Date: 18 May 2012, Friday, 7 pm
Venue: KIRÁLY 102, 1068 Budapest, Király u. 102, 1st floor
Following an introduction by Hajnal Németh, the film will be screened several times during the evening.
The musical performance entitled False Testimony, which has been recorded on video, is based on an actual historical event and a dialogue of a film, Version, treating this event. The “Tiszaeszlár Affair,” which took place in Hungary between 1882 and 1883, gained infamy in Europe as an anti-Semitic blood libel and show trial. The subject of the case was the accusation of the Jews of Tiszaeszlár of ritually murdering a Christian girl. The trial was described in a book by Károly Eötvös, liberal member of parliament who, as the counsel for the defense, managed to get his clients acquitted.
The film Version (1981) by Miklós Erdély focuses on a specific detail of the trial. It portrays, with great sensitivity, the moment when 14-year-old crown witness Móric Scharf is taught by the gendarme his false testimony. The lyrics for the songs in Németh’s music performance are based on rephrased fragments of the film’s dialogues. The structure of the performance follows the method of teaching and learning; the forced memorization of the lie, which is later articulated as the false testimony. The performance shows the stages of this process: the learning, acceptance and psychological attainment of the false testimony, its development into a conviction and ultimate, fatal proclamation.
In recent years, Hajnal Németh has primarily been engaged in making videos and installations utilizing sound and moving images. She first used the genre of contemporary opera for the vocal rendition of written texts within the context of her large scale project Crash – Passive Interview, presented at the 2011 Venice Biennial.
Author: Hajnal Németh
Composer: Reinhard Hoffmann
Assistant: Annette Wiegand
Tobias Müller-Kopp (baritone) as Kálmán Péczely, court clerk
Christian Miebach (tenor) as Móric Scharf, crown witness
The Jazzchor Berlin Vokal as the psyche
Chorus-master: Michael Betzner-Brandt
Camera: István Imreh
Sound: Fabien Leseure
Post production: Yensin Jahn – PlanetRoc Studo
Recorded at: David Chipperfield Architects Studio, Berlin, 2012
Special thanks for the support: Béla Horváth; Christian Helfrich; David Chipperfield Architects Studio, Berlin