October. Germany. Ask most people what those two words bring to mind and the answer is probably giant beer steins in Munich at Oktoberfest.
The program coordinators at the National Theater and Concert Hall, however, had something different in mind, something a bit more cultural.
Building on the success of their British and French festivals, the World View Series 2006 focuses on Made in Germany, and will run from Oct. 17 through Nov. 17.
The artists and groups featured in the festival represent the best of both the traditional or classical world (the Dresden State Orchestra), the modern (the Bavarian State Ballet, theater director Thomas Ostermeier) and the avant-garde (Peter Kastenmuller, Sasha Waltz & Guests). The main stages in both halls will be used, as well as the smaller performance spaces.
The festival technically kicks off early next month, with two Saturday afternoon lectures — in Mandarin — in the Recital Hall of the National Concert Hall building. The first lecture, on Sept. 2 at 2:30pm, will be Baroque music, setting the stage for Musica Antiqua Koln, which will perform on Oct. 17. The second lecture, on Sept. 23, will cover Beethoven and Brahms, in anticipation of the return of the Dresden State Orchestra on Nov. 14 and Nov. 15.
The festival formally opens with the Bavarian State Ballet (Bayerischese Staatsballett) from Munich, which begins its five-night run on Oct. 19 with three performances of Limb's Theorem. Taipei audiences will not only have a chance to see one of the best dance troupes in Europe, but they will also get their first look at the work of American-born William Forsythe, who has been credited with revolutionizing the world of classical ballet in his two decades with the Frankfurt Ballet.
Limb's Theorem, created in 1991, is a full-length ballet/multimedia production that combines dance, sculpture and “organic” lighting. It has attained an almost cult-like status in Munich since Forsythe revived it for the company in December 2004.
The ballet troupe's final two performances will be a gala program of seven pieces by some of the great choreographers of the 20th century.
Musica Antiqua Koln, now in its 33rd year, will be making both its first and last appearance in Taipei on Oct. 17. Baroque music lovers will not want to miss this chance to see the five-man group, which is on a farewell tour. The group will stop performing at the end of his year because of the health problems of founder Reinhard Goebel.
For theater lovers, the work of one of Germany's most celebrated young directors and one of its award-winning actresses will be showcased in two very different productions. Thomas Ostermeier directed Anne Tismer in the one-woman show Wunschkonzert, which will be performed in the Experimental Theater on Oct. 21 and 22. Language will not be a problem in this examination of the last day of a woman's life — Tismer doesn't say a word.
She will have a lot more to say the following weekend when she stars in Ostermeier's radical restaging of the Henrik Ibsen classic, A Doll's House — Nora, on stage at the National Theater from Oct. 27 to the Oct. 29th.
In the Experimental Theater that same weekend will be a look a the relationship between men and women in Peter Kastenmuller's Abalon, One Nite in Taipei. The bilingual play, a joint production of the National Theater and the Frankfurter Positionen, premiered in Frankfurt this past January.