Hajnal Németh

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operatic performance, REH Kunst, Berlin


The Loser (version 2)

Operatic performance, 40', REH Kunst, Berlin, 2013

Delivered by: Tobias Müller-Kopp, Kristin Schulze and the Jazzchor Berlin Vokal - led by Michael Betzner Brandt

In an opera-like vocal enactment of confessions, a politician and a banker are engaged in a Faustian dialogue with their own conscience, discussing their fascination of power, their initial enthusiasm, their beliefs and the loss of it, and the question of responsibility.

The whole room at REH Kunst becomes an abstract-minimalistic stage, which frames the talk between the power persons and their consciences. Characteristic for Hajnal Németh’s practice, this piece also moves on the border between different genres. The singers are placed like sculptures on the stage – as tableaux vivants – underlining the crossover between music and visual arts. The exchange between the banker and the politician is accompanied by a choir, which alternately embody citizens or revolutionaries – rotating between comfort and consternation, trust and distrust.

The struggles and experiences of the protagonists are different but address the same problems nonetheless. In focus are the figure of the loser and the subject of losing. What are the consequences of personal failures, or of collective failures? How do we react to the loss of power, money or morale? On the stage, self-delusion and the contrasts between concepts of individual and societal sense of responsibility are disclosed. Through the opera-like staging, the permanence of these themes is underlined – regardless of the currentness of the financial- and euro-crisis.

Hajnal Németh’s texts are recited by Tobias Müller-Kopp, Kristin Schulze and the Jazz-Choir Berlin Vokal under the artistic direction of Michael Betzner Brandt. All texts are in English and will be projected as surtitles in German and English. In 2012, the first version of The Loser was performed at the Balassi Institut, with the large window panorama of Berlin as backdrop to the performance. In this second version at REH Kunst, the performance has been altered to fit the special circumstances of the space-extending building (REH – RaumErweiterungsHalle). The wood paneling and the pentagonal form of the construction give the space a unique acoustic. The stage set will be more abstract, using light and shadow to underscore the narrowness and monotony of the room.


  • You did it out of enthusiasm.

  • It is hard to be enthusiastic in the world of numbers, especially in the domains below zero.

  • You were daydreaming.

  • I imagine myself in the limelight instead of the office.

  • You gave statements.

  • The reactions to my statements fill the news, the press is helping me.

  • You enjoyed the authority.

  • In an authoritarian society you can feel truly good on the top.

  • You understood simple people.

  • I understand the anger of simple people.

  • You projected self-confidence.

  • The insecurity of citizens should be channeled well.

(detail from the libretto "The Loser / Settling the score 2" written by Hajnal Németh)


  • I am transparent.

  • He (She) is transparent.

  • I am systematic.

  • He (She) is systematic.

  • I am dependent.

  • He (She) is dependent.

  • I am identical with another.

  • He (She) is identical with another.

  • I am the majority.

  • He (She) is the majority.

  • I am the minority.

  • He (She) is the minority.

  • I am a traitor.

  • He (She) is a traitor.

  • I judge.

  • He (She) judges.

  • They pass judgement on me.

  • They pass judgement on him (her).

(detail from the libretto "The Loser / Introduction 2" written by Hajnal Németh)

View: REH Kunst, Berlin, 2013

Photo: Péter Lowas