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08 - 28/06/2015

photo: Marcin Oliva Soto
Galleryphoto: Marcin Oliva Soto

Sztuka, która przerywa sen [Art which interrupts sleep]. Katarzyna Tórz about the theatre of Forced Entertainment and Tim Etchells, curator of the Idiom New World Order:

They describe themselves as a group of people who simply want to do what they enjoy. It doesn’t matter if it takes the form of theatre, a neon sign, a book, a video project or a website. They want to speak about the times which we live in. They want to delight, entertain and cause anxiety. Although they cooperated with numerous artists in the course of years, the human core of Forced Entertainment remained the same. (...) Forced Entertainment was formed on the basis of human agreement, shared energy, a similar outlook on the world and the need to take a stance on it. The point is to take issue with its order – manifested, on the one hand, in everyday modes of operation, the routine of gestures, repeated patterns of behaviour, desires, social roles, and, on the other, in the discourse which names and closes the unique and elusive existential experiences in the apparatus of language.

A special block of texts about Forced Entertainment, including an interview with Tim Etchells and the director’s notes to the performance Quizoola! which were unpublished before, appeared in the 126th issue of “Didaskalia”.

Góra znalazła Chyrę [The Mountain found Chyra]. Dorota Szwarcman’s interview with Andrzej Chyra, director of the opera The Magic Mountain, “Polityka”, 6.05.2015.

On the work on The Magic Mountain:

It is a mystery to me too. It is like in this well-known joke: a man comes to a jeweller’s with a huge pearl and wants to have it drilled through. None of the employees wants to do it and in the end they give the pearl to an apprentice. Why? Because he does not know its value, his hand will not shake. I joke about it like that (...).

Małgosia [Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk, author of libretto] has finally found, so to say, some storyline catch-all and created a libretto which had to be shortened anyway. The outcome will definitely be controversial. I think that none of The Magic Mountain enthusiasts will be satisfied, because indeed it is difficult to include so much content in one performance. (...)

It seems to me that it lost the kind of linearity present in Mann’s book, because although the book is multi-layered, its narration is still coherent, flowing. Now I can only say that the music is intriguing.

On the music and the opera:

Music is the world in which I feel comfortable. I don’t have any substantial musicological knowledge, but listening to music gives me a lot of pleasure. (...)

However, in an opera you have to be obedient to music. Even if you show images which are – as it may seem – in contrast to this music, or which are abstract, the music still organizes the time. And this is probably the most significant difference between theatre and opera. That’s what makes this easier and more difficult at the same time.

Malta Festival Poznań – artyści wykreują nowy ład światowy [Malta Festival Poznań – artists will create a new world order], Jacek Marczyński, “Rzeczpospolita” 7.05.2015. 

The 25-year-old festival is the largest interdisciplinary event in the country, which, as can be seen, intends to stay like that.

Rusza Malta Festival Poznań 2015 [Malta Festival Poznań 2015 begins], Urszula Schwarzenberg-Czerny, “Polityka”, 7.05.2015.

Artistic events to be seen in Poznań will thus form a story about how technology changes not only the lives of individuals, but also of the whole societies. “I don’t claim that the works which I selected exhaust all themes and trends – Tim Etchells writes in the text announcing the festival. – But I am sure that these restless movements, transformation trends will resonate in the background giving the programme of the Idiom potency, that they will ask questions: how can theatre help us map and understand the area undergoing constant changes”.

Malta jest bezczelna i nie musi się z nikim układać [Malta is impudent and does not have to negotiate with anybody], Stefan Drajewski’s interview with Michał Merczyński, “Głos Wielkopolski”, 12.05.2015. 

After twenty five years we found out that at the beginning of the next stage we are in a bit different situation as regards the theatre, the actor and the spectator. We are also, once again, in a different situation as regards ourselves. Malta is becoming an institution which focuses not only on the festival in June, but animates other undertakings throughout the whole year. (...)

Nigdy nie zasypiaj! [Never sleep!], Roman Pawłowski’s interview with Tim Etchells, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 23.05.2015.

I selected for Malta those performances which not so much describe the new order as look at the world in a new way and make it possible to see it in a different light. I wanted to engage artists who involve spectators in the creative process, leave an area for their imagination, co-authorship. (...)

Nowadays, millions of sources and narrations overlap. The fundamental question: how can we keep the possibility of a critical conversation about the world if the soil we are standing on and the air we are breathing are contaminated and imbued with all this? I am not saying that some terrifying disaster is ahead of us, but I feel the need to ask how we can keep a critical distance to it. And whether we still have the possibility to criticise the machine which we live in.

Odkąd pamiętam – organizowałem! [I’ve been organizing since I remember!], interview with Michał Merczyński, “Rzeczpospolita”, 1.06.2015. 

Malta Festival fitted the spirit of transformation. We took culture to the streets, we were recovering the city for its inhabitants. And, at the same time, we offered a complete frenzy of the street and outdoor theatre in place of bourgeois art.

Nowy porządek świata [The new world order], Jacek Cieślak’s article, “Rzeczpospolita”, 1.06.2015.

The Poznań-based Malta was the arena of presentation of the most significant performances, concerts, exhibitions, installations and civic projects. (...) Malta means also great artists which the Polish audience got to know even before they won recognition in the West. They include Romeo Castellucci who came to Poland for the first time to participate in Malta.

Chyra, Mykietyn, Bałka i „Czarodziejska góra” [Chyra, Mykietyn, Bałka and “The Magic Mountain”], “Art&Business”, 1.06.2015.

Interviews with Andrzej Chyra, Paweł Mykietyn and Mirosław Bałka were published in the June issue of “Art&Business”:

Zabawa w wizjonera [Playing a visionary], Agnieszka Michalak’s interview with Andrzej Chyra

We would be going too far claiming that we are making Mann’s The Magic Mountain. We are rather extracting from it some themes which fascinate us and adding something in order to tell an existential story about the man, his awakening and coming back to life.

Anachroniczność orkiestry [Outdatedness of the orchestra], Izabela Smelczyńska’s interview with z Paweł Mykietyn

On the one hand, I say that I am a traditional composer, but I keep wondering to what extent a symphony orchestra is a medium to express oneself in the present day. (...) I am afraid that only slightly. Michał Merczyński gave me a carte blanche and I felt the outdatedness of the singers on stage and the orchestra in the orchestra pit.

Kretowisko Zauberberg [Zauberberg molehill], Paweł Drabarczyk’s interview with Mirosław Bałka

Experiencing the body by reading The Magic Mountain was present in me and it may be somehow related to my art. I realised it only now, as I reached to Mann again when working on the stage design.
The intensity of The Magic Mountain seemed like a molehill to me, a place you are in, rather than a place which you stand on. The point here is not to contemplate views, but to dig, churn, search in darkness, in the inside, in a bottomless well.

Malta 2015: Żyjemy na czarodziejskiej górze [Malta 2015: We are living on a magic mountain], Danuta Bartkowiak’s interview with Michał Merczyński, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 8.06.2015.

We made something pioneering in Poland, that is we introduced the system of curators who carry out themes proposed by us and invite artists who present performances corresponding to those themes. And these are good performances. In addition, we organize the Forum, publish books. This a real culture-forming work. We plan everything in a three-year cycle, we already have the next three themes and their curators.

I didn’t think that The Magic Mountain will acquire such a foreboding relevance. This book ends on the day when World War I breaks out. And we, Poles, are on such a magic mountain. People with a certain kind of sensitivity live in a separation of sorts, and it suddenly turns out that the surrounding reality is completely different and not only squawks, but at some point also attacks from an unknown flank. Today it acquired other meanings. I think that it will be one of the most important shows in Malta’s entire history. We involve the best Polish artists. Initially, Paweł Mykietyn was sceptical, he said that he didn’t know if it was still a significant text. He read it once again and said: “It is”.

Malta Festival Poznań 2015: New World Order, Piersandra Di Matteo’s conversation with Katarzyna Tórz, festival’s programmer, artibune.com.

A special, several-page long supplement about Malta Festival Poznań 2015 was published in the 24th issue of “Polityka”. The supplement included information about the performances from the Idiom, events from the Mann programme, Generator Malta, concerts and an interview with Edit Kaldor.

Czarodziejski Chyra [The Magic Chyra], Jacek Wakar’s article announcing the opera The Magic Mountain, “Uroda Życia” 9.06.2015.

Great literature is not to look for an intrusive relevance at all costs – Chyra tells us. But I am sure that The Magic Mountain very strongly resonates also in our times. Mann describes the sense of the decline of civilisation which is very close to us and an escape from the reality. One can easily find the voices of an imminent disaster in his novel.

Choreografia przypadkowa na dobry początek festiwalu Malta [Accidental choreography for Malta festival’s good start], Stanisław Godlewski, “Gazeta Wyborcza” Poznań, 11.06.2015.

A dance show There might be others by Rebecca Lazier was one of the first elements of the programme of this year’s Malta. It turned out a truly grand opening. (...) There might be others is of course a display of an exceptional fitness and concentration of all of the dancers. At the same time, the technique used in it gives the dancers a lot of freedom. This sense of freedom also spreads on the audience.

Sanatorium bez klepsydry – operowa „Czarodziejska góra” na Malcie [A sanatorium without an hourglass – operatic “The Magic Mountain” at Malta], Anna S. Dębowska’s article, “Gazeta Wyborcza”, 12.06.2015.

Without doubt, time is one of the heroes of this atypical production and it is so from the very beginning. The librettist had to deal with it, faced with a problem how to fit an around 1200-page long intellectual structure into a two-hour performance. – I looked for different adaptations of literature into opera. Britten and his Death in Venice served as a model for me as well as Nicholas Lens’ opera Slow Man with J.M. Coetzee’s libretto which was written by the Nobel Prize winner on the basis of his novel and commissioned by Malta Festival where its world premiere took place in 2012 – says Małgorzata Sikorska-Miszczuk.

It is an opera with singing, but no orchestra or a traditional stage design. The visual setting for the performance is created by Mirosław Bałka, an outstanding visual artist, who proposes an autonomous artistic object, which is a significant challenge to the director as it carries its own content and form. The front trenches will be an important element too.



On 6 May 2015 Barbara Marcinik, presenter of the programme Trójka pod księżycem [Trójka Under the Moon] spoke about the programme of the 25th edition of Malta Festival Poznań on Trójka – Polish Radio Three. The programme in Polish is available under this link.

On 14 May 2015 Andrzej Chyra was the guest of the programme OFFCzarek on TOK FM and told Cezary Łasiczka about the work on the opera The Magic Mountain. The whole programme in Polish is available under this link.

Katarzyna Tórz, Michał Merczyński and Tomasz Plata were the guests of Barbara Marcinik in the programme Klub Trójki [Trójka’s Club] on Program Trzeci Polskiego Radia [Polish Radio Three] where they spoke about this year’s Idiom New World Order. The programme in Polish can be listened to here.


Michał Merczyński was the guest of the programme Hala Odlotów [Departure Hall] on TVP Kultura on 4 June 2015.

Does Malta Festival set trends and will we all follow them to reach the crown of large cities? And does a normal person need a monument? Joanna Januszewska and Anna Jochymek, author of the performance Pomnik człowieka normalnego [Monument to a normal man] spoke about it on WTK.

Piotr C. Kowalski, author of Transistional Pictures and Klaudia Lewczuk, coordinator of Generator Malta, spoke about the programme of Generator Malta on WTK.

On TVP Kultura on every second Monday from 8 June to 3 July the programme Malta: Performance – a survey of the most significant performance actions from the festival’s 25 years.


Malta Festival 2015. New World Order, interview with Katarzyna Tórz at Artribune

Anstrengender Aufstieg zum Zauberberg, Zenaida des Aubris reviews "The Magic Mountain" at opernnetz.de

Bedtime Stories, and More from the Malta Festival, Rebecca Jacobson, reviews the festival at exeuntmagazine.com

What’s on This Week Around the World, Arts Beat - New York Times Blog, announces Malta Festival Poznań at the New York Times

reviews from Malta Festival Poznań by Andrew Haydon at the "Postcards from the Gods" blog:

Tomorrow’s Parties – Pawilon Nowa Gazownia, Poznań 
Schwalbe is looking for crowds – Stara Rzeźnia, Poznań 
Home Visit Europe – [someone’s home on] ulica Rylla, Osiedle Bajkowe, Poznań 
Doktor Faustus – Stara Rzeźnia, Poznań 
Inventory of Powerlessness – Stara Rzeźnia, Poznań 

Performing the missing public, review by Joe Kelleher at stedelijkstudies.com

Field Trip: Malta Festival, Poznań, Poland, Emma Sumner reviews the festival at thedoublenegative.co.uk

Review of Malta Festival's 25th Anniversary Edition in Poznan, Poland, Emma Sumner reviews the festival at aestheticamagazine.com

C’est entêtant, sismique, rythmique, cela coïncide parfaitement avec le foisonnement perceptif présent dans la nature et mis en œuvre par cette installation à la sensualité totale. Elle autorise pleinement le chaos affectif. Ainsi les mots se confondent en notes musicales. Car comme l’écrit Thomas Mann « musique et langage allaient de pair, au fond ne faisaient qu’un ». Le langage et la musique s’efforçant chacun de tendre l’un vers l’autre sécrétant pour ainsi dire un chant sacré, dont Romeo Castellucci a le secret. - Quentin Margne reviewing Romeo Castellucci's "Doctor Faustus" at INFERNO

The festival will be hosting a huge concert, creating an opera from scratch inspired by an epic 900-page novel, and hosting a three-week long, non-stop party for a whole city - Michał Merczyński, Malta Festival Poznań director, announces the event at the International Arts Manager