Composition in three parts and an overture for solo voices, choir and orchestra
Text from Johann Wolfgang von Goethes Faust I and II
sung in German
"I am neither a lady nor beautiful, I can go home unaccompanied" - with this masterful punchline of female empowerment, Gretchen would actually have had what it takes to escape Faust's advances once and for all. And had it not been for the devil, the story of the two would probably have come to an end soon after their first meeting. In his Scenes from Goethe's "Faust", Robert Schumann - unfortunately - did not set this movement to music. In his work, Gretchen is above all the cue for Faust's transfiguration, in which, after transforming herself into a nameless penitent - "Una poenitentium (otherwise called Gretchen)" - she delivers Faust's "immortal" to the eternal feminine. In addition to this certainty of redemption, it was mostly the "2 souls, 1 breast" rupture of Goethe's Faust character that interested Robert Schumann. His Faust scenes are neither opera nor oratorio, but rather "scenes" from Goethe's Faust, which stand quite unconnected to each other. This open form directs the view to the in-between, to the things that are neither said nor shown, and it therefore allows new constellations and perspectives. It also makes it possible to counter the double-framed view - Goethe and Schumann - of the transfiguration of the one who is "always striving" with other positions. "Open" is also the formal approach with which Marco Štorman's and André de Ridder's team deal with Schumann's composition. Outside the Opera house, they will transform this boundary-breaking material into a "Faust, Gretchen or perhaps Mephisto space of possibilities".