An evening with the mezzo soprano Dalia Schaechter at the Cologne Opera.
For several weeks the Israeli opera singer Dalia Schaechter engaged in researching and collecting songs culled from meetings with individuals of widely ranging nationalities, all Cologne residents. Each person was requested to bring a song from his or her homeland, a song with a particularly special meaning to that person. Ms. Schaechter was accompanied at each of these meetings by Valerie Schaller, the Viennese media artist.
After an interview in which the personal story of each person’s emigration and the question of homeland and feeling at home in a foreign country was delved into, the process of learning the song started. Valerie Schaller filmed these encounters as well as some crucial moments ”back stage” during this intensive and sometimes very emotional process. Short sequences were then shown before the performance of each song on stage.
On the basis of these short films we become familiar with the faces corresponding to the songs and hear the stories of how these came to be. The songs were given and received as gifts, and they were treated with such great respect and affection and rehearsed in such a way that the musicians soon felt at home with them and could call them their own.
In the act of giving and receiving the song, an extraordinary moment would often arise in which grave political scenarios from which people had fled suddenly took on a secondary importance in the light of the immediacy of sharing such personal and meaningful experiences in a musical context.
It was a thrilling and intense journey through many biographies, showing the cultural roots and real facts about emigration, search and integration.
Dalia Schaechter, celebrated ensemble member of the Cologne Opera who was awarded the title of “Kammersängerin” (chamber singer) by the City of Cologne, has been working side by side with her artistic companions, the actor Bert Oberdorfer, the Gürzenich violist Gerhard Dierig and the pianist Jan Weigelt, for eleven years now in the exploration of this the simplest and most primal form of music: the folk song.
Performances: Juni 13, 21, 22, 2017, Staatenhaus, Kölner Oper