Das Floß der Medusa
Thursday, 02. November 2017, 19:30
Che Guevara: Foto Osvaldo Salas / Mary Evans / picturedesk.com
There are pictures that remain in people’s minds for generations and generations. Théodore Géricaults «Radeau de la Méduse», 35 m² large, is one of them. He spent months painting and researching it before it was presented to the public at the Paris salon on August 25th, 1819. The French frigate ran aground on a large sand bank 50 km from the Mauretanien coast on July 2nd, 1816. In order to allow the governor and the captain to reach Africa safely, the overloaded raft carrying 150 people was cut free from the lifeboats. When it was found on the morning of July 17th by the Brigg Argus, there were just 15 survivors.
The red flag, which a dying sailor waves in the picture, becomes the focus of attention 150 years later in what is probably the most famous continuation of Géricault’s socio-critical art: Hans Werner Henze’s oratorio «Das Floß der Medusa» is a requiem for Che Guevara, the icon of the Cuban revolution, with Ho-Chi-Minh rhythms and the clear call to change society. Its world premiere in Hamburg didn’t take place because, after the dress rehearsal, the chorus refused to sing under a red flag. Henze’s controversial work became an icon for the year 1968. Its world premiere took place in Vienna in 1971. Now, some 50 years on, as thousands of refugees drown in the Mediterranean, Géricault’s painting and Henze’s call to change society are back on our minds. The RSO Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra performs the epoch-making work with an unbeatable cast.
ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien,
Arnold Schoenberg Chor,
Hans Werner Henze
Das Floß der Medusa. Oratorio volgare e militare in due parti (Text: Ernst Schnabel) (1968)
Unterstützt von der Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung
Koproduktion Wiener Konzerthaus und Wien Modern
Unterstützt von Mercedes Benz
Medienpartner Ö1 Club