Lydia Lunch presents her own version of Carmen’s doomed love triangle at the Deutsche Oper’s Tischlerei space.
Best known as part of New York’s “no wave” music scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lunch has since gone on to work as a writer, actor and motivational speaker. Now, she hits Berlin with a revised version of her multimedia autobiographical work My Lover the Killer. The so-called “industrial noir opera” is part of the Deutsche Oper’s “Ambushed from Behind” programme, which invites outside artists to collaborate on new work related to one of the mainstage performances – in this case, Carmen.
How does a no wave icon end up performing at the Deutsche Oper?
They called me. [Laughs] I’m not a fan of opera in general; I’m a fan of the madness, lust, politics, perversion that is housed within the operatic form. You know, the psychodrama. My life sometimes feels like an opera. And, when they proposed Carmen, which is a love triangle where she gets murdered, I thought of My Lover the Killer, a love triangle where I do not get murdered. It just made sense to put those together. Both are about love triangles – only mine is a true story.
They weren’t already aware of My Lover the Killer?
No! No! Not at all. It was the right time, the right place, the right situation, and we may never perform it again. Certainly we won’t perform it again in conjunction with an “ambushed” Carmen, which means we incorporate some of the musicians or some of the text—I mean we’re still working on exactly what we’re going to incorporate into it. Since My Lover the Killer is set to video, and has a narration that takes a specific amount of time, we’re working on ways to incorporate certain themes either lyrically or musically, and probably bookending My Lover the Killer with some of Carmen’s music.
What’s your opinion of Carmen, the character?
I admire anyone, especially a woman, who understands, as Carmen says, that “love obeys no rules” and throws themselves fully into it.
This ex-lover of yours almost killed you back in the 1970s, and before that you were sexually abused as a child… You must have strong feelings about the current debate on sexual harassment.
Obviously, I’ve been screaming in the face of patriarchy for 35 years and accusing the patriarchy of fucking over the entire fucking female planet; I’m just having a little problem wrapping my mind around such a broad brushstroke between typical flirtatious, aggravating behaviour and rape. There is a huge divide.
If you knew the value of your pussy, maybe you wouldn’t be crying when men try to grab it.
But there’s surely criminal behaviour short of rape, behaviour that should be punished.
I’ve been saying “Annie get your gun” for decades; I’ve been talking about a million menstruating murderesses storming the White House for years, semi-sarcastically, and asked how we’ve gone from sacred prostitutes to corporate whores. What I don’t get is: If there are 100 women all knowing what’s going on, why does it take 20 years for white, privileged, Hollywood harlots to co-opt a movement that was started by a woman of colour to deal with domestic violence, which is very different? I know I’m treading a difficult line. And I’m not slut-shaming, I think you have every right to be as fucking slutty as you fucking want. As a matter of fact, if you knew the value of your pussy, maybe you wouldn’t be crying when men try to grab it and you don’t like it – instead, you’d grab ’em by the balls and twist. It’s that simple.
Ambushed from Behind: Carmen (My Lover The Killer) Feb 17, 20:00 Deutsche Oper (Tischlerei)