Bählamms Fest (The Feast of the Lambs)
Music theatre in 13 scenes
© G. Ricordi & Co. Bühnen- und Musikverlag GmbH
Rowohlt Theater Verlag, Hamburg
Text: Elfriede Jelinek / Leonora Carrrington
Her husband is an alcoholic, her mother-in-law a lascivious tyrant, her brother-in-law a half-wolf – and the country house is in the back of beyond. Sheep graze outside while Theodora the young wife sits in the nursery hoping for snow. Trapped in the morbid, repressive world of the Carnis family, she dreams of breaking away. Jeremy, the seductive wolf-man figure, promises her the opposite of bourgeois torpor. But love will not bring salvation, just more dead lambs, while inside the house of Carnis, hatred rears its head and with it the persecution of anyone different. In a fantastic, surreal orgy of Christmas celebrations the boundaries between the present and the past, the living and the dead, man and beast, desire and reality all break down. The house as a space that protects the individual dissolves into thin air.
In their intermedia opera Bählamms Fest based on Leonora Carrington’s play The Feast of the Lambs, Olga Neuwirth and Elfriede Jelinek gaze into the gaping cracks in the house that the surrealist »built« while fleeing across Nazi-occupied France in 1940. Neuwirth, who calls Bählamms Fest her own »House of Usher«, blasted unfamiliar escape routes out of this intolerable reality into unreal visual and musical spaces in the 1990s. The Irish directing duo Dead Centre will transport Neuwirth’s pioneering intermedia work to a time where the boundaries between reality and virtuality really have disappeared and escaping into fictitious worlds of wish fulfilment takes on new resonances as an expression of despair at inhuman coldness and barbarism.