Opera, this “great white and ultra-expensive limousine of the cultural industry” (Müller / Rinnert), is oftentimes peppered with exoticism, and much of its repertoire arouses suspicion of racism today. Within the current Critical Whiteness discourse, however, the opera, for its practice of “colorblind” casting, is seen as quite sophisticated: no one bothers about a Japanese woman singing Aida or half of Weber’s Jägerchor originating from Korea.
Since 2009, Johannes Müller and Philine Rinnert have been working on music theater projects in which they critically examine the social impact of opera and relate it to today’s world of pop, queer culture and the entertainment industry. In THE WHITE LIMOZEEN they centre on Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” while exploring the narrative techniques of opera and the tension between colonial history and everyday practice in opera business. How is foreign culture constructed by means of music, costume and mask? Is Cio-Cio San’s death a racially motivated murder by the librettist?
Concept and research: Müller / Rinnert
Direction: Johannes Müller
Stage/costumes: Philine Rinnert
With Sarai Cole (Soprano) and Sabrina Ma (Percussion)
Premiere September 2018,
at Werkhaus Heckmann-Höfe
A production of BAM! – Berliner Festival für aktuelles Musiktheater.
BAM! is an initiative of ZMB – Zeitgenössisches Musiktheater Berlin e.V., funded by Hauptstadtkulturfonds, Schering Stiftung and Rudolf Augstein Stiftung.