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Oehring, Helmut: Der Ort ist nicht der Ort (with Iris ter Schiphorst) (The place is not the place) (2000) 70'
A music-theatre 'action'

Music Text


Libretto by Iris ter Schiphorst and Helmut Oehring (G). Graphics by Hagen Klennert


3 soloists; 0.1.bcl.1- gtr-kbd-4vln-live electronics

Abbreviations (PDF)


This work is available from Boosey & Hawkes for the world.

For full details on this stagework, including synopsis and roles, please visit our Opera section.

World Premiere

Deutscher Pavillon, Hannover
Arno Rauning, soprano/L Lixenberg, soprano/Christina Schoenfeld, sign language / Ensemble Aventure / Christian Hommel

Programme Note


Throughout their five-year collaboration, Iris ter Schiphorst and Helmut Oehring have dealt with the possibilities and the impossibility of communication, each from their individual point of view. For Oehring, the son of deaf parents, language has a visual dimension. Images emerge through language, and rather than catching those images verbally, he transfers them into a different medium, his tonal idiom, where they are given definition. For Iris ter Schiphorst on the other hand, 20th-century literature is an important basis. However, her works, too have a pivotal visual component, which she develops using a wide range of media.

In DER ORT IST NICHT DER ORT (THE PLACE IS NOT THE PLACE), a musical theatre ‘action’ for one voice, a soprano, a deaf actor, live electronics and recorded material, the two composers reflect their own work, visualising the central theme of their collaboration, the search for mutual understanding. Together with graphic designer Hagen Klennert and light artist Lutz Deppe, they have focussed and shadowed out structural musical constellations within new space arrangements. The result is a visual and acoustic play with frequent space shifts, expressing the desire for successful communication and recovery in an environment which is made uninhabitable through misunderstandings and disrupted continuity. The will to communicate is contradicted by the inability to do so. The organisers of the German Expo pavilion showed courage indeed when they commissioned this work for 26 October 2000, risking leaving open questions towards the end of the World Fair. At the same time, they sent out a signal for openness and expectation at the beginning of the 21st century.

Press Quotes


"The real excellence of the composing duo Oehring/ter Schiphorst has been, and remains, their highly original tonal imagination and the extreme, often raw energy of their music, which draws on an extensive range of experience from jazz to electronic music, rock and pop right up to advanced artistic music. It would be promising to extend this musical potential, which in any case is latently theatrical, visually and scenically, however it would have to be produced more accurately and consistently than at the première." (Raoul Mörchen, MusikTexte 86/87)

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