Russian Futurist Opera Brought Back to Life

Anfang gut. Alles gut.
Actualizations of the futurist opera Victory Over the Sun (1913)

July 16 – October 16, 2011
Kunsthaus Bregenz Arena
Catalog

The Futurist opera Victory over the Sun, which received its premiere at the Lunapark Theater in St. Petersburg in 1913, attempted to “create a collective work based on language, painting, and music.” Its authors – the poets Velimir Khlebnikov and Aleksei Kruchenykh, the composer and painter Michail Matjuschin, and the painter Kazimir Malevich – wished to construct an “anti-harmonious” work against the current of their time. This was in Czarist Russia in the years between industrial modernization and peasant ser fdom and after the attempted revolution of 1905. While in their enthusiasm for technology the Italian Futurists had already glorified machinery before World War I and brought it to bear against people, Russian Futurism took off from an idea of the future that seemed possible only by fundamentally deconstructing the as yet scarcely industrialized present.

Anfang gut. Alles gut. is the long-term project of an evergrowing group of currently forty international artists, musicians, architects, and writers who are picking up the threads of the past and actualizing them. Since 2008 those involved have drawn on the historical text and documentations of its performances as well as the opera’s reception history to develop formats translating the almost 100- year-old material in contemporary forms into the present. To begin with, the producers selected individual aspects of the opera, such as characters, costumes, stage set, text, music, or lighting and made them the starting point for their own artistic explorations.

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