John Malkovich and the “Infernal Comedy” thrilled the audience at the ancient site of Felix Romuliana
Hollywood actor John Malkovich, the Vienna Academy Orchestra and the Wrocław Baroque Orchestra thrilled the audience at the ancient site of Felix Romuliana near Zaječar with their performance of the musical piece “The Infernal Comedy”.
Malkovich and the musicians received a standing ovation of around 1,000 people for their unique theatre experiment in an open-air space inside the remains of a 3rd-century Roman imperial palace. “The Infernal Comedy” combined Malkovich’s stage expressiveness in performing inspired by the experiences of a serial killer and superb classical music performed by two orchestras. The orchestras and opera singers Ken Reise and Susan Langbein masterfully performed Bach, Beethoven and Haydn’s arias.
The play was performed as part of the Zaječar Cultural Summer at Felix Romuliana which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. “The Infernal Comedy – Confessions of a Serial Killer” is a joint project of the play’s director Michael Sturminger, conductor Martin Hasselbeck and Malkovich himself, and tells the story of Johann “Jack” Unterweger, an Austrian writer and serial killer, known as the “Killer from the Vienna Woods”. In 1976, Unterweger was sentenced to prison for the murder of 18-year-old Margret Schafer. During his time in prison, he discovered a gift for writing and gained fame with the autobiographical novel “Purgatory or a Trip to Prison – Report of a Guilty Man”.
The performance of “The Infernal Comedy” is part of the European tour, and the event’s main sponsor was the city of Zaječar. The project “EU for cultural heritage and tourism”, funded by the European Union and the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany, and implemented by the German organization for international cooperation GIZ, as well as the Eliskir Foundation, the companies Zepter and UNIQA Osiguranje, supported this event. The event was jointly organized by the ArtLink Festival, the Zaječar Theatre, and the National Museum in Zaječar.
The joint venture organization of “The Infernal Comedy” aims to promote cultural heritage in Serbia, such as the Roman Imperial Palace of Felix Romuliana, the only archaeological site on the UNESCO World Heritage List.