Romeo Castellucci Schwanengesang D744


Knowing what pain is, according to Schubert, knowing what abandonment is, according to Castellucci. Recital. The soprano, strangely far from the pianist, is at the centre of the stage. Dark suited, severe. Immobile, statue-like. Expressionless face. Her delicate singing rises up. Strange feeling of expectation. The lieder follow on, totally impassive. However, a veil of uncertainty has passed over her stilled features. Her glance has turned, distraught, in the direction of the “paradise” of the theatre as she comes to the eighth lied: Schwanengesang D744, Swan song. “How I lament, sensing death, the dissolution running through my limbs”. Contamination, physical, of the poem on the singer. She trips. About-turn. Goes off towards the back of the stage, clings to it, running her palms across it like a second Wailing Wall. Elsewhere now, already. With her back to us, the actress in the beige dress, has slid into the place of the singer, centre-stage. Cross-fade. Disappearance of one, appearance of the other. As if she was beneath the first one. A body, underneath her veneer. Sobriety, degradation. Soft movements, outdated, arms pointed towards “paradise”. Turning to face the glaring eyes, the actress explodes before the audience. Ethereal language gives way to vulgar language. Pain come back as rage. Insults rain down. Further degradation. The droning of Scott Gibbon’s soundtrack break into storms in the night air. In a streak of lighting, the song of the swan has descended into the song of a goat, its melody into the bleating of an animal, a Dionysian monster has defied the audience, pain, solitude and death.