HENNING BROCKHAUS

While having to choose an image in order to describe the work of  Henning Brockhaus by using a synthetic and symbolic approach, my thoughts fly immediately to that huge expanse of mirrored panels that by degrees slope upwards from the stage to become the incredible backdrop of La Traviata, in one of the most important editions ever staged live, in a joint design project with Josef Svoboda, for the 1992 summer season at the Sferisterio di Macerata in Italy. Thereafter popularly known as the “La Traviata of the mirrors”, many theatres have added it to their season’s playbill. In that scenic action, for the first time, we were all summoned as extras in the public condemnation of Violetta, paid with contempt before the assembled guests in Flora’s salon by the young Alfredo who, not so long ago had joyfully sang of “bollenti spiriti”, assuaged by her amorous and sapient smile. Beyond the purely spectacular aspect, of perfect performance and scenic invention, encircled by the large terraces of the Sferisterio arena, the mirror served two purposes: one being social, the other cultural. And it is in these two terms, that is, theatre for society and theatre for culture, that the cornerstones of Brockhaus’ aesthetics are encapsulated. (Text by Carla Moreni)

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