François-Xavier Roth © Marco Borggreve François-Xavier Roth © Marco Borggreve François-Xavier Roth © Marco Borggreve © Marco Borggreve
Mon, 27 May 2019 20:00
Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Großer Saal SOLD OUT € 10.00 | 15.00 | 30.00 | 41.00 | 47.00 Further Information on Booking Tickets

Lab.Oratorium / Gürzenich Orchester

In their Lab.Oratorium – an experimental blend of drama and oratorio, electro-acoustic audio theatre and orchestral spatial music – the composer Philippe Manoury and the director Nicolas Stemann open a door to the tragedy of refugees. Poems by Ingeborg Bachmann, texts by Elfriede Jelinek and documentary material are used as a point of departure for an exploration of a civilisation that has reached a crossroads. Cologne’s General Music Director François-Xavier Roth conducts a mighty assemblage of choirs and orchestras that includes the Elbphilharmonie’s Chor zur Welt, which was initially formed as a project choir for Syrian refugees and Germans.

»Lab.Oratorium« poses questions and looks for answers: To what extent do we allow this immigration from »outside«? How do we deal with the resulting changes to what we are familiar with? And how does this affect our identity? Because once you’ve seen the photos, you’ll never forget them: the pictures of emaciated figures who hardly have anything other than what they’re wearing, and who use their last ounce of strength to drag themselves on shore and to throw their life jackets onto a pile with the ones discarded there by those who came before them.

»A war rages on the southern and eastern borders of our ghetto of affluence,« argues Navid Kermani. »Each individual refugee is an incursion of reality into our consciousness.« Charges are brought against lifeboat workers due to their humanitarian operations, and the rescue boats are refused permission to come to shore. And even though the number of refugees arriving is declining, populist parties continue to feed on the fear of »foreign infiltration«, thereby promoting inner turmoil in Europe.


Gürzenich-Orchester Köln

Rinnat Moriah soprano

Tora Augestad mezzo-soprano

Patrycia Ziolkowska actor

Sebastian Rudolph actor

Chor zur Welt

SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart


Thomas Goepfer computerized musical realisation

conductor François-Xavier Roth

Nicolas Stemann stage director


Philippe Manoury
Lab.Oratorium / für Stimmen, Orchester und Live-Elektronik

Download programme (German)




A co-production by Gürzenich-Orchester Köln, IRCAM, Philharmonie de Paris and Elbphilharmonie Hamburg.