Purcell piknolepszia -
(Written and directed by Ágens; Millenáris Teátrum, 19 February 2004)
2004. 02. 24.
The type of contemporary opera cultivated by Ágens - "Tenebrae" and the most recent production, "Purcell Picnolepsy", which are both signed by the artist together with dancer Krisztián Gergye - may rightly be called postmodern operas. Not only is opera's complex character maintained in these works, it is enhanced as a total work of art: dance and visual arts are included not only to illustrate the piece, but to give it greater emphasis in an autonomous way, while sounds are not present in order to turn music into words, but as the active element of the "dialogue" between human articulation and music.
While a previous piece of the Ágens-Gergye team, "Tenebrae" also carried - in the opinion of the author of these lines only as a seed - the possibility of a contemporary (postmodern) opera, Purcell Picnolepsy, presented at the Millenáris Teátrum in February 2004 is already an epochal work of art in the history of the genre in Hungary.
Transcendency arises not only as Ágens surmounts the barriers of language and sounds absolutely pure mental contents with elementary force, but also in the visual world created by József Tasnádi. The scenery consists of two giant step-ladders, "floating" in the air, which inevitably refer to Jacob's ladder for the spectator: one of the ladders has pillows underneath, the other one having small pieces of torn paper, referring to the power of dreams and - perhaps - that of experiences lived through but already transformed into scraps of memories. The repetitive animation projected in the background - with recurring motives like the sea, the wind, the circulation - is also an imperative to turn inwards, and experience the infinite and the mystical
The irrationality, mysticism, and the passionate character of the Baroque epoch are evoked by the hooded snow white costumes of the dancers (designed by Móni Béres), the design of which enables the dancers to make exaggerated movements, while not interfering with the effect of the protracted, infinitely slowed down set of movements taken from Javan dance by the choreographer Krisztián Gergye.
Thus, a classical musical composition is given, selected from Purcell's operas, and Ádám Jávorka and Xénia Stollár present these parts of music with extreme discipline and sensitivity, without any kind of modernist interpretation or unnecessary "virtuosity". It is with this music that the "Ágensist" art of voice mixes into a trans-lingual dialogue: a dominant, ecstatic female voice (that of Ágens), accompanied by a classical, more reserved voice (that of Viktória Kiss).
The visual presentation of the actual "plot" of the drama or of the musical dialogue, is brought about effortlessly by the four dancers - Rita Bata, Krisztián Gergye, Móni Négyesi, and Csongor Szabó - one has the sense of the dance almost flowing into the world of the images dreamed up by József Tasnádi.
Thanks to the productive dialogue between the Baroque and the postmodern, the spectator receives a chemically almost pure artistic experience: the experience of transcendency, the transitory loss of contact with the world. Picnolepsy inspired by Purcell.