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“part-quarantine, part-operetta.” - L-F Céline
“I have two passions: love and the infantry” - Maréchal Philippe Pétain
fragments & figments of Sigmaringen: An Opera-Installation
by Andrea Loselle & Daniel Rothman
First Part: Maréchal Pétain
00:00 - "Ci-git La France"
02:12 - "I Am Everywhere"
09:56 - "En grêve"
“I talked to him about murder; he answered me with gardening” Pastor Marc Boegner on his meeting with Pierre Laval, September 9, 1942, to protest the deportation of Jews from France.
In the northeastern French town of Belrain, near Verdun, where the WWI battle which bears its name had valorized General Pétain, France’s last remaining ‘Rue du Maréchal-Pétain’ was débaptisée March 14, 2013.
March 8, 2014, Leo Bretholz passed away at 93, 72 years since his leap from a French transport train in 1942, en route to Auschwitz. Bretholz devoted his life to seeking an apology from the SNCF for complicity in the Holocaust; it formally apologized to its victims in 2011, Bretholz’s 90th year.
NB: Dec. 5, 2014, France agreed to compensate Holocaust victims who had been deported via its state railway during WWII.
“Four days of balloting across 28 countries elected scores of rebellious outsiders, including a clutch of xenophobes, racists and even neo-Nazis. In Britain, Denmark, France, and Greece, insurgent forces from the far right stunned the established political parties.” New York Times May 27, 2014
“I am definitely NOT [sic] interested in your project. But Christian (Scheib) - strangely enough - still seems to believe in it.” - Elke Tschaikner, Künsterlische Leiterin ORF Musikprotokoll im Steirischen Herbst, Aug. 21, 2013.
fragments & figments of Sigmaringen: An Opera-Installation marks the Vichy government’s sequestration to the southern German village of Sigmaringen, seventy years ago, September 2014. Under France’s WWI hero and Le chef de l’État français Maréchal Pétain, Sigmaringen became the seat of unoccupied France, with its own flag, currency, post office, radio station and two foreign embassies: German and Italian. As doctor tending to the ulcer of its Conseil d’État Pierre Laval, the writer L-F Céline described Sigmaringen in D’un château l’autre as “part-quarantine, part-operetta.”
The first installment of fragments & figments of Sigmaringen: An Opera-Installation incarnates Maréchal Pétain through the handsome tape recorder recovered from Schloß Sigmaringen, where he occupied the floor above his detested Minister of State, and refused to govern the unoccupied zone.
The characters of succeeding installments are Dr. L-F. Céline, accompanied by Bébert, and our anti-hero Christian de la Mazière, who failed to receive the audience of Maréchal Pétain before leaving for the Eastern Front with the SS Charlemagne Division, which he miraculously survived and lived to become Dalida’s lover.
Sigmaringen was a commission of the ORF for Musikprotokoll-Graz, by its curator Christian Scheib:
"Es gibt schließlich auch Leute, die nicht mehr als einen alten Kassettenrekorder brauchen, um Aufregendere zu erzeugen als andere Komponisten mit hundert Partituren…." ("Finally, there are also people who do not need more than an old tape recorder to produce something more exciting than other composers with hundreds of music scores….")
Installation concept, sound/music, video/editing: Daniel Rothman
Libretto: Andrea Loselle
Maréchal Philippe Pétain: Nicholas Isherwood
Jean Luchaire: Jean-Claude Carron
Harp: Liesl Erman
more info: archives-nationales.culture.gouv.fr/web/guest/la_collaboration