Márta Nagy / "Balkon" Journal of Contemporary Art, 1996. 10-11.
The operatic voice of "Ágens" as well as her gutturals and falsettos are extreme manifestations of a search for the ultimate limits of the female voice, aiming at the most perfect and complete discovery of the realm of the natural tones. In the same time they also are attempts to widen this region and settling down in its most remote, recently disclosed nooks .
While being an instrument explored and utilized according to her special abilities, skills, and needs, for Ágens her voice also is a determinative, elementary part of the body. Similar musical phenomena, strange ladies excelling the conventional "cultural assortment" also are known. Diamande Galás of New York can howl, bellow, roar, and scream in a more or less resembling way. Meredith Monk also applies unusual voices as raw materials for constructing her surprising creatures. Ágens also creates a particular, always changing and developing space for herself in the dependence of which she whimpers, curses, begs, and prays in her rare concerts in Budapest. The "space" is no less important part of her appearances as the costumes, and the scenery so characteristic only to her.
Diamanda Galás, and Ágens: both of them are totally defenceless beings depending on their voices. Their performances are dominated by their voices, their "singing" normally lacks any instrumental accompaniment. However, they are of quite different character: Diamanda is a "socially committed" being. Her deadly screams, "vocal operations" assume fellowship and compassion with people suffering from AIDS. In the sense of a "mission" she makes common cause with them (e.g. in her CD entitled "The Mask of the Red Death".) Ágnes's messages are free from any social context. Her howls, operatic regions, "helping songs", gutturals, and falsettos are addressed to individuals who are ready to listen to them, who let themselves to be enchanted by this strange tide of sounds creating unfamiliar associations.
According to Ágens's creed, she is inspired by the possibilities of communication spreading beyond the Hell. Her Art confronts with the Life, it even "turns against" the Life. This state is not a "natural" one.
Neither her voice, her costumes, nor her behavior on the stage are "natural". Due to her striking scenery, unusual costumes individually designed for each performance, strange, rhythmic, jerky movement up and down reduced to the minimum, she creates a "one-man" theatre in which she step by step becomes defenselessly dependent of the artistic situation created by herself. She becomes "imprisoned" in the space intentionally created for, and existing only in the given moment. During her appearances her voice, the surroundings, the audience, and she herself, turns into an inseparable unity. As a strange rite or magic it annihilates any distinction and difference, leaving nothing more "alive" than the depths common in, and well known by each of us, the music existing only for itself: the most ancient, and most natural element of the World.
The "Human Being" is a complex subject of Ágens' interest, also including his far-branching relations: as an illusionist bringing about a kind of equilibrium in the daily life, as well as the "youngest boy", that is the hero of the folk-tales. This wide-spread interest makes it possible for the Galásian voice and self-discipline to exceed themselves and to find the way to the improvisation. This enchanting space and moment bear the improvisation, that is the most complete possible reaction to this exceptionally rare situation of unity. The periods of Ágens's temporal inability to sing indicate that such an extremely intensive and sensitive relation wit the World, this pure and naked manifestation, cannot be kept alive in a continuous way.
In the "PHONI-Calendarium Festival", organized within the frames of the "Budapest Autumn Festival ", the "voice-arias" of the body wedged/built in the scenery seemed to be the organic part of the stage. The prayer, the curse, the begging, the search, and the manifestations resembling only to the voice of predatory birds, exerted elementary force on the audience. The temporarily appearing music (composed by Boudny) always accompanied the pure resounds of the songs, as effects suggesting the dance and the movements.
Translated: dr. József Tar