Orlando. A Biography.


After „Orlando“ by Virginia Woolf.

“I want to kick up my heels and be off” (diary entry Virginia Woolf of 14 March 1927)

Published in 1928, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando is arguably her most personal work, a covert declaration of her love for her friend Vita Sackville-West. Above all, however, it reveals its great English writer from an experimental and playful angle. She wrote this fictional biography of a young aristocrat in a frenzy of creativity in only six months.

The main figure travels from the sixteenth to the twentieth century without aging. Throughout this time he remains imperishably handsome, changing only his lifestyle and sexual identity. With a light touch but with virtuosic linguistic power Virginia Woolf creates images of unprecedented vividness and memorability. English Renaissance portraits, winter landscapes by seventeenth-century Dutch genre painters, the London of Hogarth, Rowlandson and Cruikshank in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and the futurist paintings by the Vorticist movement of the early twentieth century appear as if conjured out of thin air.

In cooperation with violinist Daniel Hope and pianist Jacques Ammon, Johanna Wokalek brings different times and worlds to life in a way that is as touching as it is entertaining. Compositions by Dowland, Händel, Mendelssohn, Elgar and others turn the literary time travel into a sonic experience, and invite the audience to participate in Orlando’s eventful story with all their senses.

First performed at Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival in July 2018.