Sancta (working title)

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Project description

In her choreographic and performative works, the Austrian artist Florentina Holzinger examines depictions of the female body from a feminist angle. Her performances draw inspiration from a variety of influences ranging from Viennese actionism to body building to classical ballet. Together with her company of international dancers, Holzinger has developed her first-ever performative music theatre piece entitled “Sancta”.

The starting point for her piece is Paul Hindemith’s opera “Sancta Susanna” which caused quite a scandal when it first premiered in Frankfurt am Main in 1922. It tells the story of the nun Susanna and her sexual desire, which culminates in an ecstatic immersion with Jesus on the Cross. Holzinger translates “Sancta Susanna” into a contemporary opera that highlights female desire in the context of religious morality and the religiously repressive access to the female-imagined body. The source material is being collaged and rewritten as a new composition for performance by exclusively female voices. Opera singers will perform on stage alongside sex workers and body modification artists in a set resembling the sanctuary of a church.

The international project is a coproduction by the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater in Schwerin, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Wiener Festwochen, Volksbühne in Berlin and several freelance producers. The participants are involved in a collective process to develop sustainable forms of cooperation, e.g. by bundling resources. A series of educational formats is also planned, which Holzinger and her team hope will engage the local communities at the respective venues in fruitful dialogue.

Artistic director: Florentina Holzinger
Performers: Florentina Holzinger, Renée Copraij, Xana Novais, Annina Machaz, Netti Nüganen, Sophie Duncan, Luz de Luna Duran
Dramaturgy: Renée Copraij, Judith Lebiez, Sarah Ostertag, Philipp Amelungsen, Miron Hakenbeck
Composer/ musical director: Johanna Doderer
Participants: Cornelia Zink, Ensemble Schwerin/Stuttgart
Production, management and international distribution: neon lobster / Giulia Messia & Katharina Wallisch

Performances: Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Schwerin: premiere 30 May and additional performances on 31 May – 2 Jun. 2024; Wiener Festwochen, Vienna: 9 Jun. 2024 and 11 – 13 Jun. 2024 and 15 Jun. 2024, Staatsoper Stuttgart: 1 – 3, 5 – 6 Nov. 2024; Volksbühne Berlin 14 – 19 and 25 – 29 Oct. 2024

A production by Florentina Holzinger in coproduction with the Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Wiener Festwochen and Volksbühne Berlin


Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater GmbH

Alter Garten 2
19055 Schwerin (external link, opens in a new window)

Staatsoper Stuttgart

Oberer Schloßgarten 6
70173 Stuttgart (external link, opens in a new window)

Wiener Festwochen GesmbH

Lehárgasse 11/1/6
1060 Wien (external link, opens in a new window)

Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz

Linienstraße 227
10178 Berlin