Tag Archives: Arts

An Ampel Mann: Alexander Scheer Profile

S Magazine, Issue 13

In the grand tradition of German metamorphosis, actor Alexander Scheer changes constantly, just as his beloved Berlin does. From playing a classical villain to being a rock god, from experimental theatre to international film festivals, from iron curtains to nonstop curtain calls.

The past is a foreign country, so the saying goes, and the past for German actor Alexander Scheer is hardly metaphorical terrain. “I was born in the East and when I was 14 there was a revolution and then suddenly I was in the West.”

The result, he says, was that “everything I had thought, everything I was used to, was suddenly turned upside down. It was wonderful.” Scheer’s story as an actor is thus the story also of his birthplace, Berlin. As a teenager growing up, he relished in the sudden anarchy and chaos that came with the fall of the Wall. Today, as one of the most successful stage actors of his generation, and with a burgeoning international film career, Scheer still lives in a state of perpetual flux, switching between genres and even art forms with a feverishness that masks the ease with which he does it. “Berlin is still constantly changing. You can’t ever say it’s a certain way. It’s just like me.”

Having started out doing underground theatre and modelling in the newly reunified city, Scheer, 35, had his breakout film role in the 1999 comedy Sonnenallee, before he embarked on a ten-year odyssey through Germany’s theatrical landscape, even as he returned repeatedly to his first love, cinema. His first big English-speaking televised role came in 2010, depicting the dangerous right-hand man to the international terrorist Carlos, in the eponymous five-hour thriller. He’s now to star in an experimental theatre production of Dostoyevsky’s The Gambler at Berlin’s legendary Volksbühne, while his latest shoot, slated for release in November, is a children’s fantasy film, in which he plays, of all things, Santa Claus. It’s an endearingly uncool part for Scheer, perhaps the most rock-n-roll of all German actors.

Read the full article here (PDF):

smag13 – alexanderscheer

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Shakespeare finds a summer backdrop in Berlin

The Guardian, August 15, 2012

It is dusk in Görlitzer Park and a brawny King Henry VIII is standing at the top of a giant metal slide, wearing just his crown, a giant medallion and skimpy white leggings.

Down below an audience of about 400 people are laughing at the free spectacle, part of Berlin‘s version of Shakespeare in the Park.

It’s an interesting choice of venue for the Bard. The sprawling, scruffy park has long attracted its own cast of local characters, from punks, drug dealers and students to Turkish families who gather here to grill and picnic.

It is in the heart of the alternative scene, multi-ethnic Kreuzberg, an increasingly trendy district in the throes of gentrification. Soaring rents and a proliferation of bars and hostels catering to tourists have given rise to resentment in some quarters.

So when hordes of Shakespeare enthusiasts appeared in their midst last summer, not everyone in the park laid out the welcome mat.

Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/aug/15/shakespeare-in-the-park-berlin

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Romanian concert pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa dies, aged 33

The Guardian, August 3, 2012

The internationally renowned Romanian concert pianist Mihaela Ursuleasa has died suddenly at the age of 33.

Ursuleasa was found dead in her Vienna apartment by police officers on Thursday at about 11am. The cause of death is thought to have been a cerebral haemorrhage, said Vienna police spokeswoman, Adina Mircioane.

Officers broke into the apartment after her mother became worried and contacted the police. “Her mother regularly spoke with or saw her and she had not been in touch that day,” Mircioane said.

“She became concerned so she went to her apartment and she called her phone and heard it in the apartment. It was then assumed that she was still in the apartment.”

Ursuleasa, who recently cancelled two concerts in Bucharest on health grounds, had been something of a child prodigy. Born in 1978 in Brasov, her father was a jazz musician and her mother a singer. She began to play the piano at the age of five and was giving concerts by the time she was nine.

Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/aug/03/romanian-pianist-mihaela-ursuleasa-dies

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European arts cuts: Dutch dance loses out as Netherlands slashes funding

The Guardian, August 2, 2012

The Internationaal Danstheater had been bracing itself for bad news. In the end, its worst fears were realised.

On Wednesday, the Netherlands‘ Performing Arts Fund, which administers government funding to the fields of dance, theatre and music, announced its allocations and the Amsterdam-based theatre was left empty-handed.

The theatre, which for the past 50 years has specialised in dance productions that focus on different world cultures, had applied for €900,000 (£710,000), far less than the €2.8m budget it was previously allocated. However, on Wednesday it found out that it was getting no public subsidy at all.

The drastic cut was part of a Dutch government decision taken last year to slash the culture budget of €800m by 25 %.

As a result, from the start of 2013, countless theatres, museums and orchestras will see their funding either severely curtailed or, like the Internationaal Danstheater, cut off altogether.

Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2012/aug/02/european-arts-cuts-dutch-dance

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Russian star withdraws from Bayreuth Festival over Nazi tattoo

The Guardian, July 22, 2012

Expectations had been high for this year’s Bayreuth opera festival. For the first time a Russian would be taking a lead role, with rising opera star Yevgeny Nikitin preparing to make his debut in Wagner’s The Flying Dutchman.

Instead the Bavarian-based festival is struggling to repair the damage after Nikitin, a former heavy metal singer and drummer, quit the production just days ahead of Wednesday’s premiere amid controversy over a Nazi tattoo.

The scandal was unleashed on 20 July by a TV programme which showed old footage of Nikitin’s colourful heavy metal past. Highlighted playing the drums bare-chested, his many tattoos are visible including one that appears to be a large swastika, covered slightly by another symbol. He told ZDF’s Aspekte Aspekte programme that the tattoos had been “just part of our underground culture”. He has since covered up the offending tattoo with a different image.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jul/22/russian-singer-quits-bayreuth-festival

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