HUMAN REQUIEM IN ELEUSIS
BY JOCHEN SANDIG & SASHA WALTZ
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis
Photo by John Kouskoutis

HUMAN REQUIEM IN ELEUSIS

By Jochen Sandig & Sasha Waltz

A mystagogic musical composition-contemplation on the same existential questions posed by the famous Eleusinian Mysteries for nearly two millennia.

“Human Requiem” was originally conceived in 2012 by German director Jochen Sandig, choreographer Sasha Waltz, visual artist Brad Hwang and various artistic collaborators for the Berlin Radio Choir. Based on Johannes Brahms’ composition, it provides solace for the living from various faith perspectives. The production has since become a renowned interdisciplinary series, touring globally from New York to Hong Kong, and from Berlin and Athens to Adelaide, among other cities.   Jochen Sandig’s connection with Eleusis since 2016, along with its universal narrative inspired by the Eleusinian Mysteries, was a pivotal influence in shaping “Mystery 14 Human Requiem in Eleusis.” The performance transforms the deeply human and interfaith message of the Requiem into a sensory experience that focuses on love transcending pain and sorrow, celebrating life in its finite nature. The Rundfunkchor Berlin presents a collaborative work under the unique musical direction of Gijs Leenaars, with each choir member’s voice filling the space as if they were a soloist.   This unique performance serves as a contemplative exploration of existential questions, echoing the mysteries of Eleusis that have fascinated people for nearly two millennia. This performance is a reimagining of “Human Requiem,” originally created in 2012 for the Berlin Radio Choir, but adapted specifically for the extraordinary location in Eleusis. The musical centerpiece of the performance is based on Johannes Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem” (German Requiem). The ancient sanctuary of Eleusis is transformed into a communal space for collective purification, where text, movement, space, and sound converge to create a unified work of art. Rather than a somber funeral procession, it is a celebration of life, emphasizing the theme “memento mori” (remember death) that ultimately transforms into “carpe diem” (seize the day). The performance offers a collective catharsis, rooted in the belief that mortality is a shared destiny uniting all people.
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Reviews

– Rundfunkchor Berlin

 

Through »Human Requiem in Eleusis« archaeology comes alive again: the ancient site comes alive through this production and visitors of the archaeological site are offered a deeper experience. The ancient Sanctuary of Eleusis is transformed into an open space of community and collective catharsis. Text, body, space and sound merge in a total work of art.

– This is Athens 

 

Human Requiem takes a different approach in an attempt to connect the Eleusinian Mysteries with Johannes Brahms’ lengthiest composition, Ein Deutsches Requiem and brings both to the present. Brahms’ requiem is not typical to start with, since he purposefully omitted references to Christianity and made it all about the meaning of life. German director Jochen Sandig, along with choreographer Sasha Waltz, and visual artist Brad Hwang created a requiem that celebrates human existence through the acceptance of our common mortality. A fascinating mystagogic performance for your pleasure, at the archaeological site of Elefsina.
Presented at:
  • Eleusis Archaeological Site , Athens, Greece :  Sep 29-30 & Oct 1 2023 
Credits
Concept – Direction: Jochen Sandig  Dramaturgy – Choreography: Sasha Waltz  Set Design: Brad Hwang  Lighting Design: André Pronk  Sound Design: Holger Schwark  Film Documentation: Stephan Talneau Rundfunkchor  Musical Direction: Gijs Leenaars  Co-conductor: Justus Barleben  Singers: Soprano / Marlis Petersen, Baritone / Benjamin Appl, Piano / Angela Gassenhuber, Philip Mayers and 60 members of the Rundfunkchor Berlin  Artistic collaboration / Repetition: Davide Camplani, Claudia de Serpa Soares, Ilka Seifert  Dancers: Clémentine Deluy, Claudia de Serpa de Soares, Virgis Puodziunas & 10 dancers from Sasha Waltz & Guests    Line Production: Too Far East Technical Support & Equipment  Manos Backline Services Co-produced by 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture, World Human Forum, the Federal Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany, the Rundfunkchor Berlin in collaboration with Sasha Waltz & Guests, Radialsystem Berlin Supported by the Ephorate of Antiquities of West Attica