modern opera, double bill
Ton de Leeuw - Litany of out Time
Udo Zimmermann - Weisse Rose
72 minutes, 1995
A television film based on two short modern operas: Weisse Rose by Udo Zimmerman and Litany of our Time by Ton de Leeuw.
Weisse Rose is about the execution in 1943 of two students Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were arrested after printing and distributing leaflets calling for opposition to the Nazi regime. The opera takes place on the eye of their execution, when they are spending their last night together in a cell.
Litany of Our Time is set at an airport, where a man is waiting for his flight. In these impersonal and mechanical surroundings, where everyone is going their own way, he is bombarded with world news from a newspaper. News about wars, famine, natural disasters and violence scream at him from the pages, but they hardly affect him; they are sounds from a totally different world than the smooth, streamlined world in which he finds himself at that moment. He is seized with a tremendous feeling of unreality.
Weisse Rose forms the dramatic starting point of the television film which was based on two operas; most of the text in the film is sung; there are no conventional dialogues. Hans and Sophie gradually become the symbol for all political prisoners through the ages. Litany of Our Time is set in a different era. Everywhere in the world we are confronted with the intolerance of one man towards another: religious conflicts, (civil) wars and repression are all too often the result. And the media have a field day: wars and other suffering are reduced to media hype, to newsworthy events, which quickly lose their front-page appeal. Can we and should we feel any involvement? We close our eyes to this barrage of news to allow a creeping intolerance to grow like a cancerous tumor - and this is the point in which Weisse Rose and Litany of Our Time converge.