On the occasion of the 200 year anniversary of the choir of Staatsoper Berlin, we from iHeartBerlin got a really special assignment. We asked five Berliners if they would come to the big stage of the Opera for a musical experiment. We didn’t tell them what would happen…
Can you remember the last time somebody sang for you like maybe your parents did when you were little? I don’t mean a big concert where Beyoncé or Lady Gaga performs, even though after two years of a pandemic, this would be fun. I mean the personal experience of having somebody stand close to you and sing a song – a song that enters your body and mind through your ears, your skin. Something you can’t see, but only feel with every ounce of your body?
After another winter and spring where most cultural activities were closed to the public, together with Staatsoper Berlin we thought about how we could celebrate the art of singing in a choir and the power of the human voice in one unique film.
For doing so, we created a unique musical experiment. Five strangers from Berlin who have never met before and who have a special relationship with music were invited to step on the big stage of the Staatsoper. What they didn’t know was that the choir was waiting for them backstage.
After they stepped on the stage, we asked them to close their eyes until they heard music. We told them that they would be free to move around and experience the surprise concert from all possible angles. When they opened their eyes, they found themselves in the circle of 32 members of the choir that sang for them up close excerpts of the beautiful Opera Turandot by Puccini. It was an immersive experience that has never been done before and touched the five members of the audience deep in their hearts. To hear all the different tonalities and voices all around them and sink deep into the music was a special experience that especially after such a long time without live music was a gift for all of them.
One of our participants in our experiment had a really special story that he shared with us. Since he has been deaf since his birth, he never had the possibility to feel and experience music and even hated music when he was small. Without knowing if it would work somehow he decided to come and with the help of a balloon to try to feel something. At the end of the experiment, he then told us that it was the first time that he felt a melody through his body and that he wished he could experience music this way on a regular basis.
Choirs are a really important part of every opera production, despite them being sometimes overlooked. They are a representation of humanity and usually take part in the big group scenes. Often they even have to play different roles just in one opera and can have several costume changes per evening. They act, they move, they transform and they sing – sometimes even for hours. And most importantly – they sing for us!
Big thank you to all the people collaborating with us on this project:
Creative Producer: Annika Ahrens
DoP: Marcus Lauterbach
Photography: Frank Schröder
B-Cam: Vincent Engel
Editor: Marielle Pohlmann
Hair & Makeup & Styling: Ambra Fiorenza
Sound-Recording: Jens Müller
Sounddesign & Music: Jens Müller
Sign Language Translator: Gal Naor
Drone Operator: Up Up Berlin
Last but not least, we thank all the participants in this experiment. We are honored to have you with us on our journey.