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Credits: Saara Autere
Press release 16.11.2022

Finnish performance company OBLIVIA to guest at Wuppertal Opera with experimental music theatre production OBSESSIONS

“Obsessions” by the performance group Oblivia returns to Germany with a new version
Premiere at the Wuppertal Opera on 3 December 

A leading name in Finnish performance, Oblivia is on their way to the Wuppertal Opera to restage their work Obsessions. The new version of the work will premiere on Saturday, 3 December 2022. The experimental music theatre production is a collaboration with composer Yiran Zhao, singers from the Wuppertal Opera, and musicians from the Wuppertal Symphony Orchestra. Award-winning filmmaker Wiebke Pöpel will capture the unique collaboration in a documentary short film, to be released in February 2023.

Obsessions is part of the NOperas! initiative led by the German platform Fonds Experimentelles Musiktheater (feXm), which aims to support new forms of music theatre. The first version of the work was seen in February 2022 at Theater Bremen to great reviews. Ute Schalz-Laurenze, editor of the Neue Musikzeitung magazine, for example, had the following to say: “The Finnish artist group, Oblivia, conjured up an evening that succeeded both in questioning the reception of traditional opera and in reaching people who have trouble with contemporary aesthetics –– be it in terms of staging or composition.”

Founded in 2000, Oblivia is known for its minimalist approach to big questions. In Obsessions, the group harnesses their distinct and humorous style to explore obsessions and desires. The show playfully transports the viewer through various places and moments in time, ranging from the era of the construction of the pyramids to the present day, and sheds light on the ever-present obsessions of humankind; the driving forces of history.

Yiran Zhao (CN) is a young, multi-talented composer currently working in Europe. Zhao’s compositional work and Oblivia’s own approach to singing and sound form an unusual and catchy world of sound for the performance. The collision combines a cappella vocals and classic melodic structures with atonal elements. “It is impressive that everyone can shine as an individual in the group instead of disappearing behind their role. Equally impressive is the nuance with which Zhao’s acoustic fine motor skills and miniatures set the pace for the scenes on stage —,” writes Jens Fischer, editor of Die Deutsche Bühne magazine.

Obsessions is the second part of Oblivia’s Politics and Emotions trilogy. The first part of the series, Verdrängen Verdrängen Verdrängen, premiered at the ECLAT festival of new music in Stuttgart in 2020. The third part, Pleasure, will premiere at Stuttgart’s Theater Rampe already on 28 January 2023.

Oblivia: Obsessions

Oper Wuppertal

3 December 2022 and 14 January 2023

Music director: Tobias Deutschmann

Artistic director: Annika Tudeer

Composition and Sound Design: Yiran Zhao

Concept: Oblivia

Costumes: Tua Helve

Lights: Meri Ekola

Performance dramaturgy: Alice Ferl, Anna-Maija Terävä

Dramaturgy feXm: Roland Quitt

Performers: Alice Ferl, Timo Fredriksson, and Annika Tudeer (Oblivia), Matthieu Svetchine (Theater Bremen) 

Singers (Wuppertal Opera): Rebecca Murphy – soprano, Julia Reznik – mezzo-soprano, Yisae Choi – bass-baritone

Musicians (Wuppertal Symphonic Orchestra): Michael Gehlmann – viola, Hyeonwoo Park – violoncello, Yulia Mun / Udo Mertens – flute, Susanne von Foerster – oboe, Melanie Werner – clarinet (guest), Oliver Nicolai – French horn, Roberto de la Guía Martínez / Csaba Rabi – trombone, Benedikt Clemens – percussion

Production: Oblivia in collaboration with Theater Bremen, Oper Wuppertal, and feXm’s (Fonds Experimentelles Musiktheater) NOperas! initiative made possible by the NRW KULTURsekretariat and the Kunststiftung NRW.

Supported by: Arts Promotion Centre Finland, City of Helsinki, The Swedish Cultural Foundation in Finland, TINFO – Theatre Info Finland / MOTI internationalisation programme (supported by the Finnish Cultural Foundation)


An experimental music theatre performance

By OBLIVIA and Yiran Zhao, in cooperation with Wuppertal Opera

(Duration 1,5 hours)

28€, reduced tickets 14€ and students 6€


Inquiries, press reservations and interview requests

in Germany:
Nassrah-Alexia Denif

in Finland
Communications Agency Röd
Katja Tolonen
+358 50 492 2017

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Other links

Wuppertal Opera