Gunfighter Nation

Wild Wild West 18 singers and musicians


Thomasz Kurianowicz
published on

They wallow in stereotypes, making noises and annoyances. The opera performance "Gunfighter Nation" blends myths of the USA. Late in the evening at the Ballhaus Ost, the Wild West reigns.

A bubbly blonde in broad Southern accent welcomes the incoming guests next to a cowboy with his rifle. There are two frightened Indians in the other corner, clinging to each other, as if they already knew that they were no longer alive here. One can guess what comes next: this could be a classic White Trash trump parody. It is in fact the premiere of the opera Gunfighter Nation, which only takes a marginal response to the recent presidential election. The curious, highly experimental, postdramatic work, produced by Opera Lab and Klangwerkstatt Berlin, is rather an exploration of the myths (and the vulgarisms) of the USA and its overarching specter. [...] There is no doubt that this will get on the nerves of some, much as the United States is currently on the rest of the world, but there is no doubt of the work’s genuine is quality and humour, created by Evan Gardner (composer) and Michael Höppner (director). The set full of glittering American relics is also a pleasure for the eye. [...] Where noise becomes the reason of existence, the only way out is escape.

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