Zorka Wollny
Voicers—Oratorio for Five Speakers and a Listening Crowd

Performance / Commissioned work



Production specifics
Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’19

Zorka Wollny’s oratorio explores political speech—and particularly its sound—as a medium for collective experiences and affects. Sampling various modes of political address found in public life today, she turns their clichés into material for a nontraditional opera. Five politicians hold speeches typical for their respective positions. In recognizable fragments taken from the daily press, they cater to different target groups, projecting visions of the past and the future. Regardless of whether their outlook is conservative or radical, their political jargon soon falls apart and becomes music. Concrete references disappear behind rhythmic repetition and sound itself. What remains is the actual meaning of political speech as a form of address that always refers to a “we” or a “you,” constructing collective subjects that it then inspires with hope and fear. The sixth performer is the audience, as it listens and inevitably reacts to the ethical challenges posed by all these hypnotic political speeches.

Performers aka Speakers: Anna Clementi, Marek Kalbus, Ludwig Obst, Marc Weiser, and Angela Wingerath
Percussion: NU Unruh (Einstürzende Neubauten)
Choir: 20 malicious men
Studio and recording: Kalle Enkellman (Makawi Music)
Casting: Thomas Herbst (Karlrecords)
Film: Małgorzata Mazur
Research assistance: Martyna Hadyńska