SCREENING: “Theatrum Mundi” Production of Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”


Codex Buranus (Carmina Burana) Wheel of Fortune (Schicksalsrad) Source: Wikipedia

Date: Monday, July 18th
Time: 8:00 PM
Admission: $8
Presented by Morbid Anatomy

Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana-full title Carmina Burana: Cantiones profanæ cantoribus et choris cantandæ comitantibus instrumentis atque imaginibus magicis (”Songs of Beuern: Secular songs for singers and choruses to be sung together with instruments and magic images”)-was written not in the depths of the dark ages as one might assume, but in Nazi-era Germany, premiering to great acclaim in 1937 Frankfurt. The piece sets to music a selection of poems drawn from a subversive medieval manuscript of the same name which had been discovered at a Bavarian Benedictine monastery in 1803; primary themes include the popular medieval trope of the Wheel of Fortune (a literal example of which controls much of the action), the ephemerality of life, and the allure and peril of drinking, gambling, gluttony and lust.

Carl Orff ’s original conception for Carmina Burana incorporated orchestral music, acting, dance, masks, costumes, and sets in a kind of “Theatrum Mundi” in which music, movement, and speech were equal and essential pieces of the whole. The few contemporary performances that have staged the production according to Orff’s original conception have a fascinatingly uncanny, unsettling, Hieronymus Bosch-ian feel, as if something deep in our collective past were attempting to speak to us in a symbolic language beyond the reach of reason. By turns epic, bawdy, surrealistic, monstrous, bizarre and sublime-and always utterly compelling-these are very special productions not to be missed.

Tonight, join us for a screening of just such a production; The piece is performed in the original Latin but includes English subtitles, and will be broadcast over our astoundingly great new PA system.

Comments are closed.