The elections are upon us and societal divisions have grown increasingly fraught. There is no shortage of people laying claim to ‘our country’ from all across the broad political spectrum.
Schorsch Kamerun, the singer and theatre maker from Hamburg, is attempting to use music and the stage to shine a light on this. As a jumping-off point for his ruminations, he is using Richard Wagner’s Mastersingers of Nuremberg, in which the composer provides an exemplary narrative of the balance and conflict between exclusionaries and progressives. According to Kamerun, Wagner has a hybrid perspective on this: backward-looking on the one hand, while on the other hand, centred within a modernity in which civic participation should be taken as a given.
Prior to his evening’s event, Schorsch Kamerun conducted research and collected the voices of people eligible to vote in the election on 26 September. He and his fellow campaigners want to find out what a difference of opinion being fought on the fairgrounds in Wagner’s time has to do with the increasing polarisation — in digital spaces and elsewhere — that we are seeing today, and which new camps are being formed in politics and society as a result.
The concert Wem gehört welch’ Land? (Which country belongs to whom?) aims to interrogate, through word and music, the rise of populism, false versus meaningful affiliations, and a utopian perspective on our shared society. Kamerun invites us to examine this situation through the lens of pop culture and classical music, using text and sound in collaboration with performers, singers and sound professionals to reflect what the elections in Thuringia and the German federal parliament have to say. The performance will include free speech and unprecedented sound. While that is still possible.