Musical Theatre

Songs for Captured Voices

Laure M. Hiendl / Elaine Mitchener / KNM Berlin

Live premiere

A memento of the unspoken: The music theatre “Songs for Captured Voices” by Laure M. Hiendl, Phila Bergmann, Thea Reifler and Göksu Kunak centres around human voices that have been instrumentalised time and again throughout history and become the object of asymmetrical power negotiations.

Songs for Captured Voices

Songs for Captured Voices

© Rita Couto

The background for this project are audio recordings from German prisoner-of-war camps of the First and Second World War, which are from the Lautarchiv of the Berlin Humboldt University – a unique archive of acoustic recordings worldwide. At the heart of the collection are recordings of songs as well as a variety of languages and dialects from POWs around the world. For the most part, there is little to no information about the identity of those recorded; the focus is on the collection of their dialects.

The recordings themselves are not played or reproduced onstage; rather, the capture of these human voices acts as a starting point for attentive listening: the original music composed for this project allows what remains unspoken and hidden, what exists in the in-between sounds and blurriness, to resound.


Laure M. Hiendl composition, concept
Phila Bergmann, Thea Reifler direction, concept
Göksu Kunak libretto
Elaine Mitchener voice
KNM Berlin music
Sandra E. Blatterer, Juri Rendler light, stage
Nicholas Navarro Rueda costumes
Rita Couto photography
Jamila Wolfgruber graphics

KNM Berlin
Theo Nabicht contrabass clarinet
Michael Weilacher drums
Theodor Flindell violin
Cosima Gerhardt violoncello

A production by Bergmann/Reifler/Hiendl GbR in cooperation with Radialsystem. Funded by the Berlin Senate Department for Culture and Europe. The preliminary research was supported by the Initialförderung Fonds Darstellende Künste. A composition commission by the Radialsystem, funded by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.

With friendly support of Callie’s.

Elaine Mitchener is currently fellow of the DAAD Artists-in-Berlin Program.