An opera for chorus: in Christian Jost’s Angst the story line is conveyed chorally. With the aim of redefining the role of the chorus in music theatre, Rundfunkchor Berlin commissioned a new work from Jost.
The composer, born in 1963, chose as the subject of his third opera a mountaineering tragedy that took place in 1985 in the Peruvian Andes: in order to save his own life, a British climber was forced to cut the support rope and leave his injured comrade behind.
The drama of the disaster plays out less in the external events than in the protagonists’ internal states. Their turmoil of doubts, thoughts, feelings and conflicts of conscience are presented by a chorus embodying the »singing play of thoughts« the psycho-dynamic: »My approach«, explains Jost, »was to make use of this variety of voices within a body, to make it sound, make it sing.«
The anxiety is illuminated from different perspectives: dramatically in an internalized reflection of the dangerous climbing situation, poetically in the incorporation of Hölderlin, scientifically in the description of neuropsychological processes, and documentarily in referring to a report on torture victims. The inward musical journey uncovers additional layers that are not always easy to connect causally yet are interrelated within a complex system.
Following the successful premiere in 2006 at the UltraSchall festival, the Komische Oper of Berlin took the work into their repertoire in 2009, newly staged by Jasmina Hadžiahmetović.