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Ballet of the Leipzig Opera and the Papiertheater guesting at the German National Library in Leipzig

Press release:  March 5, 2014

The German National Library in Leipzig is once again taking part in the popular "Leipzig liest" reading festival by staging a number of unusual and visually striking events (13 - 16 March). The German Music Archive of the German National Library is forging a dance connection with the ballet of the Leipzig Opera on 15 March. The new reading room and exhibition area, opened in 2011, can be experienced in a different light during the ballet company's production, directed by Mario Schröder. Artist Johannes Volkmann takes his viewers into extravagant worlds of fantasy with his "Szenische Lesung in Papier" on Thursday 13 March. His "Unbezahlbareine Frage reist um die Welt" installation, to be set up in front of the National Library, invites people to interact with it. The programme also includes readings by the Bachmann award winner Katja Petrowskaja, and the Swiss author Michael Stauffer. The opening of the new temporary exhibition "Die Welt in Leipzig. Internationale Ausstellung für Buchgewerbe und Graphik. Bugra 1914" of the German Museum of Books and Writing on 11 March represents a further key event.

Architekton - Dancing in city buildings

How do we move in public and private acoustic spaces? Music, sounds and sound environments characterise our daily life. They create atmospheres, provide orientation, supply information. Dancers of the Leipzig ballet of the Leipzig Opera will be immersing themselves in sound worlds on a performance area which extends through the new rooms of the German Music Archive. Including an historical grand piano played seemingly by ghostly hands, and a listening studio equipped with the latest technology, the production will be highlighting connections to audio worlds and exploring the effects of the technical evolution of sound recording technologies in these and other settings.

Event organised by the German National Library in cooperation with the Leipzig Ballet / Leipzig Opera, 15 March, 18:00 and 20:00, German National Library, tickets EUR 18 / 15
Ticket hotline: +49 (0)341 261, www.oper-leipzig.de

Installation „Unbezahlbar - eine Frage reist um die Welt“

Artist Johannes Volkmann instigated the "Unbezahlbar - eine Frage reist um die Welt" project in response to the banking crisis. For four years he travelled the world in search of answers to the question of what is priceless to us today. People from different cultures and religions have gathered around a table of up to 50 meters in length and written down their thoughts on the plates wrapped in paper. The "Unbezahlbar" installation is being set up in Leipzig by the German National Library. Here, visitors and passers-by are given the opportunity to write their own personal responses down on paper plates. The table has already been to Ireland, Spain, Israel, Palestine, Ecuador, Egypt, India and China - and now it here with us in Leipzig.

In the subsequent dramatic reading, Volkmann presents the "Unbezahlbar" project and two other works. Based loosely on Plato's ideas, the subject of "Kugelmenschen" is nothing less than the question of how love originated in the world. "Geschichte einer Frage" puts a smile on audience members' faces, while giving them something to think about. Following in the footsteps of Heinrich Böll, Volkmann asks how much each individual needs, or doesn't need, in order to be happy.

Eine szenische Lesung in Papier mit Johannes Volkmann
Event organised by the German National Library in cooperation with Erlesene Bücher Verlag, 13 March, 18:00, German National Library, free admission

Installation „Unbezahlbar - eine Frage reist um die Welt“
13 March, 10:00 - 18:00 in front of the German National Library

2013 Ingeborg-Bachmann prize-winner Katja Petrowskaja reads extracts from her new work, "Vielleicht Esther"

Was she really called Esther, the grandmother of the father who stayed in occupied Kiev in 1941? The Yiddish words she directed at the German soldiers on the street - who heard them? And when Babushka was shot, who stood at the window and watched? The author recounts her family history in short chapters. She writes about her journeys to the places where her family lived, reflects on a shattered, traumatised century and shines a spotlight on individuals whose faces are no longer recognisable. Incredulity, scruples and a sense of the comic shine through in every sentence of this powerful book.

Reading with Katja Petrowskaja
Event organised by the German National Library in cooperation with Suhrkamp Verlag, 13 March, 19:30, German National Library, admission EUR 4 / 3,
Tickets: +49 (0)341 2271-216 or

Swiss author Michael Stauffer presenting his humorous novel "Ansichten eines alten Kamels"

An old people's home is burning. Author Michael Stauffer is out walking when he takes a USB memory stick from the collar of a dog. On it he finds the incredible story of Henri Choffat who, on the cusp of turning forty, discovers that he has twenty two genetically identical doppelgangers. An ominous Geneva-based authority offers him a pension with immediate effect if he gives them his life story in return. When Choffat moves into the old people's home for a year to write his biography, he makes some astonishing discoveries.

Reading with Michael Stauffer
Event organised by the German National Library in cooperation with Voland & Quist Verlag, 14 March, 18:00, German National Library, free admission

Die Welt in Leipzig.
Internationale Ausstellung für Buchgewerbe und Graphik. Bugra 1914“

In 2014 it is 100 years since the Internationale Ausstellung für Buchgewerbe und Graphik (Bugra) was held in Leipzig in 1914. Based on surviving artefacts, the exhibition organised by the German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library in Leipzig reconstructs the Bugra as the first and last "world exhibition" of books in Leipzig.

Opening of "Die Welt in Leipzig" exhibition
11 March, 19:00, German Museum of Books and Writing of the German National Library

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Schriftbanner mit Deutscher Nationalbibliothek Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main