Let’s count to ten
We should do it slowly, calmly, distinguishing between the faces, pictures and sounds – all of them with a name and date – but it would be almost impossible. Not only because watching from here all seems to be one, but because counting important things is not good. Not to mention that ten can be seen as too many or too few at the same time…
So what is happening this year? We are simply celebrating. The celebration – festival – is celebrated. We have this honour for the tenth time. We start off for the tenth time to create that particular intensity of being together and calling attention, which is one of the most positive ventures of Pannonhalma Archabbey, according to an international survey. The archabbey and the Benedictine community offer the place: they invite art, artists and performers – and the audience naturally – to the rooms of an active monastery. For a few days we use these rooms together. We try to breathe together and we gently adapt to each other. We try to take on the courage of searching and questioning of the others. Behind the gesture of reception not only curiosity can be found but perhaps the desire of learning as well. So music, theatre, film and fine art constitute a very specific, place-characteristic experience year by year, which was aptly described a few years ago as “retreat” by a reviewer.
The gesture of looking back and forward in 2013 can be principally caught in our music program, as we have asked our previously invited composers (Szofia Gubajdulina, Salvatore Sciarrino, Valentyin Szilvesztrov, Bent Sørensen, Giya Kancheli, Beat Furrer, Helmut Oehring and Kaija Saariaho) not only to compose a short piece each for the festival but to recommend composers whose work they consider important and particularly inspiring. So the “one classical – one contemporary” structure, which determined the previous years, shall be succeeded this year by the encounter of similarities and differences; the world-wide acknowledged names and hardly known talent. We hope that the music of Robert Schumann may be able to hold together this tension and diversity. It is our distinct honour that several world premieres will be given in the renovated basilica on the Saturday evening-concert, and some of the composers will be our guests at Pannonhalma.
Our theatre-program of this year counts for a double festive moment. On one hand because the dance theatre of Emio Greco and Pieter C. Scholten is regarded to be one of the most significant workshops of Europe, and with our invitation to them our old wish is fulfilled. On the other hand because their new play – through the dramatic feelings of the heroines of Verdi-operas – the physical and psychic limits are examined at the same time and music here appears as an inspirational source.
The video-works of Zsolt Asztalos – the Hungarian exhibitor at Venice Biennale – is simultaneously connected to the Greco-play and to the temporary exhibition of the archabbey in this year (Imago – Portraits from the collection of the Pannonhalma Archabbey) and it awaits for us as the counterpoint of both of the above mentioned on the square in front of the theatreé on the border of the arboretum. As the film summons a particular urban environment in the neighbourhood of the herbal garden, in the “forestage” of the theatre; in the gymnasium that serves as the venue of the – almost traditional – Friday night-concert an installation will be exhibited, which will be further built on Saturday and turns the closed place into a forest.
Films selected from the program of Triest Film Festival of this year break off with the tradition that each time some of the short films of one particular country are presented. In the theatre we can see women and female emotions in the interpretation of four wonderful female dancers – and the unforgettable female singers of the Verdi-repertory – the films are about men, first of all fathers, the diversity and formation of father-child relationships. We shall see Turkish boys living in Germany, who should kill the sacrificial lamb, and two men – a Serbian and a Croatian sniper – who meet on a land mine...
We cannot really tell whether ten is too many or too few. One thing is sure, we would like to celebrate this year as well, and we would like to invite those who can, dare, and want to breathe with us – or rather hold their breath with us for a second.
Mátyás Varga o.s.b.