The Odyssey of a Guest-Worker
A STORYTELLING-PERFORMANCE BY BABELFIS & VISUALS BY MERT AKBAL
Meryem's Ballad is a fresh interdisciplinary artistic creation, specifically designed for the Hinterhalt Commission, a unique partnership between Deutsche Oper and the Musicboard Berlin. As one of the two recipients in 2022, BABELFIS, in collaboration with visual artist Mert Akbal, has crafted an original performance offering commentary on Wagner's 'The Flying Dutchman,' a featured production on the main stage of Deutsche Oper Berlin for the 2023/2024 season.
Reclaiming the women’s friendship in R. Wagner’s “The Flying Dutchman”:
Not long ago, during the time when Senta and Meryem (Mary) toiled side by side
Meryem's Ballad reimagines Wagner's portrayal of Senta, a self-sacrificing female figure, and her friend Mary from the libretto. In the original story, Mary makes a final attempt to dissuade Senta and urges her to release her strong fixation on the doomed sailor's image. Meanwhile, the women continue their labor, spinning wheels while awaiting the return of the men.
In this performance, Senta and her friends take on the roles of factory workers in Pierburg, an auto-parts manufacturing plant in Neuss, on November 11, 1973. During a short break from their work, Meryem, a 'guest worker' hailing from Turkey, listens with unease as Senta sings about her upcoming marriage to a man who expects her to leave her job and become a housewife. After Senta's ballad, Meryem challenges this decision, making a persuasive case for her friend to reconsider. She narrates her own journey of emancipation, which began with leaving her homeland and continued through years of striving for equality. As Meryem recounts her past, present, and future experiences, she reflects on the recurring themes of being both an immigrant and a woman, weaving a cyclic history through the songs of BABELFIS and visuals by Mert Akbal.
DOMiD Dokumentationszentrum und Museum über die Migration in Deutschland e.V. Archive.
11 November 2023, 19:00
Deutsche Oper’s Tischlerei
The premiere, set for November 11, 2023, is a highlight of Deutsche Oper's extensive 10-hour production, 'extended version: The Flying Dutchman.' BABELFIS will enhance the evening with their rendition of Meryem's Ballad, joined by visual artist Mert Akbal. Together, they will bring a distinctive perspective to the event's artistic critique.
For more information about the event please visit: extended version: THE FLYING DUTCHMAN ︎︎︎
FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum Archive
I. YOLCULUK / Voyage / die Reise
II. FABRİKA / the Factory / die Fabrik
III. HAYAT / Life / das Leben
KARA BALIK / Black Fish / Schwarzer Fisch
KUYU / The Well / Der Brunnen
KOZA / Cocoon / Kokon
KEÇİ / The Goat / die Ziege
ALTI / Six / Sechs
Sevda Hamzaçebi (vocals)
Cem Dinler (keys, synths)
Serkan Emre Çiftçi (trumpet, synths)
Can Tüfekçioğlu (drums)
Ori Davidson (bass)
& Anna Schoeck (soprano)
Deutsche Oper Sextet
Suat Can Beldek
Deutsche Oper Berlin
Stiftung Menschenwürde und Arbeitswelt
Ali Kemal Gün, Andreas Stark, Beate Riple, Dicle Akar Bilgin, Dieter Braeg, Ezgi Akbaş, Ezgi Hamzaçebi, Edith Marcello, Gerhard Grosche, Görkem Akgöz, Gün Tank, Hıdır Çelik, Irma Wittenberg, Joachim Gester, Laura Bielau, Maureen Noe, Pieter Verstraete, Sebastian Hanusa, Thomas Weski
DOMiD Dokumentationszentrum und Museum über die Migration in Deutschland e.V.
FHXB Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg Museum
Michael Schmidt Archive