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Chamber Opera by Diana Rotaru, "In the Body" – subjective thoughts
(Diana Rotaru, Operă de cameră În trup – gânduri subiective )
(Elena Maria Șorban, muzicolog – 20 noiembrie 2017)

I came to the performance of this work in Cluj only by an arid professional interest, as a duty by working in an international project on feminine music.

Romanian musical life quite rarely offers possibilities to listen to contemporary Romanian music outside Bucharest. It was only 2011 that I heard another work by Diana Rotaru in my hometown, Cluj: the multimedia musical-choreographical show entitled Onde, Ondine, which I considered in my chronicle as "a meditative, tragic poem" on loneliness – but without to remain interested about it.

This time, I was almost ready to declare that I discovered what feminine music has as specificity: suddenly, beginning with the first musical moment, a wordless aria for soprano, a lament, where I also detected folkloric-like elements. I knew nothing about the plot; I didn’t even know that she (!) is Hamlet. (I associated the character with Frida Kahlo, in her self-portrait as a stag.) In this music, I only felt a profound suffering, which a revelatory effect on me: this one has to be THE feminine music – which I was not only looking for it as a researcher but also living it in my depth, as a woman in pain.

From now on, I was conquered by this opera as a pure – maybe that is abstract – tragic beauty, in music as well as in the staging. I was absolutely involved in it, living the allegory in all my being.

Some intellectual clarification and concretization came only after the performance, by reading the program notes on the chamber opera, declared by Diana Rotaru as "a surreal" and "in some way a feminist" work.

Here they are two women singers, a soprano (Rodica Vică: Hamlet) and a mezzo-soprano (Antonela Bârnat: Ophelia) – with their characters each one captive in the body of the other. And two women dancers – Smaranda Găbudeanu (Hamlet) and Cristina Lilienfeld (Ophelia; she is also the choreographer of the play) – who duplicate the persons in their search of an identity.

In music, fine medieval allusions, also maybe Aurel Stroe and György Ligeti remembering sounds, as well as postmodern mechanical urban music are used according to the places and meanings of this pursuit for selfhood.

The finding occurs by melting of both of them (not just as bodies; Scene 6, "The Plain") – but the denouement turns as fatal: Ophelia kills Hamlet by his antlers… (Scene 7, reminding me of "The Maids" by Genet and musical suggestion from the tango of "The Soldier’s Tale" by Stravinsky).

My lack of definition concerning "feminine music" results now by the fact that some of the authors of this work are males: the writer Cristian Măceșaru (who appears – the deus ex machina as a nowadays procedure – by a simply filmed intervention), the very creative and elaborative stage director Rareș Zaharia, as well as the video artists Serioja Bocsok and Cristian Iordache (ygreq).

The music – conducted by Diana Rotaru herself – is both interesting and beautiful! The whole performance – scenographer: Andreea Koch – is a meaningful meditation on couple and identity, very refined in all its details.

I was glad to notice that the concert hall of the Music Academy in Cluj was full and, even more, on youtube, the work obtained more than 3.300 views in the first ten days after being posted. Bravi, authors and Ensemble SonoMania!


La Cluj, spectacolul cu opera de cameră În trup – textul de Cristian Măceșaru, muzica de Diana Rotaru, interpretată de ansamblul SonoMania, regia Rareș Zaharia – a avut un binemeritat succes. Alegoria, pornind de la cuplul Hamlet – Ofelia (dedublat prin două cântărețe și două dansatoare: Rodica Vică, Antonela Bârnat, respectiv Smaranda Găbudeanu și Cristina Lilienfeld), se referă la căutarea identității; muzica, bine adaptată celor șapte scene, este deopotrivă interesantă și copleșitor de frumoasă.

Copyright: cIMeC 2017