Beethovenfest Bonn to Premiere Opera Inspired by Tod Browning Film Freaks

Classic Arts News   Beethovenfest Bonn to Premiere Opera Inspired by Tod Browning Film Freaks
Beethovenfest Bonn will premiere in September an opera by Moritz Eggert called Freax, produced by Christoph Schlingensief and with a libretto by Hannah D‹bgen.

A co-commission by the Beethovenfest Bonn and Theater Bonn, the two-act opera takes its inspiration from the 1932 Tod Browning film, Freaks.

Eggert's Freax is a tragedy "about delusion and self-delusion and deals with people who are different," as described in a statement from the festival.

"It takes place in the artificial secluded world of a show. In the shows, the freaks, people whose bodies don't comply with the standard, attract the audiences.

"Franz loves Isabella, Lea loves Franz, and Isabella loves money and Hilbert. Although they all work in the same theater production, they are all fundamentally different. Franz and Lea are "freaks" and although the freaks are the stars of the show, they are excluded in the real world. Their world is different, but their dreams and disappointments are the same."

The cast includes Mark Rosenthal as Franz, Anjara I. Bartz as Lea, Julia Rutigliano as Isabella, and Louis Gentile as Hilbert Winter.

The production will also feature stage designs by Thekla von M‹hlheim and Tobias Buser, costumes by Aino Laberenz, and Wolfgang Lischke leading the the Beethoven Orchester Bonn and Opera Choir of the Theater Bonn.

Freaks, the 1932 film, follows sideshow performers Cleopatra, a trapeze artist, and Hans, a midget, who marry and fall victim to selfish greed. Through its portrayal of marginalized individuals with visible abnormalities, such as a bearded woman, conjoined twins and a man born without limbs, the film upholds the moral that outer beauty is not synonymous with inner beauty. It shocked audiences, however, and was subsequently banned for three decades in the U.K.

The premiere of Moritz Eggert's Freax will take place on September 2 at Beethovenfest Bonn, with repeat performances on September 6, 8, 14, 16, 22 and 29.

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