The NRW KULTURsekretariat’s “NOperas!” funding initiative is entering its sixth round. An expert jury has selected a concept by the collective “Dritte Degeneration Ost” from almost 40 applications. The members Mathias Baresel, Antonia Beeskow, Anne Inken Bickert, Romy Dins, Friederike Gawenda, Frithjof Gawenda, Richard Grimm and Laurenz Raschke belong to the post-reunification generation of the new federal states and collectively share artistic responsibility. Their project entitled “OPER OTZE AXT” is being funded by the Experimental Music Theatre Fund (feXm) with 150,000 euros and will be staged at several theatres in the 2024/25 season. The Staatstheater Darmstadt, as the first producing theatre, as well as the Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen and the Theater Bremen are involved. This production marks the end of the second three-year cycle.
The production is inspired by the life of Erfurt punk musician Dieter “Otze” Ehrlich and his band “Schleimkeim”, which was part of the GDR’s musical underground. The 1990s were a disaster for Otze Ehrlich: there was no longer an enemy from above, and his use of drugs led to his mental breakdown. Based on this biography, the project critically reflects on the German-German history of the reunification and post-reunification years, the conflict between anarchy and rules and the futile search for freedom.
The decision was made by a jury of experts and representatives of the participating theatres and the sponsor: Dr Christian Esch (NRW KULTURsekretariat, Chair), Brigitte Heusinger (Theater Bremen), Moritz Lobeck (Hellerau – European Centre for the Arts), Prof. Dr Rainer Nonnenmann (Hochschule für Musik und Tanz Köln), Prof. Michael Schulz (Musiktheater im Revier Gelsenkirchen) and Kirsten Uttendorf (Staatstheater Darmstadt).