STAGEDieter Richter
COSTUMEJulia Rösler
DRAMATURGYMichael Dißmeier
CHOIRAndrew Ollivant
ORCHESTRAGürzenich Orchester Köln
WITH:Jaquelyn Wagner
Dalia Schaechter
Romina Boscolo
Machiko Obata
Andrea Andonian
Gloria Rehm
Carla Hussong
Mara Wryk
Aoife Miskelly
Ruth Volpert
Eva-Maria Bauchmüller
Mariola Mainka
Photos: Bernd Uhlig

“However, the difficult middle piece “Suor Angelica” is unreservedly fantastic. (…) Eva Maria Höckmayr develops from it the gripping study of a soul confusion through social coldness. With great technical skill, she interweaves prehistory, everyday life in the convent and the actual events, thus abandoning a stringent plot in favour of clear character images and strong moods. At the same time, the director always remains analytical and does not denounce her characters. The cool aunt, who delivers the death news to Angelica as if in passing and is therefore often portrayed as one-dimensionally evil, becomes an astonishingly complex figure. The sisters’ interactions with each other to a razor-sharp, paradigmatic image of a social community. This is how opera must be today!”

AKT. Cologne Theatre Newspaper, Andreas Falentin, June 2013

“The historical depth layer of the impressive Cologne production has a drive critical of civilisation, which condenses in the often neglected middle piece ‘Sister Angelica’ into a wicked moral picture reminiscent of Michael Haneke’s film. Eva-Maria Höckmayr interprets the fate of the poor woman, who has to atone for the ‘guilt’ of her illegitimate child in the convent and is finally redeemed by heaven itself, as a defect of a society that has been religiously infiltrated in a terrible way. Angelica, the strictly Catholic educated bourgeois daughter and orphan, is haunted by the demons of Marian piety and sexuality (…) – a gripping approach that loses nothing in poignancy nor in intimacy.”

OPERNWELT, Michael Struck-Schloen, July 2013

“Eva-Maria Höckmayr radically reinterprets the libretto, which clearly envisages a strict convent for women in the 17th century. In her work, Sister Angelica is not a nun. She is a despised orphan of an upper middle-class family. (…). A haunting psychopathological interpretation.”

Deutschlandradio, Christoph Schmitz, 11.5.2013

“In the alternative venue at the cathedral, Puccini’s “Il Trittico” is a big hit. Eva-Maria Höckmayr relies on the surreal in “Suor Angelica”: the setting is an upper-middle-class villa where Angelica, an outcast orphan, spirals into religious delusion. The concept seems overcoded, but it fascinates with emotional imagery and a vivid reinterpretation of monastic cruelty into familial cruelty, embodied in the character of the princess.”

Kultur.WEST, Regine Müller, June 2013

“Female power combined with two gentlemen creates an all-round delightful evening of theatre (…) Eva Maria Höckmayr succeeds in bringing the rather plotless opera with a tendency towards mawkishness to the stage quite vividly and impressively through strong images. Julia Rösler contrasts the real convent life with the fallen nuns in the great red habit who have arrived down in the cellar hell, seduced by a fancy Beelzebub. (…) The forgiving Mother of God and the implacable Princess wear the same costume, symbolizing two sides of one woman. With such powerful imagery, the cheesy ending comes just in time!”

Theater PUR, Thomas Hilgemeier, Mai 2013

“Höckmayr underlines the bigoted features of the aristocratic and monastic worlds that destroy the soul and body of ‘Sister Angelica’. (…) Vocally ravishing, scenically moving without any sentimental approach, congenial to Humburg’s conducting. (…) Enthusiastic applause for an all-round successful re-encounter with one of Puccini’s and the early 20th century’s most interesting works.”

Osnabrücker Zeitung, Pedro Obiera 12 May 2013

“Sometimes life is more than mathematics. Namely, for example, when the total work of art results in more than the sum of its individual parts.”

Opernnetz, 10.3.2013, Michael S. Zerban