The Slovenia Times

Carmina Slovenica Bringing Toxic Psalms to New York


The ensemble renowned for their unconventional choral storytelling that combines opera, drama and movement will stage a total of five 90-minute performances at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.

The Slovenian ensemble is performing in New York as part of "PROTOTYPE: Opera/Theatre/Now" festival, a global festival of opera-theatre and music-theatre co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects and HERE.

Beth Morrison Projects and HERE are leading names in contemporary, post-classical, multidisciplinary opera-theatre and music-theatre production, according to the Maribor-based Carmina Slovenica.

The conductor Karmina Šilec describes Toxic Psalms as a work of an open form, a collection of scenes that pass through spiritual worlds of the past and present.

"The title is Toxic Psalms, with the subtitle Ultimate Collective Experience, because we are dealing with the phenomenon of response of an individual and a collective to authority," Šilec has told the STA.

Channelling ancient and modern humanities, the ensemble of 31 young women invokes Africa, the Middle East, Pussy Riot, weapons, extinctions, contaminations and abuses of religions, according to Carmina Slovenica's.

Šilec added that Toxic Psalms are not a show that follows a story, but rather "a kind of an internal experiment within the ensemble itself with the relationships among its members and in relation to external authorities".

The idea is loosely based on the writings of German political theorist Hannah Arendt, who followed the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the major organisers of the Holocaust. Eichmann defended himself by saying that he was following orders from the superiors.

"I'm interested in what happens when authority is ideologically coloured, either politically or religiously, and why is responsibility always transferred to someone else," Šilec said.


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