Peter Maxwell Davies’ iconic 1968 piece of music theatre “Eight Songs for a Mad King” addresses the relationship between madness and power.
The work centres around the psychic disintegration of the British monarch George III and the simultaneous moral disintegration of colonial power. Elaine Mitchener‘s staging and interpretation of “Eight Songs for a Mad King” can also be read as a meta-narrative about the culture industry and its perpetuation of postcolonial violence; in particular, in relation to the absence of non-white female bodies and voices and their non-representation within a European canon of classical and contemporary music.
Elaine Mitchener MBE is one of the most original and distinctive performers of our time. Few other artists are able to convincingly harness such vast resources and combine and project them to such compelling and devastating effect. A classical singer by training, Mitchener is also an experimental vocalist, an improvisor, a composer, a visual artist and a movement artist.
A first generation black British citizen, Mitchener has studied the texts of both revolutionary African-diaspora thinkers, and the European avant garde, and absorbed these into her work. Her aesthetic ignores the arbitrary divisions which the culture industry, for reasons of marketing and economics, imposes on human expression. Instead, it unleashes a total art that explores the limits and expressive potential of the voice and body in performances which represent a dynamic new form of experimental-political music theatre.
Eight Songs for a Mad King w/ Elaine Mitchener
Saturday, 25.11.2023 | Doors 19:30 / Starts 20:00 CET
Radialsystem | Holzmarktstraße 33 | 10243 Berlin