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CARMINA SLOVENICA with When the mountain changed its clothing

Location: Poland


You must not do that.
Why not?
Because it is wrong.
Wrong! What is wrong?

music theatre by Heiner Goebbels

When the mountain changed its clothing draws its inspiration from the Resian folk song Da Pa ?anynu, reflecting on the seasonal changes on the mountain of Kanin, Slovenia. According to Goebbels, intense activity on the stage derives from the exceptional energy of the young protagonists and reflects social transformations related to rapid political, social and cultural changes within the region the performers are coming from.
The old is no more, yet the new remains out of reach. On this threshold, they assemble to play seemingly harmless games, verses, songs, and create poetically threatening images. In a mutual interplay of sovereignty and repression, the singers move through the cycle of seasons, constantly calibrating the balance of power relations among one another and especially between the audience and the stage.

Financial Times
»They hum, sing, stamp and clap their way through chunks and snippets of their choral repertoire, from medieval hockets and Brahms to Schönberg and Sarah Hopkins.«

»Much skill is displayed in this tightly crafted piece. The Carmina Slovenica (under conductor Karmina Šilec) is a phenomenon in itself, with its mesmerising combination of steely discipline with exuberant physicality. The sound is often the hard-edged chesty bray we associate with women’s choirs from the former Eastern Bloc, but the young singers can shift to clean, honey-toned romanticism or glassy polytonality in the blink of an eye.« 

The Telegraph
»Adolescent girls stole the show in Heiner Goebbels' When the Mountain Changed its Clothing at the Ruhr Triennale.«

»Carmina Slovenica, who’ve gained a world-wide reputation for their powers of story-telling through choral song.«

»The girls’ power of memory in a foreign language were impressive …«

» … joyous moments of collective energy or anarchy that these astonishing performers shone, and the piece itself really came alive.«


Le Monde
»They radiate fantastic energy, composure and professionalism on stage ... In all positions the girls fully master all techniques at all times, and slide through the rituals of growing up with astonishing perfection of mature artists«
»They are between 10 and 20 years old, tall, short, round, slim, unique and at the same time unacceptable. They are an hour and a half on the scene without break - standing up, lying down, jumping, changing costumes, the scene, in a group or performing individually, excited one moment and calm the next. They can do anything: speak naturally in English, look the audience in the eyes and wait who will be the first who laughs (guess who wins?), scream, stay quiet, sing, with that marvellous energy, composure and professionalism.«


Neue Musik Zeitung:
»The success is a combination of Goebbel's courage to confront, of detailed choreography of movement theatre, but mostly of the musical partner that can only search for an equal in Europe: Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica is the name of this fascinating choral formation from the Slovene Maribor …«

»Thirty-nine girls and young women are responsible for this outstanding evening, each of them blessed with more than one talent. And how they proliferated. Recited, but no stock-still standing on the stage for them. If necessary, they also sang lying down. And how beautifully, gutturally, as typical for the Balkans. In general: professional precision that leaves one speechless. From choral singing, through crystal clear choral speaking, to simple stage movement – individual, in groups, as a whole, with or without props. Therefore it makes sense that their conductor Karmina Šilec no longer speaks about a “choir” or “choral singing” when she speaks about her ensemble, but about “vocal theatre or theatre of voices”. And that is of course where the similarity to Heiner Goebbels’s understanding of theatre can be found.

Complete silence was there later on also when thirty-nine Slovene Carminas sat at the edge of the stage to exchange silent looks with us. And in the speech bubble it read: This was you now. This will we be soon. «


Les Inrockuptibles
»Getting in touch with Karmina Šilec, the artistic director of the choir Carmina Slovenica, Goebbels really fell love at first sight. 
The singers are extremely talented and disciplined. I have never come across a choir that would invest so much so profoundly into a project.«

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung:
»The best part of the production is their precise looseness with which the girls of Carmina Slovenica bring in the element of improvisation, full of phantasy.«

»It is almost astounding with what skill, body control, precision and speed the girls perform, individually and as an ensemble, when they act, speak, sing. Wildly whirling on the big open stage one minute, they sit disciplined in two straight rows of chairs the next. Dramatic effect is achieved by movement changes themselves.«

»What the choir presents is highly professional and outshines even the passages that might occasionally seem almost too presumptuous and mouthy. The vital music-speech-movement theatre is a whole as it is and that is quite something.«


Trierischer Volksfreund 
»The young girls perform astonishingly professionally and extremely precisely, each step, each word, each tone is perfectly placed. They are full of power and self-confidence, static images and recitations, as the Jean-Jacques Rousseaus's dialogue between the governess (represented by the choir) and the girl in doubt, change alongside the swiftly changing scenes, they sing while running, standing, lying down. Magnificent singing, floating choreography (Florian Bilbao). Sound design (Willi Bopp) is expressed without unnecessary effects, the music from Brahms, Schönberg up to Goebbels and Šilec’s own compositions is simply touching. There should be more of it, more stomach than head, which with politically and socially relevant texts by Rousseau, Eichendorf, Stifter or Robbe-Grillet become rich intellectual food. Minutes-long, big applause!«

"The Ruhrtriennale project „When the mountain changed its clothing“ by the artistic director Heiner Goebbels, performed with the renowned Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica is a truly special experience of music, choreography and literary reflections."

"At times one can hardly believe that these girls, aged between 11 and 20, from Maribor (under artistic direction of Karmina Šilec) can evoke such vocal worlds. Strictly precize, impeccably structured, any yet at the same time so relaxedly performed choral singing encopassing various registers up to the overtone technique; occasionally it sounds like a wonderful echo of Gregorianistic or reminds us from somewhere far away of the legendary „Mystère des voix Bulgares“, which attracted large attention some time ago in the West as a folk-pop phenomena. Occasional accelerations lead to rhythmical ecstasy, just like the Indian traditional „Taka Din“. Were these singers trained for the highest performance - or are they all simply extremely talented?"

"Great applause for great art."


Die Deutsche Bühne:
»The art of choral singing of the choir, led by Karmina Šilec, but also their performing on stage, leave a strong impression.« 
»A big applause for the dedicated performing girls.«
Die Tageszeitung:
»… etheric airy voices. The mere virtuosity of various changes of voice technique is admiring; choreographic perfection and acting intensity of the group, constantly producing individual soloists, is, however, breathtaking.«

Theater PUR
»The choir sings brilliantly, with crystal clear intonation, concentrated voice direction, rhytmic perfection, dynamic structural power, as well as colour and overtone richness.«

»But have no fear. There will be no bloodshed. In the end the triumph is great. For the choir from Maribor under the direction of Karmina Šilec. As already said: this singing is brilliant.« 

»A much puzzling theatre event, a sensitivity and reflection performance, with beautiful singing.« 

Die Süddeutsche Zeitung:
»Young artist were incredible sovereign.«


Concept, Direction and Music: Heiner Goebbels Vocal Theatre Carmina Slovenica Artistic Direction: Karmina Šilec Stage and Light: Klaus Grünberg Costumes: Florence von Gerkan Choreography: Florian Bilbao Dramaturgy: Matthias Mohr Sound Design: Willi Bopp Production: Ruhtriennale, Coproduced by Steirischer Herbst (AT), Maribor Theatre Festival (SI), Festival Borštnikovo sre?anje in the context of Maribor 2012 European Capital of Culture (SI), Théâtre de la Ville-Paris & Festival D'Automne, Paris (FR), Grand Theatre, Luxemburg (LU), Kunstfestspiele Herrenhausen (DE) Holland Festival, Amsterdam (NL) and Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Brussels (BE).

festival theatre confrontations Lublin, Poland
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