Ben Frost: new opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat

Ben Frost: new opera The Murder of Halit Yozgat

With The Murder of Halit Yozgat, the Australian composer Ben Frost, known for his very diverse oeuvre of experimental and electronic music, is making his second opera on a dark subject. The true and unsolved murder case at an internet cafe in Kassel, in which young Halit Yozgat was shot twice in the head while five customers were present, turned out to be part of a series of ten racially motivated murders committed by the far-right NSU. A production of Staatsoper and Schauspiel Hannover in co-production with Holland Festival, directed by Ben Frost.


01.05.2022 (WP) 
Staatsoper HannoverBen Frost (stage dir.), Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover, Florian Groß, Maxim Böckelmann (mus. dir.), Hanover

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15.06.2022 (NP) 
Staatsoper HannoverBen Frost (stage dir.), Niedersächsisches Staatsorchester Hannover, Florian Groß, Maxim Böckelmann (mus. dir.), Holland Festival, Muziekgebouw, Amsterdam

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About The Murder of Halit Yozgat

On April 6, 2006, Halit Yozgat was shot dead in an internet café in Kassel. Members of the so-called National Socialist Underground were identified as perpetrators. The case files of the criminal proceedings on the NSU murders were then blocked for 120 years, and after protests for 30 years. The trial was disappointing for Halit Yozgat's relatives. The NSU ruling has not clarified important questions, including the dubious role of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

In his opera, the Australian composer, producer, sound artist and director Ben Frost takes the NSU murder of Halit Yozgat and how society deals with its consequences as an opportunity to consider our cultural value system. In this commissioned work by the State Opera in interdisciplinary cooperation with the theater, questions are asked about nothing less than our collective historical responsibility. Is there justice when the truth is constantly being reconstructed?

Ben Frost

The opera refers to research by the independent research group Forensic Architecture. In a counter-research to the official investigation into the murder of Halit Yozgat, all available information was compiled as precisely as in a scientific experiment: the replica internet café as the scene of the crime, statements by witnesses, images, noises, videos, login data. The space-time sequences of the seven witnesses, reconstructed to the second, allow for different event variants. This not only answers questions, but above all raises new ones. What exactly happened? And what are the consequences of doubts about how we deal with social values such as justice, questions of guilt and responsibility?

In his work as a composer and director, Frost is constantly looking for new ways to combine music and performance. In The Murder of Halit Yozgat, a production in the Game Changers seriesfrom the Staatstheater Hannover, in co-production with Holland Festival, he combines acoustic and electronic sound with spoken word and song. The mainly German libretto is written by Daniela Danz. The fact that Frost's experimental sound art goes much further than just music is particularly effective in the theatre. He said of the making of his previous opera: 'I don't make the voice of a string quintet more important than the hiss of a snake or the crack of ice.' According to NRC, with that performance, Frost realized 'how rich the possibilities of musical theater are, not only to move people, but also to get under one's skin and really throw it off balance.'

Text: Staatsoper Hannover

Photos: Staatsoper Hannover / Benjamin Hardman, Salar Kheradpejouh