Hajnal Németh

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operatic performance, Átrium Theatre, Budapest


The Loser

Operatic performance, 30', Átrium Theatre, Budapest, May 20, 2015

In the frame of the OFF Biennale Budapest, part of the event When Art(ist) Speak(s)

Concept, script, lyrics and stage adaptation: Hajnal Németh

Choral music composed by: Dóra Halas

Choir: Soharóza

Soloists: Andrea Csereklyei (soprano), Kornél Mikecz (baritone)

The piece consists of sung confessions performed by two soloists and a choir. The librettos convey the struggles and the internal dialogues of the failed politician and the failed banker, interpreted by the soloists in the form of improvised melodies. The internal dialogue takes place between the failed person and his conscience, represented by a male executive and his secretary. As a counterpoint to the leaders, the masses - the choir - provide a self-analysis by the compromising citizen and by the naive revolutionist in the form of vocal self introductions. The representatives of different currently typical social statuses finally end up in the same boat: they all become losers.

The soloists therefore perform the confessions of the leaders, whose passions are different; still, they are linked by the common journey they take: an initial enthusiasm and the sense of commitment, going through struggle and then experiencing power, ignoring responsibility, believing in ideologies and gradually losing that belief, and finally, failure. The choir represents the masses who are either well controlled of are trying to escape from control.

The piece is framed by the relationship between the individual and the masses. Rather than the opposition of the different ideologies, it is the contradictions within the ideologies themselves as well as individual versus shared responsibility that are addressed through the random examples of leaders and masses.

The lyrics of the piece are made up of various texts, partly found and quoted, adapted and complemented (edited and rhytmic adaptations of monologues and confessions). References: ‘A cinkos’ (The Accomplice) by György Konrád; Statement by Josef Ackermann (former Chief Executive of Deutsche Bank) on 2nd April 2009.


  • You did it out of love.

  • It is hard to be in love with the party.

  • You were imagining things.

  • Imagination flees from headquarters to public squares.

  • You gave a speech.

  • The masses before my feet, I speak into the microphone and they cheer.

  • You enjoyed power.

  • Power is enjoyable, democracy less so.

  • You loved the masses.

  • A masses can be loved like women: they should submit to my will.

  • It was fun to wisecrack in the radio.

  • The country works six days a week and on the seventh, they sit around me.

(detail from the libretto "The Loser / Settling the score 1" written by Hajnal Németh)


  • I am invisible.

  • He (she) is invisible.

  • I am unsystematic.

  • He (she) is unsystematic.

  • I am independent.

  • He (she) is independent.

  • I am identical with myself.

  • He (she) is identical with myself.

  • I am the minority.

  • He (she) is the minority.

  • I am the majority.

  • He (she) is the majority.

  • I am a conspirator

  • He (she) is a conspirator.

  • 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)


Photo: Zoltán Kerekes, Boglárka Zellei