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Ágens's Ladder

Zoltán Végső / Élet és Irodalom 27 February 2004.

Ágens's art gives a feeling of completeness, her present period of creation seems to break with the primadonna roles of before, she is now embedding her musical ideas in an environment, and presents them in complex performances. It seems that the theme of heavenly and earthly relations accompanies her entire career. The two open step-ladders hung above the stage as elements of scenery are obviously supposed to represent Jacob's ladder; the animated windmill propellers, returning time and again, starting and stopping to move at the sound of the singers, are also parts of the intensive symbolism. No specific statement is actually made in the piece, therefore it has the most enigmatic form of communication - music - to serve as an adequate medium for a comprehensible form of expression. It is clear that the choice of Purcell's music is justified only by its suitability to the author's concept, however it is astonishing how precisely Ágens hits on this music, created more than three hundred years ago, similarly daring in relation to canonical music in its own age. For Ágens works instinctively, sings from her guts, and I believe that it would not be right to change this in the direction of a more deliberate, planned way of creating: the audience may have a better connection to the piece this way.
Viktória Kiss's classically formed, wonderful soprano is a welcome contrast to Ágens's throaty voice, coming from deep inside, touching on practically all the vocal registers available to women, with tones changing diabolically; just as the world of movement of the four members of the dance group led by Krisztián Gergye reflected on the dynamics of the asymmetrically projected animated pictures. The most beautiful manifestation of the pairs contrasting, complementing each other, paradoxically, was the duo of Xénia Stollár on the viola da gamba and Ádám Jávorka on the viola, who at times revived together Purcell's well chosen, altering melodies, sometimes coming across as almost modern, while at other times colored the sounds from the playback with an effects-centered interpretation with no concrete pitch or tone.