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Via Intolleranza II

GER 2010, 323 min

Christoph Schlingensiefs last play, performed with artists from Burkina Faso, where his “Opera Village Africa” lives on as his legacy to this day.


Schlingensief’s figure praises himself on stage as the founder of the “Opera Village Africa” and defames himself as a colonialist and missionary out to teach the poor about culture. The rest is an African cultural program and Western navel-gazing on the level of a promotional tour aimed at opening the audience’s wallets. An excruciating balancing act between morality and reality.

Content / 2 DVDs:
- "Via Intolleranza II“ (German premiere at Kampnagel, Hamburg, 05/23/2010, 94 min)
- "Via Intolleranza II“ (Theatertreffen Berlin, 05/22/2011, 99 min)
- "Kandy Ethnologist” by Meika Dresenkamp (2010, 3 min)
- "Opernszene” by Meika Dresenkamp (2010, 4 min)
- "The African View” by Lionel Poutiaire Somé (2010, 42 min
- Introductions (Wien, 06/14/2010, 12 min)
- Casting in Burkina Faso, Christoph Schlingensiefs POV (2010, 11 min)
- Interviews with the Ensemble (footage by Sibylle Dahrendorf, Michael Bogár, 2010)
- Arno Waschk Portraits Christoph Schlingensief (2010, 4 min)
- The Opera Village in Burkina Faso (5 short films, 2010-2014, 43 min)
- 24-page booklet with texts and photos


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Language: German, French, English, Subtitles: German

Additional Texts

A project by Christoph Schlingensief
Text by Anna Heesen and Carl Hegemann (2010)

VIA INTOLLERANZA II is Christoph Schlingensief’s last work as a director and his first collaboration with artists from Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, where he has launched the project OPERNDORF AFRIKA. VIA INTOLLERANZA II is not a production of the opera village, but rather a research project in connection with that larger undertaking. In Ouagadougou, rehearsals started for this first piece of African opera village utopia. In March 2010, Christoph Schlingensief and his team travelled to Ouagadougou to meet artists there and work with them. Irène Tassembedo, who directs a dance school in Ouagadougou, helped him to assemble dancers, singers, comedians, and actors, and already start with preliminary rehearsals there. He and the entire ensemble travelled to the opera village area in Laongo, where the first foundations were already being built, in order to challenge with the local artists the idea of the opera village, and to give it a form. The first shots for the production were taken here.
Intolleranza 1960, which premiered at the 1961 Venice Biennale, is a key work of twentieth-century European opera. The work represents Luigi Nono’s political stand against racism, intolerance, and state-sponsored violence. Nono wanted to create a socially committed music that, instead of exhausting itself in aesthetic-artistic forms, has an immediate effect on the audience.
Nono’s system of “azione scenica” – bringing together and colliding musical, visual, and textual material –, his belief in the political efficacy of art, but above all his doubts around 1978, after his second “azione scenica”, Il gran sole, in how far culture can truly intervene in the political and social life and truly bring about change, were fundamental for Schlingensief’s thinking and interrogating his long-term project OPERNDORF AFRIKA, a project that was growing from its own autonomy. Schlingensief’s own very broad notion of opera, which informs the idea of OPERNDORF AFRIKA, assumes that opera needs to be integrated into a natural cycle in order to be socially and politically effective. Because only where opera is kept like a circulating container in a living organism can it develop its original power, that is, absorb directly from its environment and return something to it.
Based on his study of Intolleranza 1960, that piece of enlightened European cultural history, Christoph Schlingensief’s VIA INTOLLERANZA II raises the question of relevance: does the term “intolerance” even mean anything on the African continent? Or is addressing this issue in a German-African collaboration just another instance of riding our humanist hobbyhorse, hoping to distract from our own intolerance and lend legitimacy to our ethnocentric thinking? But even calling it our own intolerance toward others is probably too simple: the main problem might be our intolerance of ourselves, the fact that we are intolerant toward ourselves throughout our lives; that we have taken a leave of absence from our existence as singular beings in favour of conventions and clichés, and that this aspiration to singularity itself is just as profoundly questionable; that we exist in a hopeless entanglement of spectacle and rationalization; that our existence has lost all firm footing.
Why do we constantly wish to help the African continent when we cannot even help ourselves? What might be the aim of collaboration when it has to do entirely without the ideology and the sentimentality of helping? In the phase of his creative work he had reached just before his death, Schlingensief’s standpoint amounts to a free confession of failure: to the insight that our own interventions are superfluous – and the hope that this insight finally creates the chance of a realistic encounter. Christoph Schlingensief no longer tries to compensate for the ennui of our own way of life by projecting wishes on an idealized Africa. In VIA INTOLLERANZA II, he conceives a paradoxical musical scenario composed of tableaux and phases of darkness: a utopian union that passes through failure. Twelve actors, dancers, and musicians from Burkina Faso and Europe as well as the Fönix orchestra under the direction of Arno Waschk present the performance.


Concept and Direction
Christoph Schlingensief
Brigitte Cuvelier, Kerstin Grassmann, Mamounata „Kandy“ Guira, Friederike Harmsen, Claudia Sgarbi, Olivia Stahn, Isabelle Tassembedo, Jean Marie Gomzoudou, Boucougou Jean Chaize, Issoufou Kienou, Stefan Kolosko, Amado Komi, Johannes Lauer, Ahmed Soura, Nicolas Ulrich, Severin Tounga, Abdoul Kader Traoré, Arno Waschk, Wilfried Zoungrana
Set Design
Thekla von Mülheim, Christian Schlechter
Costume Design
Aino Laberenz
Lighting Design
Voxi Bärenklau, Michael Dietze
Meika Dresenkamp
Music and Musical Direction
Arno Waschk
Sound Design
David Gierth
Anna Heesen, Carl Hegemann
Assistant Director
Nicola Ahr, Agathe Chion, Sophia Simitzis
Assistant Christoph Schlingensief
Alex Jovanovic
Assistant Costume Design
Charlotte Pistorius, Michaela Muchina
Rupert Derschmidt
Technical Direction
Christian Schlechter
Collaboration Set Design
Susanne Fehenberger, Kerstin Junge, Nanna Neudeck, Julia Ries
Asstisted by students of HfbK Braunschweig
Armagan Aydin, Sina Dunker, Martina Gromadzki, Maria Manasterny, Imke Meyer, Nina Olczak, Christian Retschlag, Doreen Schwarz, Sabine Sellig, Deborah Uhde
Interpreter and Artist Relations
Wilfried Zoungrana
Coordination and Company Management
Lisa Herkenhöhner
Agathe Chion, Anne Hosemann
Natascha Gangl
Director's Trainee
Anne Hosemann, Marie Ohl
Aurore Jacquemot, Melanie Zimmermann, Franziska Schnoor, Valerie Voigt-Firon, Susanne Weber
Casting and Rehearsels in Ouagadougou
Sophia Simitzis
Répétiteur Ouagadougou
Roman Lemberg
Video documentation
Lionel Somé
Technical coordination Berlin
Ingo Keller, Bertfried Wetzel
Production Management
Alexa Gräfe, Johanna von Rigal, Katharina Benecke
Project Management
Claudia Kaloff, Celina Nicolay
Produced by
Festspielhaus Afrika gGmbH
Co-produced by
Kampnagel Hamburg, dem Kunsten Festival des Arts Brüssel und der Bayerischen Staatsoper München
In Cooperation with
dem Burgtheater Wien, Impulstanz und den Wiener Festwochen
Supported by
Goethe-Institut, Maxim Gorki Theater Berlin, Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz Berlin, ECC - European Creative Center, Uferstudios GmbH


Via Intolleranza II“ (German premiere at Kampnagel, Hamburg, 05/23/2010, 94 min – German, French, English subtitles), "Via Intolleranza II“ (Theatertreffen Berlin, 05/22/2011, 99 min), "Kandy Ethnologist” by Meika Dresenkamp (2010, 3 min – French with German subtitles), "Opernszene” by Meika Dresenkamp (2010, 4 min – no dialogue), "The African View” by Lionel Poutiaire Somé (2010, 42 min – English), Introductions (Wien, 06/14/2010, 12 min), Casting in Burkina Faso, Christoph Schlingensiefs POV (2010, 11 min), Interviews with the Ensemble (footage by Sibylle Dahrendorf, Michael Bogár, 2010, 11 min – French), Arno Waschk Portraits Christoph Schlingensief (2010, 4 min), The Opera Village in Burkina Faso (5 short films, 2010-2014, 43 min – English subtitles)
German, French, English
English, French, German
Country Code
PAL / Color
323 min
Aspect Ratio
Sound Format
DD 2.0
Digipack (Set Content: 2), 24-page booklet with texts and photos
Release date
Info-Programm gemäß §14 JuSchG