEL GUESTS / PEDESTRIANS / PEOPLE AT THE LIDO / THE OLD PEOPLE

@ picture: Werner Tschan

Friday, 13 April 2018

Theater Basel | Kaspar Hauser und Söhne (Kaspar Hauser and Sons)

Kaspar Hauser and Sons, a play by Olga Bach produced by Ersan Mondtag picks up the story of the famous and mysterious foundling Kaspar Hauser, who showed up one day in Nuremburg with barely any linguistic skills and announced that he had been kept in the dark for years with only water to drink and bread to eat. In Ersan Mondtags version there is not only one Kaspar Hauser but a lot of them, the grandfather, the father, the son and the story goes on with his son and so on that are all called Kaspar Hauser with the appropriate number.
Performing in grey / black and white fatsuits that Ersan Mondtag has already used in previous productions, the characters live in a very colourful house with low ceilings where they live and follow their daily routines in the families business that produces picture frames.
Previous to every act there is a short film sequence that tells us the story of the Kaspar Hauser foundling but in the play the story line is completely different.
Kaspar Hauser 2 gets admitted to a mental hospital by his son during the Nazi period which is a blot in the family history under which especially the grandson (Kaspar Hauser 4) suffers a lot. During the four generations 1940, 1960, 1990, 2018 we can watch all the Kaspar's suffer from the pressure and problems of their own era and how it affects them in their role in the family.
We found the play very impressive, we liked the strong contrasts that were used not only in the stage design but also in the way the different characters where talking to each other and the strong emotions we were confronted with during the play.
It felt like watching a family drama through the times but only within barely four hours, which connected us a lot to the different characters.
It was not only a thought provoking but also a very entertaining play with brilliant actors and an amazing production.

production and stage: Ersan Mondtag
sound and composition: Max Andrzejewski
costume: Ersan Mondtag, Annika Lu Hermann
video: Florian Seufert
light: Roland Edrich
dramatic composition: Constanze Kargl
co-worker stage: Anton von Bredow

Michael Gempart, Vincent Glander, Thiemo Strutzenberger, Urs Peter Halter, Cathrin Störmer, Elias Eilinghoff, Benny Claessens, Carina Braunschmidt

© picture: Birgit Hupfeld