I saw *The Murder of Halit Yozgat* on January 12, 2021 (it was filmed in Hannover sometime the previous fall). It’s a dramatization of the true story of the murder of Halit Yozgat, a 21-year old man who was shot in the head in his parents’ internet café in 2006 in Kassel, Germany. The score was by Australain-Icelandic composer Ben Frost.
The film showed the chamber ensemble in the pit of an empty theater and singers at music stands along the periphery. There was a large white box on the stage, it was unclear at first what was going on there. The text, by Daniela Danz, was largely banal. A woman was calling someone on the phone and asking details about a car she wanted to buy (I think it as a Prius). Other things like that. The music was relentlessly thick, heavy, and Important. I watched it on a laptop with earbuds and found the music wearying.
The video was diverting but didn’t really draw enough focus away from the music. I knew the opera was two hours long and decided I would stay with it for at least a half hour - - one of the nice things about watching an opera online is you can leave whenever you want without fear of insulting the performers or causing an inconvenience to your fellow audience members. After what felt like a long time I decided to hover my cursor over the timing bar to see how much time had gone by. Nine minutes and twelve seconds.
Sometime around 20 minutes it became clear that the people onstage, in the white box of a set, were the same people who were singing in the pit. So we were seeing a cleverly assembled double experience. That made it more interesting. Again, it didn’t make the music any easier to take, and ya know, an opera really is about the music, am I right? I don’t require beauty, or, God forbit, lyricism, but a momentary change in mood and texture would be appreciated.
A turning point at 27 minutes: oh praise Jesus, I only have three minutes left! I turned it off at 32 minutes.