Miroslav Srnka's "My life without me": premiere in Prague
The Prague Spring Festival in May sees the premiere of My life without me, the monodrama of a woman whose world has turned upside down.
A powerful plot, dramatic and without sentimentality: in My life without me, Ann, a young woman, arranges the time up to her death and afterwards. She uses her short time remaining to find a new wife and mother for her husband and her two daughters, to have an affair, and in every respect to love and to live. The subject, drawn from Isabel Coixet’s film of the same name, allows audiences of Miroslav Srnka’s My life without me to experience the gripping monodrama of a woman in dialogue with her world, which has turned upside down. We hear her conversations, her thoughts, her actions, as a virtuoso singing in extreme registers of pitch, from everyday chit-chat to highly-emotional espressivo. What is fascinating about the imaginary dialogue with the world are the various voices of this woman, which place the instrumental parts in various tonal spaces, forming an imaginary partner in conversation with her.
In his composition, Srnka interweaves three levels of text: “Dialogues”, “Monologues” and “Recordings”. The first depicts, almost in real time, the woman’s conversations – with her surroundings, the doctor, her daughters, her husband, her lover, her mother. In between, inner monologues are introduced into the work, sung by the singer, unaccompanied. Then, at the conclusion, there are the “Recordings”, recordings which Ann has prepared for her daughters for their birthdays, for her husband and her lover. Through this device, the plot is overlaid with other periods of time – in the two “Monologues”, with timeless commentaries on events, and in the concluding “Recordings” looking forward to the future, which, for Ann, can only remain an unknown. Miroslav Srnka summarizes: “The singer moves between these three text levels, which are also shaped tonally very differently. What interests me here is the examination of differing time structures which actually separate the self-reflective of the monologues, the unconscious narrative of the dialogues and what is said now and the wishes which will be heard in the future, from each other. Compositionally, it is a musical shaping of time which doesn’t refer to anything happening in the drama. Time is both experienced in real terms by the main figure as well as captured intellectually, and consciously conserved for the future.” Following the Ensemble Intercontemporain’s premiere of the “Dialogues” from My life without me in 2008 in Paris, they now present the first performance of the work at the Festival Prague Spring in the composer’s native city.
Marie Luise Maintz
(from [t]akte 1/2013)