Günes Gürle (Cahit), Sirin Kiliç (Sibel), Projektchor | © Hans Jörg Michel
Gegen die Wand
Ludger Vollmer
Duration: abt. 2½ hrs., one interval
Duration: abt. 2½ hrs., one interval
That opera does not always have to be set in former times, but can also portray a conflict of today with gripping emotionality, is proved by the opera “Head-on” by Ludger Vollmer (b.1952), creating with it one of the most important of contemporary works for the musical stage. The basis of his work is the prize-winning film by Fatih Akin, which he convincingly adapted for the operatic stage. It is the first opera simultaneously in German and Turkish, and in addition to the classic orchestra it also uses traditional Turkish instruments such as the Kaval (a sort of flute) and Saz (of the lute family), thus gaining a sound of great energy potential and expressive variety.

“Head-on” tells the dramatic story of Sibel and Cahit, two young immigrants from Turkey in Germany, who are searching for their identity in the friction-laden no-man’s-land between family tradition and the lures of uninhibited modern life-style. Sibel undertakes a sham marriage to Cahit in order to ward off interference from their families. Released from their spying, she plunges into innumerable affairs in her hunger for life and love. Cahit however feels that he has in fact really fallen in love with his sham wife, and in the heat of the moment he kills one of her former lovers. Sibel promises to wait for Cahit until he is released from prison, but she proves unable to keep her promise. In Istanbul she begins a new life.

For this work, which was premièred in Bremen in 2008, Ludger Vollmer received a special award for tolerance from the European Cultural Forum. Generalintendant Prof. Christoph Meyer comments: “In order to bring ‘Head-on’ to the stage we have already contacted musicians and singers from Turkey, or with a Turkish immigrant background in Germany, and we are looking forward to an exciting artistic collaboration resulting from the meeting of Eastern and Western musical traditions. Apart from anything else, this feature of the opera has a bearing on current issues prominent in daily life in the Ruhr area, especially in respect of our work in schools”. Duisburg’s culture spokesman Thomas Krützberg takes the theme up: “This special artistic event offers us the opportunity actively to bring divergent elements of our social and cultural network into contact with music-theatre. ‘Head-on’ will contribute a further impulse to our intensive striving for intercultural dialogue in our urban scene”.

The staging of “Head-on” has been undertaken by Gregor Horres with the team with which he made a successful début at Deutsche Oper am Rhein with Jörg Widmann’s contemporary opera “The Face in the Mirror”.
Ludger Vollmer
Gegen die Wand (“Head-on”)
Opera after the film by Fatih Akin

Libretto by the composer following an idea by Dorotty Szalma

Promoted by Freundeskreis der Deutschen Oper am Rhein e.V.

In German and Turkish with German and Turkish surtitles

Musikalische Leitung Wen-Pin Chien
Inszenierung Gregor Horres
Bühne Jan Bammes
Kostüme Yvonne Forster
Licht Volker Weinhart
Chorleitung Gerhard Michalski
Dramaturgie Hella Bartnig
Cahit Günes Gürle
Sibel Sirin Kiliç
Yunus Güner Michail Milanov
Dr. Schiller Ortwin Rave
Birsen Güner Sarah Ferede
Yilmaz Güner Tansel Akzeybek
Niko Conny Thimander
Hüseyin Conny Thimander
Selma Elisabeth Selle
Hochzeitsänger Melih Tepretmez
Tanzperformer David Laera, Caterina Mascia
Kellner Ömer Temizel
Chor Studenten der Robert Schumann Musikhochschule
Orchester Duisburger Philharmoniker


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