© Marie-Lisa Noltenius/KAS-ACDP

Fly Ladybird Fly

Songs, poems and letters around the "Great War"

In this musical reading about the First World War. A man and a woman are placed side by side in the foreground on the stage. The pianist is sitting in the background at the grand piano. Man and woman do not interact on stage, but represent side by side the soldier in the war as well as the woman who stayed at home. Even without interaction, the two quickly become a couple with whom he can identify with the projection of the viewer. Meanwhile, the pianist provides a sensitive musical accompaniment.

The program 'The Great War' includes original field letters, quotes and diary entries from the time of the First World War as well as songs of different genres, ranging from Kurt Weill on German children's songs to pop songs by George Michael, for example. All content presented has to do with war, with the spoken content consistently going back to the time of the First World War. In contrast, the songs build a bridge to the present day and to war in general.
Also the song 'La Chanson de Craonne' - better known as 'Bonsoir m'amour' - is part of the program. His text, which was written by an anonymous French soldier as an anti-war song at the time of the First World War, was banned in France until the 1970s, and thus virtually becomes a component of the program.

While spoken German words and English, German, Russian and French songs alternate, languages and perspectives merge: the listener becomes aware of how transferable the fates are that are taken up here: boundaries and nationality, perpetrators and victims, space and time become blurred.

Entstehung & Anforderungen

In 2009, the production was in cooperation with the German War Graves Care under the title 'And no one heard their tears' and was performed in the Hanover State Opera. It takes about 60 minutes and is variable in length, as texts and music can be omitted and added as desired, without the program losing its strong effect.

It can also be adapted for the Second World War by exchanging the spoken content accordingly.

The program is developed for a stage, but can also be presented on a smaller scale as a musical-theatrical performance. An existing tuned grand piano or a piano as well as professional sound technology on site are required.


Und was bekam des Soldaten Weib/ And What Got The Soldiers Wife (Kurt Weill, 1942), Последний бой/ The Last Battle (Michail Nozhkin, 1968), Mothers Pride (George Michael, 1990), La Chanson de Craonne (anti ca. 1915), Maikäfer flieg'/ Fly Ladybird Fly (children's song, around 1618), Irgendwo auf der Welt/ Anywhere In The World (Werner Richard Heymann "Der blonde Traum"/ "The Blond Dream", 1932), Hänschen klein/ Small Hans (Franz Wiedemann, around 1860), The Flagmaker, 1775 (Jason Robert Brown "Songs For New World", 1995)

© Bernd Brundert

singing: Franziska Böhm

© Ava Pivot

reading: Björn Geske

© schauspielhannover

grand piano: Burkhard Niggemeier


Konrad Adenauer Stiftung 09/2014

Only in German!

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