February 4, 2017

The Hat: Arendt Meets Heidegger

The Lounge at Dixon Place
161A Chrystie St, New York, NY 10002
tickets / more info

The Hat: Arendt Meets Heidegger is an opera by composer Karen Siegel and librettist Zsuzsanna Ardó that imagines the meeting of Hannah Arendt and Martin Heidegger in 1924 Marburg, Germany – a meeting with an impact lasting two lifetimes.

Both of the characters are influential thinkers of the 20th century, who sustained a relationship despite their disparate perspectives and backgrounds. Arendt, a Jew, is known for her Origins of Totalitarianism, among other works of political theory; Heidegger, whose Being and Time is a classic philosophy text, was a member of the Nazi party.

The Hat is about how their powerful passion of intellectual, emotional and sexual attraction could have been ignited in these first meetings. It is both serious and funny, engaging its audience whether they are familiar with Arendt's and Heidegger's ideas or not.

The libretto is based on Ardó's play, published by Philosophy Now (UK) and Logos Journal (US). Siegel's music draws on the soundscapes of Arendt and Heidegger's worlds, with hints of Jewish and German folk music as well as the European Classical music that they would have listened to together, while retaining Siegel's characteristic rhythmic intricacy and lyricism.

This premiere concert version of the full one-act opera will feature the composer and soprano Karen Siegel with baritone Christopher Dylan Herbert, mezzo-soprano Alison Cheeseman, tenor Alex Guerrero, conductor Colin Britt and pianist Trudy Chan.

Karen Siegel
Karen Siegel, composer