Matija Ferlin
Sad Sam Matthäus

Fri / 23 / 9 / 22
18.00 – 21.15 hrs.

Andrej Bagar Theatre in Nitra
> Great Hall

language English with Slovak surtitles

with intermission

estival opening before performance


Sad Sam Matthäus

directed by: Matija Ferlin 

Powerful, though by no means a pathetic statement about human suffering, about the quest for God and trying to understand him at times of pain and sorrow.

The project by the Croatian choreographer and performer Matija Ferlin is the fourth part of his romantic conceptual series launched in 2004 with the Amsterdam première of the Sad Sam Now project. With the current piece, Ferlin was inspired by Saint Matthew Passion by J. S. Bach, the most famous setting to the music of the Gospel of Matthew. The monumental oratorio from 1727 will be performed on stage in full. Bach composed it for the music to offer space for meditation amidst recitatives and sermons. Although Ferlin is alone on stage with the fascinating music, he occupies large space: he talks, dances, or moves casually and charismatically at the same time. Is Ferlin’s solo a commentary on Bach or rather a dialogue with him? Ferlin’s consonance with the music and simultaneously his distinctive interpretation of Bach’s form is a powerful, though by no means a pathetic statement about human suffering, about the quest for God and trying to understand him at times of pain and sorrow.

directed, choreographed, performed by: Matija Ferlin
dramaturgy: Goran Ferčec
text: Goran Ferčec, Matija Ferlin
with music by: Johann Sebastian Bach St Matthew Passion, BWV 244 in a recording performed by Philippe Herreweghe / Collegium Vocale Gent, licensed courtesy of Harmonia Mundi / [PIAS]
set design: Mauricio Ferlin
sound design: Luka Prinčič
light design, technical director: Saša Fistrić
costume design: Matija Ferlin
directing assistance: Rajna Racz
production management: Maja Delak
production assistance: Sabrina Železnik
executive production: Silvija Stipanov
visual materials: Tina Ivezić, Christophe Chemin, Ana Buljan  
translations: Danijela Bilić Rojnić, Ana Uglešić, Katja Kosi, Maša Dabić
Translations of Bach’s St Matthew Passion libretto: English and French translations are courtesy of Harmonia Mundi; Croatian translation is taken from Sundays’ Readings published by Kršćanska sadašnjost (Christian Present, Zagreb, 1971) or translated directly from German by Alojzija Domislović from Čazman-Varaždin Choir Chapter (Varaždin, 1989); Slovenian translation is a courtesy of the archive of Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra.
production: Emanat, Matija Ferlin
co-production: Wiener Festwochen, CND Centre national de la danse, Istarsko narodno kazalište – Gradsko kazalište Pula
partners:  Mediteranski plesni centar Svetvinčenat , Bunker / Stara mestna Elektrarna – Elektro Ljubljana
supported by: Zagrebačko kazalište mladih
financial support: Ministrstvo za kulturo RS, Mestna občina Ljubljana, Grad Pula, Grad Zagreb

presentation at Divadelná Nitra supported by the Slovak Arts Council, the Nitra Self-Governing Region, The City of Nitra, SPP Foundation, LITA — authors’ society

Matija Ferlin (1982) is stage director, choreographer and performer. He graduated from the School for New Dance Development in Amsterdam, and worked in Berlin and Toronto. After returning to his native Pula (Croatia), he focuses on new staging concepts. His works were presented at international festivals, such as Kunstenfestivaldesarts (Belgium), Wiener Festwochen and ImPulsTanz (Austria), Festival TransAmériques (Canada), BITEF (Serbia), Young Lions (Slovenia). He works with major choreographers, film and stage directors, visual artists and dramaturges (e.g. Ivica Buljan, Christophe Chemin, Maja Delak, Goran Ferčec, Mauricio Ferlin, Ame Henderson, Mateja Koležnik, Sasha Waltz, Jasna Žmak). The production Sad Sam Matthäus is part of a creative cycle that includes the production projects Sad Sam Revisited (2005), Sad Sam Almost 6 (2009) and Sad Sam Lucky (2012). Ferlin’s other works include, inter alia, Students of Insistence (2022), That Emerging Place (2019), Staging a Play: Antigone (2018), Vladimir Nazor’s Water (2018), Staging a Play: Tartuffe (2017), We Are Kings Not Humans (2015).

“Matija Ferlinʼs Sad Sam Matthäus is a magnificent and monumental stage contemplation against the sound backdrop of Bachʼs Matthew Passion, which places intimate memories of suffering and death alongside the tragedy of history, but does not forget the humorous self-irony. With a fragmented temporal dramaturgy that constantly meanders between time periods, the action intertwines and entangles itself and, reminiscent of the nature of human memory, strains ambitious associative lines between stage props, narratives and events. The multi-layered performance language subtly recognizes the complexity of our lives and human emotions, and skilfully mounts different stage levels, which interweave a complex network of citations and associative connections to create an exciting poetic and contemplative performance experience that strikes the core of the experience of human existence.”
(excerpt from the statement of the Committee of the Slovenian Association of Theatre Critics and Researchers)