VERGEHEN is an opera that you walk. Simply download the VERGEHEN app to your smartphone, take your headphones and walk at the Munich river Isar. You can walk VERGEHEN on any day at any time and in any weather.

A walk with your smartphone

Imagine that you take a walk at the river Isar in Munich. Your smartphone starts a conversation, involving you in a discourse about memories and the past. How would that sound?

It’s almost a pact: the smartphone lets us participate in the seemingly endless treasures of information and knowledge, all from a small personal companion. In return, we reveal our innermost and core, and – through touch – we practice some peculiar form of intimacy with it.

The audio walk VERGEHEN (Passing) engages with this topic from the futuristic perspective of a utopian technical promise: our experiences can be saved and replayed forever with a brain wave recorder, the memory will be indistinguishable from the original experience. So far, we had to painstakingly translate our experiences and emotions into language, art or music to be able to communicate them. With such a machine that wouldn’t be necessary anymore. Is that really something to desire? That’s one of the questions asked in VERGEHEN.

Trailer in 360° (with subtitles)

An opera that you walk

By using its GPS receiver the smartphone knows where you are located. The app is using this information to adapt the music to your specific location and the pacing of your strolling. You decide on the performance date and duration.

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Please be aware that the app is German only. Download the English translation of the libretto here.

The text as well as the music were conceived by Mathis Nitschke exactly to the chosen way from the cascades below the Maximilianeum over the bridge called “Kabelsteg” to the Museumsinsel, in doing so turning the public space into an artistic space. The local conditions are reflected in the words, just like the music processes the sounds of the environment; a path from one rushing sound of water to the next one, from noise to noise.

Musically, VERGEHEN combines the classical voice of Sarah Aristidou with a hybrid of acoustic and processed cello played by Anja Lechner, analogue techno electronics and digital sound art by Mathis Nitschke. At times bringing to mind the drive of popular electric cello ensembles, then paying homage to the heritage of musique concrète, then again delivering allusions to jazz and world music, composer Mathis Nitschke doesn’t tie himself down to one genre.


For background information of the development of VERGEHEN go here >>>


Anja Lechner
Sarah Aristidou

Soprano: Sarah Aristidou
Narrators: Sarah Aristidou, Mathis Nitschke, Google Android
Cello: Anja Lechner
Concept, Composition: Mathis Nitschke

Programming: Nicola Paul Hahn, Mathis Nitschke
Logo: Anja Gerscher
CD Artwork: Bettina Stickel

Text: Mathis Nitschke, freely using motives and paraphrases out of Douglas Trumbull’s movie “Brainstorm”, Benjamin Stein’s novel “Replay” (C. H. Beck) and most of all Judith N. Klein’s essay “Rückkehr nach Lindeira” (Neues Literaturkontor)

Translation: Alex Schmidt
Additional samples out of productions with Mathis Mayr (cello) und Gabriel Hahn (drums)

Made possible by the city of Munich’s “Projektstipendium Junge Kunst / Neue Medien für Musik 2015”.

Walkthrough Video

This video serves archival documentary purposes. Audio recorded directly (live) from the smartphone. English subtitles will be added later.

Related works:

Please see also the (German) project website: >>
If you can’t make it to the Munich river Isar, check the Virtual Reality Trailer: VERGEHEN VR Trailer >>
The worlds first Augmented Reality Opera: MAYA >>>
For another approach to opera in public space, check VIOLA >>