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Schott Music

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Work of the week – Ludger Vollmer: Tschick

During the summer holidays, 14-year-old Maik sets off with his friend Tschick in a stolen truck through East Germany in the direction of Walachia – a Romainian region and the German euphemism for “the middle of nowhere”. It’s a destination they will never reach, but the journey to freedom is full of adventures and bizarre encounters. Adapting the bestseller “Why We Took the Car” by Wolfgang Herrndorf, Ludger Vollmer’s Tschick – Road Opera premieres at Theater Hagen on 18 March with director Roman Hovenbitzer and conductor Florian Ludwig.

Ludger Vollmer, who has brought topical issues for young audiences to the stage in Gegen die Wand and Lola rennt has created another opera for young adults with this coming-of-age story. In Tschick, there are no traditional acts to divide the plot; instead the scenes are “departures” matching the protagonists’ journey, with a variety of settings: a dump, an old quarry, and an overturned pig truck. The music lies on the edge of conventional opera, incorporating fast and frantic vocal lines in the style of punk singer Nina Hagen:

The dynamic music gives the plot an additional emotional, sometimes comical drive. Many of the more profound psychological layers of Herrndorf’s story, possessing fascinating philosophical aspects despite the punk exterior, only become visible through the music. – Ludger Vollmer

Following the premiere, Tschick will run until 8 July at Theater Hagen. It is due to be performed again in Germany in January 2018.

Photo: Iakov Kalinin/ Adobe Stock