Roma Operas

Bruno Berger-Gorski has in the past worked with several contemporary composers to develop libretti and dramaturgy for music theatre pieces. In Luxembourg he staged together chamber operas by Camillle Kerger and Knut Vaage, and in Bonn and Luxembourg works by Josef Tal and Ella Milch-Sheriff.  In 2019 he created a dramaturgical interconnection between two independent musical works by Peter Eötvös and Salvatore Sciarrino in his production for the Theater Biel-Solothurn.

For many years Berger-Gorski has been working with the Rom composers Koloman Polak and Adrian Gaspár on a possible production of their first chamber operas.  Both composers are internationally established in the area of concert music.  Koloman Polak has composed the scores for several Schauspiele, while Adrian Gaspár is so far best known for his jazz and world music compositions.  Independently of each other, these composers set to music material on the fates of two Rom survivors of Nazi period concentration camps – and the common theme is the point of departure for Bruno Berger-Gorski to bind the works together in his staging.

Unlike the Holocaust, the Porajmos – the genocide of Rom and Sinti people on racial grounds – took a long time to be fully acknowledged.  Many have never received any compensation for their suffering.  Roma and Sinti are still the object of social discrimination.  For Adrian Gaspár it was a personal meeting with the Auschwitz survivor Hugo Höllenreiner which spurred him on to compose his chamber opera Rromano kidipe.  Koloman Polack’s piece is devoted to the life story of Ceija Stojka, a well-known Austrian Rom artist and Auschwitz survivor, who in the 1980s was the first in Austria to draw public attention to the systematic extermination of the Roma under the Third Reich.  Both Stojka and Höllenreiner have been engaged actively as eyewitnesses in the promotion of a culture of memory, and have talked publicly about their experiences, above all in schools.

This project was originally planned to be a theatrical performance in Berlin in front of invited guests on 29th June 2020 in the course of the German presidency of the IHRA.  Now, because of the coronavirus crisis, only certain scenes are being staged and in a digital performance. The composers have prepared the following scenes as a ‘work in progress’ for Stringquintett and 4 soloists (“Rromano Kidipe” from Adrian Gaspar) and 4 musicians/4 soloists (“Wier schemed unz” from Koloman Polak ):

Wier schemen unz


Rromano Kidipe

With the kind support of: