MUSICAL DIRECTION Will Humburg & Johannes Harneit
DRAMATURGYMark Schachtsiek
LIGHTHeiko Steuernagel
CHOIRAlessandro Zuppardo
VIDEOKrzysztof Honowski, Roman Kuskowski, Johannes Kulz
WITH:KS Katrin Gerstenberger
Sabina Martin
Stefan Adam
David Lee
Thomas Piffka
Andreas Wagner
Krzysztof Szumanski
Michael Pegher
Xiaoyi Xu
Alexander Günther
Anja Bildstein
Nicolas Legoux
Gundula Schulte
Katharina Susewind
Karin Klein
Véronique Weber
Gabriele Drechsel
Katharina Hintzen
Staatstheater Darmstadt
Opera Choir
State Theatre Darmstadt
Photos: Martin Sigmund

“Eva-Maria Höckmayr casts a fascinating glance at ‘Makropulos’ (…) in Darmstadt. In general, this evening, which was welcomed with great applause, lives from the accuracy of the narration, which keeps the interest for more than two hours – perhaps just because Höckmayr does not solve the mystery of Emilia Marty at all. And it leaves a remaining doubt about the story of the elixir of life that Marty serves up at the end, tired of 337 years of life, exhausted by the bleakness she feels. The death she hopes for is not found: Marty backs into the stage set and ends up as an artist’s memorial.”

Darmstädter Echo, Johannes Breckner, 12.3.2018

“The production of the young Eva-Maria Höckmayr repeatedly resolved interwoven, difficult to understand storylines, in an almost dreamlike way: Janacek’s conversational music of the first two acts was, so to speak, painted over with gigantic videos of the heroine Emilia Marty, who still does not age after more than 300 years – and in the third act, a breathtaking Katrin Gerstenberger as the diva Marty in search of the recipe for the elixir for eternal life, the “Makropoulos matter”. One should not miss the rare opportunity to suffer through this opera by Czech sonic wizard Leos Janacek under the competent direction of outgoing GMD Will Humburg.”

Strandgut, Bernd Havenstein, April 2018

“Eternally young, eternally desired, eternally prima donna assoluta! (…) Höckmayr’s intention is clear: everyone shapes Emilia Marty according to their own imagination.

“Höckmayr shows the events in the office (…) in a film collage, shot according to the principle of subjective camera work. The variety of fast images corresponds with the rapid changes in the music (…). The audience sits in the middle of the action, captivated by the film’s vividly captured, perspective-changing view of an Emilia, soon young-girlish, aging, lolling naked in a lascivious pose on a desk, or negotiating in a businesslike manner. (…) The amount of impressions that the music and direction team have in store are enormous. The musical structure is clever and all the actors offer exciting musical theater at its best..“, Christiane Franke, 10.3.2018

“The production works – in beautiful introspection! – with the theatrical metaphor from the very beginning. When the curtain rises, one sees the technical staff of the State Theater dismantling the scenery of a supposed stage set. Obviously, a performance has just ended – as we later learn, of course, one with Emilia Marty. Behind a gauze curtain, various men with bouquets of flowers come onto the stage, eyeing each other suspiciously and moving out of the way. However, if one of them strives with determination towards an exit, the others follow him, because each is afraid that the others might deliver their flowers to the famous singer before he does.The lady is already “in the room” before she has even performed. Only a blurred video sequence on the gauze curtain shows the vision of a slender woman in white – practically as a vision of the flower. (…) Unmistakably, these video sequences show the projections and fantasies of the men involved, none of whom can escape the effect of this woman. This multimedia directorial idea, not necessarily new and at times almost ridden to death, nevertheless breathes life into this production and clarifies the subtext of the extended scene in the lawyer’s office. (…) As an effect of this functioning interplay – and it really works for long stretches! – there is an extraordinary, at times almost existential density of the conversation, not least due to the performance of the five actresses Karin Klein, Gabriele Drechsel, Katharina Hintzen, Katharine Susewind and Véronique Weber. (…) While the first act was essentially about the review of the background of the old inheritance dispute and the opaque role of Emila Marty, now follows the explanation of her agelessness including the desperation about an empty and cold, due to unlimited life. This also results in her emotional and erotic coldness, which Jaroslav Prus bitterly feels after he hands Emilia the longed-for document. When the emotionally cold and empty Emilia burns the document at the end and waits for her death in the background of the stage, the metaphorical statement of this opera, which is based on a comedy by the Czech poet Karel Çapek from 1922, clearly appears: man’s existential dream of eternal life is a nightmare.”

Egotrip, Frank Raudszus, 11.3.2018

“At the Staatstheater Darmstadt, Eva-Maria Höckmayr’s production also provides some show values and a double meaning, by leaving the audience to decide whether it’s reality or a dream. Similar to her strong “Tosca” 2016 at the same venue, she accentuates the theatrical setting – Emilia Marty, as Elina currently calls herself, is also a singer. For the overture, set designer Julia Rösler lets the theater machinery flex its muscles, beautiful images between silk splendor and harsh raven technique emerge from it. (…) The extremely unreasonable suicide of a young lover contrasts with the 337-year-old who can no longer summon exuberance (love, compassion). Highly elegant and very blond, Gerstenberger dominates the stage and the men around her, who seem pale but are presentable groupies in evening gowns and with bouquets of flowers.”

Frankfurter Rundschau, Judith von Sternburg, 14.3.2018

“We experience five episodes with different women. These are projections and partly male fantasies of the gentlemen involved in an estate dispute. The opera diva appears sometimes as a mature woman, sometimes young, sometimes seductive, even naked. Always dressed in white and with blond hair. These films run on a screen at the back of the stage and in front of the stage on a semi-transparent net wall. The singers on the empty stage in between barely act and sing their parts. And from behind, down from the platform, Katrin Gerstenberger sings the part of the opera diva.”

hR2 Kultur, Meinolf Bunsmann, 12.3.2018