A Staged Oratorio
Premiered at the Bergen Autunnale on October 27th, 2018.
Libretto & Music by Djuro Zivkovic
Musical Direction: Christian Karlsen
Stage Direction & Lighting: Aleksi Barrière
Stage & Costumes: Anke Laerenbergh
with Carina Vinke (alto solo), Jacob Kellermann (guitar solo), The Choir of the Monastery of Holy Archangels in Kovilj & BIT20 Ensemble.
BOGOLUCHIE takes its inspiration from the 58 Hymns by the 10th century Byzantine monk and mystic St. Symeon The New Theologian. Radical for his own time, the monk’s ideas and writings challenged his readers to embrace Christ as a personal and individual experience.
BOGOLUCHIE is the inner drama of a soul working her way from a state of war to a state of peace. Music is not the language in which this quest is told, but the medium in which it is realized. The Orthodox method of the ‘prayer of the heart’, which has equivalents in many other spiritual traditions, is a concrete procedure of focus and breathing, that through silence culminates in inner spiritual serenity and peace. In the poetry of St. Symeon The New Theologian it is made tangible as a love story of the self with God.
In times of division, wars and displacement, Djuro Zivkovic and the monks of the Kovilj Monastery offer a manifesto against the spirit of individualism and secession, in the form of a collective meditation and process of fine-tuning.
The work ends with the gradual abolishment of separations, and a wordless reinterpretation of fragments of The Book of Psalms – one of the cornerstones of all three monotheistic religions – in which a cry of solitude is transformed into singing.