Visiting rehearsals with Dorothy Oberlinger: “There is a spirit of optimism” – Culture

Potsdam – Dorothy Oberlinger, The Many-Faceted Woman: She not only plays the flute and runs Potsdam’s largest music festival. She also performs – and anyone lucky enough to see her at a musical rehearsal knows that sometimes she sings. When it comes to evoking the spirit of Boponcino, the beautiful-buttocked shepherd in the opera The Marvelous Influences of Mother Nature, as the comic buffalo – then Dorothy Oberlinger can shrug it off, too.

“These are very busy months,” Dorothy Oberlinger says after the rehearsal at the Palace Theater in the New Palace. “But this variety really appeals to me.” Giuseppe Scarlatti’s “The Marvelous Influences of Mother Nature” is one of five operas to premiere at this year’s music festival. Two of them are in the Palais Theater, where, according to Oberlinger, “Italian fire meets French elegance.” In 2021, she was able to test the wonderful mix at the festival – also with “Schäferoper”, but by Georg Philipp Telemann: “Pastorelle en musique”.

The music festival runs from June 10 to 26.Photo: Ottmar Winter

The flautist Oberlinger has been running the Potsdam Sanssouci Music Festival since 2018. In 2019 she made her debut here as a music leader: with Giovanni Bonocini’s “Polifemo” at the Palazzo Orangerie in Sanssouci. Musically, the performances were praised (“Polifemo” won an Opus Classic) – but critics accused the productions of being too loyal to the show. This will apparently change with the “wonderful influences of Mother Nature”: Emmanuel Moret, the film director whom Oberlinger describes as “French Woody Allen,” will bring the material into today’s open office world.

Oberlinger fast answering essential questions

What a texture! The story of Casper Hauser: Silidoro, King of Mallorca, remained hidden from the world in a tower – because another fake king made himself comfortable on his throne. But Silidoro escapes, discovering the world, women, and the way government and power work. And in the end she not only finds her place (and patron), but also makes the world fairer. “He connects nature with what he has learned,” Oberlinger says, and is quick to answer basic questions. With Rousseau and his then revolutionary methodology, children should be treated as children and not as adults. And when it comes to the question of what social norms really achieve—and the crucial question par excellence: are human beings intrinsically good or bad?

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“It’s an ostensibly a fun track, but there’s also a lot of gloom and truth in it,” she says. Perhaps also in terms of the Kasperhauser nature of people after the epidemic? Shouldn’t we all first learn certain ways to work together again – after two years in the basement of a home office?

A reading that Oberlinger does not reject, but does not play a role in the choice of material – when the decision was made, there was no talk of Corona. This also applies to the theme of the music festival as a whole: “Carrots” is the name, and it fits 2022 like a fist on a weary eye. It was originally based on the geographical specificity of Potsdam, the local islands and peninsulas, as well as on the historical longing for distant places, which the Prussian rulers lived in their palaces and gardens. The pandemic has given this wandering and isolation an additional localized dimension.

No sign of corona stress

A year ago, when the music festival was canceled for the second time in a row, Oberlinger’s disappointment and restrained anger at the consequences of the pandemic were evident. It was the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the festival. “You really have to be careful not to get depressed about the situation,” she said at the time. And about self-employed musicians: “Many can’t do it mentally and financially.”

From the camp to the new rooms

Music festival continues from From 10 to 26 June And stand under it Theme “Islands”. The five operas along with Scarlattis The miraculous effects of mother nature (Premiere June 12) Carlo Pallavicino “Amazon Island” (Premiere June 25) Plus music performances by JF Richarts “Ghost Island” (Premiere June 18) Henry Purcells “Indian Queen” (26.6.) and GB Pergolesis El Ciarlatano (18.6.). places for About 40 concerts In addition to the Palace Theatre, the New Sanssouci Rooms, the Palace of Orangerie and the Palm Hall in the New Garden, there is also the Chapel of Peace, the Factory, Peacock IslandAnd the Heilandskirche Sacrow as well as Friendship Islandand Pirschheide Train Station and Sanssouci camp. Information and tickets are available at (0331) 28 28888 and at

Dorothy Oberlinger who is now sitting in front of you in the hall of the Palace Theater is different. No sign of corona stress, disappointment and exhaustion. “He was whining last year,” says playwright Karsten Heinrichs. The streaming concerts the 2021 festival wanted to salvage what could be saved were a “last whistle”.

All musicians are now full of energy, Oberlinger says: “There is a spirit of optimism.” Many have used the pandemic to try new things. She discovered herself director Emmanuel Moret during the pandemic while watching films at the Arte Media Library.

The pandemic has made people more selective, as the director and theater says: “You can’t register in Potsdam with ready-made goods.” Scarlatti’s opera is the opposite. It’s a rarity: a rediscovery. First shown in Venice in 1751, with a libretto by Goldoni, Friedrich Zoe brought it to Potsdam – to the Schlosstheater. At that time, the opera was a huge success, and was later forgotten. Part of the manuscript was in Vienna, the other in Wolfenbüttel – they were brought together again in Potsdam. “An archaeological work,” Oberlinger says. As a result, you hear Vienna jokes. Ernst and Buffa, everything blends beautifully here. Opera “comic”.

And when does the summer of Potsdam music end? Then Dorothy Oberlinger will go to her private island. Pantelleria, a small volcanic island between Tunisia and Sicily. She is wonderful, she says, cruel and lonely. “there is nothing.”

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