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Peter Ablinger:
Landscape Opera Ulrichsberg
in 7 Acts

the german description of the landscape opera
including photographs, drawings, press review, videos, sound examples and the full 3rd Act: the Sound Archive, with about 24 hours of field recordings from Ulrichsberg and its vicinity

(the english text below is unedited and still in construction)

1st Act: BACK-STORY, the Seitelschlag Arboretum
2nd Act: SCENERY, Walking Map
3rd Act: THE MELODY, Sound Archive
4th Act: THE TEXT, Video Chapel
5th Act: THE ACCOMPANIMENT, Display-Window Piece
6th Act: DRESS REHEARSAL, School Project
7th Act: DRAMATIS PERSONAE (PERSONEN DER HANDLUNG), a Festive Concert for Chamber Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Local Groups

Alois Fischer, director of the Jazzatelier Ulrichsberg, explaining the social dynamic of the Landscape Opera
(Study for: "18 Ulrichsbergers / Dances", from the 7th Act of the Landscape Opera)

Just under an hour north of Passau in the triangle between Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, in the state of Upper Austria, the small hamlet of roughly 3000 inhabitants lies at the height of 626 m. In 2009 Ulrichsberg and its surroundings was the venue of the "landscape opera" by Peter Ablinger, a work of seven parts the subject matter of which is precisely the place of Ulrichsberg and the landscape surrounding it. The seven parts are also the acts of the opera. Each act represents a completely different and independent event; basically each act is its own art form (planting trees, walking, concert, exhibition etc.).

more introductive thoughts about the structure of OPERA/WORKS can be found togehter with the CITY OPERA

1st Act: BACK-STORY, the Seitelschlag Arboretum

Tree plantations according to acoustic criterias as, e.g., colour and intensity of noise, version Seitelschlag, Ulrichsberg, Austria, Date Planted: April 8th, 2008

listen to the birch

detailed documentation about the Seitelschlag Arboretum and links to other trees projects

2nd Act: SCENERY, Walking Map

A Walking Map, and a listening path, in 14 stations. The listening path consists of a large landscape round (about 4 hours) and a smaller city round (about 2 1/2 hours). Along the path the map indicates 14 stations to be examined as listening proposals.

pdf-download of the map

3rd Act: THE MELODY, Sound Archive

The 3rd Act, "The Melody", is a sound archive containing about 24 hours of field recordings of Ulrichsberg and its vicinity. Collected by recordists of the region during the years of 2007 to 2009, the sound archive has finally been presented from April 30 to June 14 in the gallery of the Jazzatelier Ulrichsberg. Independent from that, the entire archive of more than 300 single recordings and situations is now presented online. (Recordists: Tanja Feichtmair, Fredi Pröll, Sebastian Holnsteiner, Alois Fischer)

full tracklist of all 309 pieces of field recordings (about 24 hours), with (german) description for each track, for listening and for free download

documentation of "The Book of Songs", an earlier sound-archive piece by Peter Ablinger

see also: "The Singing", 1. Act of the City Opera

4th Act: THE TEXT, Video Chapel

A three-wall video-projection space with portraits of 18 different people from Ulrichsberg telling their own "text" in their own typical idiom. All persons are screened as standing full figures at real size in front of the same dark blue background. Each person has its own place within the 2,20m high and 18m long screening frieze. The final cut (film director: Judith Hasleder) setting the 18 persons into a virtual conference and into fictional and often comical interaction. The visitor completes the 4th -open- side of the "chapel".

photographs of the making-of and views of the video-frieze

video-stills of all 18 portrayed persons

5th Act: THE ACCOMPANIMENT, Display-Window Piece

An interactive computer-controlled piano is connected with a microphone that tranfers the everyday sounds of Ulrichsberg's main street in real-time to a piano. Constructor of the automatic piano-player: Winfried Ritsch. Software development: Thomas Musil, IEM Graz.

view of the Display-Window Piece in Ulrichsberg

the Display-Window Piece, general documentation

6th Act: DRESS REHEARSAL, School Project

Scholars of the Ulrichsberg's primary school are using recorded audio material from the 3rd Act as a base for short performances.


7th Act: DRAMATIS PERSONAE, a Festive Concert for Chamber Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Local Groups

The central performance act of the opera took place at Ulrichsberg's ice stock-(Bavarian curling)-hall, a wooden construction for sports and village feasts. Long tables and benches running in a right angle towards the stage, acknowledging the appearance of a village party instead of a concert hall with chairs in rows. Beer was served also.

But actually the evening (June 13, 2009) was beginning (and ending) in front of the hall with an installation piece: a walk through labyrinth of white laundry was the initiation ceremony leading the listener into and out of the hall.

“White laundry”, the piece

klick here, and see a video showing the piece “White laundry” in its version for the Haus am Waldsee, Berlin 2008

The first part of the concert was the chamber orchestra piece: 18 Ulrichsberger / Tänze (18 Ulrichsbergers / Dances), for 13 instruments and recorded voices- a succession of 18 short acoustic portraits of the same 18 people we have encountered already in the 4th Act, the video chapel. (Ensemble Linz 09, Conductor: Edo Micic, Duration: 43 Minutes)

Listen to a selection of the 18 pieces:
List Marianne: Heidelbeeren (1:24)
Bindl Rudolf: Die Feuerwehrfrau (1:54)
Dr. Wlasaty: Golfspielen (1:43)
Urmann Wolfgang: Das Fleisch (1:48)
Berger Angela: Das Handy (0:51)
Thaller Josef: Die schöne Landschaft, die tschechische Grenze, Ausländerfeindlichkeit (3:52)
Pröll Paul: Sechser und Spiesser (3:48)
Puch Barbara: Die Pizza (3:05)
Feichtmair Tanja: Das Türl (1:22)
Leitner Anita: Putzen (2:29)
Gruber Florian: Dahoam (0:58)

After the intermission the concert's second part was the 1-hour-piece "Das Fest" (The Feast) for field recordings, symphony orchestra and local groups. As the later having appeared: the local brass band (in a selection of 36 members), a folk-septet, a free-jazz trio, an electronic (laptop)-duo, a saxophone solo-improvisor, and 4 young music scholars. (Orchester aus Mitgliedern des Brucknerorchesters, Marktmusikkapelle Ulrichsberg, Stubenmusik Peilstein, Trio Broccoli, atelier_abstrait and Tanja Feichtmair. Conductor: Isabel Pérez-Requeijo. Duration: 61 Minutes.

In "Das Fest" the orchestra and the brass band were joined with field recordings from the 3rd Act, the sound archive. The orchestra, or brass band, often merging into dense and noisy recordings by interpreting the spectral analysis of the actual soundscape. The other local groups played basically their own music framed only by a few descending scale tones from the orchestra.

Listen to a selection of acoustic scenes from "Das Fest" (The Feast):

„An X“ for 2 music scholars (0:10), „Amen“, a recording from the religion class with orchestra (0:06), „Noise“ the noise of trees in the colors A, E, I, O, U (german or spanish spelling) and a recording from the supermarket, orchestra (10:55)

„Michlpolka“, lokal folk music group and a glissando with the orchestra strings (2:00)

„Tractor“, actually several tractors from Ulrichsberg, marching band (detail 1:45)

„Churchyard“, the church bells of Ulrichsberg, orchestra (detail 3:11)

„Compressor“, the typical static sound of a compressor/supercharger, set for brassband (2:00)

three connected scenes for orchestra: „Airplane“, the slow downwards glissando of an airplane, with the counterpoint of slowly descending tones from cellos and doublebasses (1:36), „Pendlerbus“, the morningly waiting for the workers bus to the nearby industrial city, the arrival and depart of the bus, orchestra (4:54), „English Lesson“, pupils learning the colours, orchestra (1:20)

three connected scenes for orchestra, brass band and again orchestra: „Circular Saw“, the typical sound of a singel circular saw, orchestra (0:40), „Chainsaw“, no less typical, put togehter from different recordings of chainsaws, marching band (3:20), „Circular Saw, Refrain“, orchestra again (0:30)

„Rain“, rain falls in heavy drops on the metal roof of the Jazzatelier, thunder, increasing rain, another thunder, change of scenery: at the end the rain passes on to applaus, orchestra (4:16)

„Scale“, music scholar solo (0:10), „Cow Fence“, the reggular electronic impulses of an electrical cow fence as an Epilogue, in the intrumentation for the 30 orchestra strings (1:02)

(english translation edited by Austin Buckett)

full german description here:
Landschaftsoper / Landscape Opera 2009

An introduction to Peter Ablinger's "Landschaftsoper Ulrichsberg" (english/中文) by Andreas Karl and Ma Yangzhi (youtube link)


see also:

Fotographs: Alois Fischer

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impressum \ this page was created by Aljoscha Hofmann \  last edited 03.09.2009 CET