Requiem pour L.

ALAIN PLATEL & FABRIZIO CASSOL | Belgium | Music theater


Twelve years after the success of the company ‹les ballets C de la B› with «vsprs», Alain Platel and Fabrizio Cassol are returning to Basel – with a unique music performance and reinterpretation of Mozart’s Requiem. The Requiem has endured on the pages of musical history as a legacy of achievement. Even though it was unfinished at the time of Mozart’s death. The composer Fabrizio Cassol along with musicians from the Congo, South Africa, Brazil and Europe has laid bare Mozart’s original parts, thus enabling us to appreciate his musical legacy from a new artistic perspective. The result is a breathtaking new-age requiem, which is brought into intercontinental dialogue with the European work. Original melodies are enriched with totally different music, so that the original fades into the background without disappearing completely in its resonance.
L. – for her stands the ‹L› in the title – watches the stage from the screen like an observer watching her own parting ritual. We accompany her in her last moments before death and a slow-motion cycle of sleep and wakefulness. «Requiem pour L.» is not happy-go-lucky theatre while definitely being more than ‹just› theatre. Platel and Cassol have created a contemporary stage performance for death, not dance theatre, but a musical work that moves at an energetic and physical pace on the proverbial burial ground. Their requiem is a rehearsal for ‹Ars moriendi›, the art of dying, without which there would be no art of living.






For “Requiem pour L.” you and Alain Platel took Mozart’s unfinished requiem and gave it a new ending with musicians mainly form South Africa and the Kongo. How did you actually proceed in making this possible?

Actually, Mozart’s requiem is a wide open door. After Mozart’s death, Joseph Eybeler and Franz Xaver Süßmayr finished the requiem. I first worked on the actual manuscript and removed their additions. We then took Mozart’s fragment and tried to finish it with African musicians. We thought: Why not trust in actual, living people to bring the requiem to an end? And within the music itself you can find many details that make such a crossing-over into African music possible – the harmonies for example. It is crazy to see how you can merge the classical and baroque musical tradition with other traditions coming from other parts of the word.


What was the experience, then, of altering such a literally “classical” piece of European music?

You know, it’s mainly a few people in the Western world who have access to a live performance of classical music. But this music has the potential to be so much more universal. And this also touches on the question of how you can perform it with the means available. Because in many parts of the world, you won’t be able to get all the instruments, to find the singers for all the voices. So: how can we play this music with what we have? So many things started with amateurs, even Mozart created operas with people that haven’t been professionals. I think to turn the music around and alter it to make it performable in the simplest way possible can really push further in terms of emotions.


During the rehearsals for “Requiem pour L.” you actually accompanied a woman on her death bed until the very end. She is “L.” – to me, this sounds extremely intense.

Alain and I believe that it is necessary to reassess and reconsider our European ceremonies of death and passage in order to be able to live life in a different way. And the requiem was the perfect entry point for this question. “L.” was a woman who agreed to collaborate with this project into the art of dying. Her family supported her in her choice. Images of L. dying are integrated in the performance. With movement and music, the performance becomes a ceremony of mourning alongside an uplifting celebration of life.


Musik Fabrizio Cassol nach Mozarts Requiem | Regie Alain Platel | Musikalische Leitung Rodriguez Vangama | Mit Rodriguez Vangama (Gitarre, Bass); Boule Mpanya, Fredy Massamba, Russell Tshiebua (Gesang); Nobulumko Mngxekeza, Owen Metsileng, Stephen Diaz/Rodrigo Ferreira (lyrischer Gesang); Joao Barradas (Akkordeon); Kojack Kossakamvwe (elektrische Gitarre); Niels
Van Heertum (Euphonium); Bouton Kalanda, Erick Ngoya, Silva Makengo (Likembe); Michel Seba (Perkussion) | Dramaturgie Hildegard De Vuyst | Assistenz Musik Maribeth Diggle | Choreografische Assistenz Quan Bui Ngoc | Video Simon Van Rompay | Kamera Natan Rosseel | Szenografie Alain Platel | Szenografische Umsetzung Wim Van de Cappelle in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Bühnenbildatelier NT Gent | Lichtdesign Carlo Bourguignon | Sounddesign Carlo Thompson | Kostümdesign Dorine Demuynck | Bühnenmanager Wim Van de Cappelle | Fotografie Chris Van der Burght | Produktionsleitung Katrien Van Gysegem, Valerie Desmet | Direktionsassistenz, 
Tour Management Steve De Schepper | Praktikum Performing Arts Lisaboa Houbrechts | Praktikum Technik Ljf Boullet | Produktion les ballets C de la B (BE), Festival de Marseille (FR), Berliner Festspiele (DE) | Koprodution Opéra de Lille (FR), Théâtre National de Chaillot Paris (FR), Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg (LU), Onassis Cultural Centre Athens (GR), TorinoDanza (IT), Aperto Festival/Fondazione I Teatri – Reggio Emilia (IT), Kampnagel Hamburg (DE), Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele (DE), Festspielhaus St. Pölten (AT), L’Arsenal Metz (FR), Scène Nationale du Sud-Aquitain – Bayonne (FR), La Ville de Marseille-Opéra (FR) | Vertrieb Frans Brood Productions | Mit Dank an Isnelle da Silveira, Filip De Boeck, Barbara Raes, Griet Callewaert, atelier NTGent, Mevrouw S.P., Ju rouw A.C., Fondation Camargo (Cassis, France), Sylvain Cambreling | Wir sind L. und ihrer Familie aufrichtig dankbar für ihre aussergewöhnliche Offenheit, ihr tiefes Vertrauen und die einmalige Unterstützung dieses speziellen Projekts. | Im Dialog mit Dr. Marc Cosyns


Das Gastspiel wird unterstützt durch die L. + Th. La Roche-Stiftung.