Nuremberg (dpa) - Actually, the schedule of Nuremberg's general music director Joana Mallwitz would have been full. The 33-year-old is a sought-after conductor.
In August she was due to make her debut at the Salzburg Festival with Mozart's “Magic Flute”. But the Corona crisis is slowing down their plans. "You have to think from scratch - in every way," she said in an interview with the German Press Agency. Playing great operas and symphonies will not be possible for the foreseeable future. Mallwitz also sees this as an opportunity.
Question: What is your work like at the moment?
Answer: «Conducting itself is not possible. Playing music as an orchestra is not possible because an orchestra is simply not allowed to gather at the moment. For me, all artistic things, including guest engagements, are canceled. At the moment I am more a manager than an artist. »
Question: What is your main concern?
Answer: «We cultural workers now have the great task of finding alternatives. The alternative shouldn't be just to offer what we normally do now in a reduced, smaller version. We should take the chance to leave our normal thinking structures and to create new formats and a different theater experience from this situation. At the moment we are working at full speed from early to late to set up an alternative schedule for the next weeks and months. One is mainly engaged in conversations, in video conferences, with emails. The requirements of the ministries and health authorities change daily, sometimes every hour. As a result, many ideas have to be quickly rejected. »
Question: How can things go for large orchestras like the Nuremberg State Philharmonic?
Answer: «At the moment there is an explosion of creativity in order to do justice to music and culture with small formats. We also have to research the repertoire in areas where we don't usually travel that much. That is and will certainly continue to be exciting, and maybe one or two of them can be taken over into normality later. But the big wish and the goal remains to be able to plan and play again with full strength and cast. »
Question: How can an alternative game plan look like?
Answer: «The repertoire that is otherwise performed at the State Theater - the great Mahler symphonies and the great operas by Puccini, Wagner or Strauss - will not be possible. Of course, you can go in the direction of older music because there is a lot to be found in the Baroque and very early areas, which can also be done with fewer musicians. But there are also modern and unusual pieces or works that even live from a spatial distribution and the spatial sound. We don't want to find an emergency answer, but an artistic answer to the situation at the moment. »
Question: Like many other theaters, you also experiment with digital formats. A video tour takes you through Beethoven's 7th Symphony. Do you see this as an opportunity?
Answer: «The digital formats are certainly an opportunity since they can theoretically reach a large audience. However, our primary goal was to offer something to our audience in Nuremberg, for whom we are currently unable to play live. We made a conscious decision to create a format that fueled the longing for real concerts, which can be experienced with all senses, and made people curious to hear the seventh as soon as possible again in a concert. Because a recording can never be a substitute for the live experience. »
Answer: «What constitutes a concert, theater and opera is exactly what is currently not possible. It is a place of concentration. When you sit in concert, play the double bass and the ground shakes, when the vibration of an entire orchestra carries the sound of a singer to you in the auditorium, live, without amplification: It is a physical and mental experience. These are the moments when a live concert becomes irreplaceable through any recording, through any video. And anyone who has experienced this will go to the concert and the opera again and again to find these moments. »
Question: You can still watch entire operas on TV or in the cinema.
Answer: «I think that's a difficult topic. Because even the most beautiful recordings can never replace the creative process of a lively theater and concert business. I also doubt that it will really reach a new audience that has not yet had any contact with the opera. »
Question: What are your plans for the future?
Answer: «My contract in Nuremberg is currently in its second year and runs for five years. And that means that for me my center, my main responsibility and my main focus are currently in Nuremberg. I don't want to think any further than that. I'm here right now and that's a good thing. »
PERSONAL: Joana Mallwitz is considered an exceptional talent. She was born in Hildesheim in 1986. As a 13-year-old, she began her musical education, studying conducting and piano in Hanover. At the age of 19 she began her career as a solo repetitor at the Heidelberg Theater, where after her first season she was promoted to conductor. In the 2014/2015 season she moved to the Erfurt Theater - as the youngest general music director in Europe at the time. Mallwitz has been General Music Director at the Nuremberg State Theater for two years. Last year, critics of the «Opernwelt» magazine voted her the conductor of the year.
State Theater Nuremberg to Joana Mallwitz
Online expedition concert to Beethoven's 7th Symphony