Hans Thomalla - Dark Spring (2020)
Wendla: Shachar Lavi
Ilse: Anna Hybiner
Melchior: Christopher Diffey
Moritz: Magid El-Bushra
popularity contests at school or at college, and to perform romantically or sexually. The pressure has become entirely internalised as
parents or teachers are absent and the protagonists are left alone with late capitalism’s demands of permanent self-optimisation. The
conflict between the expectation to succeed on the one hand, and the sense of powerlessness and unattainable self-determination
in an era of constant stagnation on the other, grows increasingly acute until it eventually flips into violence: into Melchior’s sexual
aggression and Moritz’s suicide.
The opera focuses less on the narration of the four young protagonists’ story and more on their attempt to articulate and understand the
often contradictory feelings that come with it: feelings of meaninglessness and alienation in a society that values only productivity and
success but makes it unreachable for almost everyone; feelings of pain, both as suffering and as sexual experience; feelings of love
and kinship that briefly appear between the protagonists but nevertheless bring a sense of vulnerability. In a hyper-competitive world
the display of emotions is seen as a weakness and a liability. The longing to open up to someone else, to reveal and feel oneself and
one another, and to find an expression for that longing seems unsettling and dangerous.
The four protagonists of Dark Spring sing songs. They articulate their feelings through the mask of the distancing formalisation of
rhyme, meter, stanza and refrain. Under the surface of the objectified schemata of song, however, an almost raw and undomesticated
sound-world simmers that breaks through at crucial points of the plot – a sound-world of noise, screams and silence.