Necati Öziri (33) wants to correct “German, male classics”, as he emphasizes. They must be freed from racist and sexist stereotypes. Otherwise the theater should not become the place for which Öziri believes it is intended: “If racism, classism or sexism are systems that organize a space, then theatres, operas and cultural institutions must become spaces that are organized differently. They have to be small windows through which we look into a possible world, they have to be small model cities of an open society.”
Richard Wagner’s “The Ring of the Nibelung” also does not correspond to the ideal image of an open society. That’s why Öziri is now taking on him. What will come out of it can be seen from June 1st at the “Wiener Festwochen” (Hall E in the Museumsquartier). Öziri’s version shortens the voluminous opera material to four hours. In doing so, he works out the “repression immanent to the work”, which he wants to recognize in it, and “contrasts the heroism with intimate but powerful counter-narratives”, as stated in the program of the Wiener Festwochen.
What changes Öziri is coming up with in Vienna, he and the festival weeks are not yet revealing. There is no question that the Valkyries could be upgraded as quite strong women, and in the end perhaps replace Siegfried entirely, whose sword can easily be exposed as a phallic symbol? The Germanic resonates too much with some names, just think of Woglinde, Wellgunde, Wotan, Mime, Siegmund, Sieglinde and Brünnhilde. As you can see, there is a lot of need for change.
Necati Öziri is actually against a German work canon anyway, as he tells the standard. Because the canon only inspires “a certain idea of a dominant culture, with all its exclusions and injustices”. And: “The canon wants to determine what counts as ‘high culture’ and what isn’t, the canon wants to determine what knowledge one needs to have in order to be able to enjoy the theatre.”
About his own way of working he says: “I try to tell the same story, ie with the same characters, in the same historical constellation and then I see which ‘operations’ I have to carry out so that I can tell this narration in an anti-racist and anti-sexist way? The interesting thing about this process for me is that through this method I have to precisely locate and edit the suppressing tools.”
The musical performance of the “Ring” will also differ noticeably from the Wagner opera quartet. The program says: “As music directors, Black Cracker and Jonas Holle fill their Ring Orchestra with eight contemporary pop musicians and arrange their counter-compositions to the extraordinary soundtrack of a polyphonic production.”