Film Symphonic: Varieté

Fri 15.09.23 20:00
€ 48 - 40 - 26 - 12

Elena Kats-Chernin, Music for Varieté (film)


After an accident, the famous trapeze artist Boß can no longer perform. Together with his wife and child, he runs a fairstand in Hamburg’s nightlife district of St Pauli. One day, some sailors bring a young and beautiful girl who starts dancing in his business. Soon Boß falls in love with the girl, named Berta-Marie. Together they flee to Berlin, where they achieve great success as an acrobatic trio with the artist Artinelli in the legendary variety theatre Wintergarten. However, when Boß discovers that Berta-Marie is cheating on him with Artinelli, he becomes furious.

The artist melodrama Varieté, filmed in 1925 by Ewald André Dupont, was one of the biggest export successes of the Weimar Republic. Oscar winner Emil Jannings (in the role of Huller) and sensational trapeze scenes (including a salto mortale, doubled by the then-famous acrobatic trio Codonas) stunned audiences. In addition, Karl Freund’s innovative camerawork, between expressionism and film noir, earned Varieté an important place in film history. A new version of Varieté, digitally restored by the Friedrich- Wilhelm-Murneau Foundation, premiered at the Berlinale in 2015.

In collaboration with the Franco- German television channels ZDF and ARTE, and conducted by Dirk Brossé, the Belgian National Orchestra accompanies this silent film with an orchestral score. The music of that score was recently composed by Uzbek-Australian composer Elena Kats-Chernin. This is her fourth soundtrack for a silent film. Elena Kats-Chernin was born in the Soviet Union, studied in Moscow, then emigrated to Sydney and eventually took lessons with Helmut Lachenmann in Germany. There, in the 1980s, she became known for her collaborations with Andrea Breth (a theatre director for whom she wrote stage music) and for compositions commissioned by Ensemble Modern, among others. In 1994, she returned to Australia, where she wrote her best-known work: the ballet Wild Swans, a joint commission by the Australian Ballet and the Sydney Opera House.


In collaboration with ARTE, ZDF, Bozar and 2eleven music film.

With the kind support of Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation.

arte cine concert


Dirk Brossé, conductor


© Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stfitung



Dirk Brossé

Dirk Brossé, an internationally acclaimed conductor and award winning composer, is currently Music Director of the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelph