In 2017 we rebuilt both, the stage that Adolphe Appia had designed for the first Hellerau Festival in 1912, and the lightroom conceived by Alexander von Salzmann, at its place of origin: The Great Hall of the Festspielhaus Hellerau in Dresden.
Appia used flexible elements to construct a stage for Gluck’s opera Orfeo and Euridice, and von Salzmann built his shadowless lightroom: reams of white fabric lit from behind by some 5,000 light bulbs, creating a diffuse, dematerializing light. This new stage design opened up a whole new world of opportunities for artistic expression and staging. If this space can be understood as the fulfilment of a utopian dream, then its reconstruction after more than 100 years can be seen as an attempt to verify how valid it still is in the present.
Then, artists were invited to engage with the possibilities offered by this historical stage. From 17 October through 11 November 2017, their works picked up on Appias visionary stage concept and transformed it into the present. The works of all these choreographers, musicians, and performing artists, including Robert Wilson, William Forsythe, Richard Siegal, Frédéric Flamand, Constanza Macras et al., can hardly be imagined without Appias visions: they all have used it to develop a whole new language of their own.
These artists experimented with Appias modular stage elements, repositioned them in various ways, built new stage sets out of them, and designed specific choreographies for them or remodelled existing ones.
An academic programme and a documentary exhibition accompanied the project.
Country/Region Dresden, Germany
Designer Héctor Solari, Dieter Jaenicke, Kai Kaden, Tobias Blasberg, Falk Dittrich (DE)
Chief-Curator: Héctor Solari
Artistic Director Of Hellerau – European Center For The Arts Dresden (2009-2018): Dieter Jaenicke
Co-Curators: Barbara Damm, Frank Geissler, Gabriele Gorgas, Claire Kuschnig, Carmen Mehnert
Technical Director: Kai Kaden
Head Of Construction: Tobias Blasberg
Lighting Designer: Falk Dittrich
Director, Editor: Héctor Solari
Richard Beacham, Richard Siegal, Jan Martens, Frédéric Flamand, Robert Wilson, Daniel Libeskind, Constanza Macras, Luis Camnitzer, Jone San Martin, Amancio Gonzalez, Avatâra Ayuso, Angel Martinez Roger, Picado-De Blas, Lukas Ligeti, Simon Stockhausen