Karmina Šilec

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Karmina Šilec

Karmina Šilec is a world known conductor, author of music theatre projects and artistic director of Carmina Slovenica and Choregie.


Director

… the grandiosity of the staging rivals what one might see at the Met… an overwhelming aural and visual experience… Šilec presents her arcana with a heavy dose of beauty and wonder…
(Theatre Mania)

… vibrantly theatrical, genre-blurring, unusual in its techniques, eclectic in its musical style and politically charged… one hopes CS will become a regular visitor to New York…
(The New York Times)

… breathtaking and equally relevant multimedia suite… a sonically thrilling, disquieting premiere for Karmina Šilec’s Toxic Psalms...
(New York Music Daily)

… striking new work by the rabidly talented Carmina Slovenica… the ensemble and its director, Karmina Šilec, have created haunting images…
(The New York Times)

…  the musical answer to Bausch's groundbreaking concept of Tanztheater… provocative pastich …
(Opera World)

 … theatrical singing at top level … beautiful voices and an extraordinary theatrical instinct ... not only their voices, but also their bodies are their instrument. Extreme discipline in larynxes and limbs and the excellent musicality give you goose bumps. In this sense they brought theatrical singing to the top level. That will again be the merit of Šilec …
(Trouw) 

 ... overwhelming and unconventional music with no plot, where from beginning to end you are on the edge of your chair. The vocal theater of artistic director Karmina Šilec built artfully choreographed scenes around fantastically sung music … intense performance of the choir and the rhythm of the show were really good ...
(NRC Handelsblad)

… a theater which aims for perfection in any discipline … in audience you cannot do much more than almost breathless look and marvel so much quality ...
(Opera magazin)

…  polished theatricality to the mix as well as an ambiguity all too rare in American performance … all add up to an evening that’s bracing yet, perversely enough, enchanting…
(The New York Times)

... jaw dropplingly gorgeous singing ... strikingly staged by Karmina Šilec … 
(New York Observer)

… haunting theatrical moments …
(Wall Street Journal)

… innovative theater company Carmina Slovenica … intellectually challenging Toxic Psalms …
(France Press)

… at times somber and meditative, at times visceral… incredibly talented young women of Carmina Slovenica remind us that a collective can also be a positive power… with its high-contrast details, Toxic Psalms at times resembled a more budget-conscious Robert Wilson production... the performance’s message was often submerged by the incredible visuals…
(New York Music Daily)

… some listeners will recall the raw feminine energy of "Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares," while others will see parallels with the work of Heiner Goebbels and David Lang. All will be moved by the show’s condemnation of men killing for the glory of their psalms…
(The New Yorker)

… all of the material is conveyed with commitment and precision from this highly skilled vocal ensemble. In addition to making her cast sound extraordinary, director Šilec makes great use of the depth of St. Ann's Warehouse...
(Theatre Mania Review)

… a visceral slide into darkness…
(The New York Times)

… the choice of music spanned the centuries and the globe and was all the more fascinating, and relevant, for the ambitious and striking arrangements… and while it wouldn’t be exactly accurate to characterize the movements of the choir as dance – Šilec calls it "choregie" – the choreography was just as ambitious, and amplified the disturbing quality of the performance…
(New York Music Daily)

... Karmina Šilec’s choral opera Fauvel is a really interesting, multilayered and a very aesthetic work ... captivating beauty... veritable Theaterspektakel with immense beautiful images...  ... Fauvel is like a bulky work of art in a museum that refreshes, encourages us to think, distresses and embraces at the same time. And that is the reason why it continuously invites the viewer to new observations – if one only allows it... 
(Basellandshaftlische Zeitung)

... It was a great success, the premiere of the choir opera "Fauvel" ...
(Aargauer Zeitung)

 … a nightmarish collage on the theme of religious violence is the fascinating opening presentation of the annual music theater Rotterdam Opera Days …                                                                         
(Volkskrant)  

… Šilec’s direction toyed with crowd dynamics on both the conformist and nonconformist sides with a coldly sardonic humor that offered momentary respite from the lingering bleakness of the music…
(New York Music Daily)

... Why, then, did I leave St. Ann’s smiling? Because "Toxic Psalms" proves that with even the most somber material, there can be delight in sheer virtuosity, in the intensity of live performance and in being introduced to a group one hopes will become a regular visitor to New York…
(The New York Times)

… music theatre which … is becoming a category, a phenomenon and a measure on its own…
Večer

… her projects are included in the Slovene art pantheon of the unforgettable…
… the synaesthetic effect of individual elements of this comprehensive work of art particularly intensive and original... 
Večer

… dramaturgical arc of the performance is incontestable, and the suggestiveness of scenes underlined by incredible abilities of women-actors, performers, finest interpreters… 
Večer

... a complex stage composition where it is possible to analyse a very real happening with all the symbolic and allusive subtones, or give yourself over to the totality of the performance and its hypnotic atmosphere. Created by the music, of course…
… Another example of Karmina Šilec’s well thought-out approach to expressive possibilities of music theatre which presents relatively complex subject matters in a way that is suggestive enough, in case this form wants to pull out of the narrow exclusive circles and continue to convince those already convinced, this seems to be the only way…
(Delo)

… that is no longer just a top-notch choir, but a complex collective in which the conductor Karmina Šilec uses the choregie concept to establish brand new interpretative dimensions of the so-called contemporary classical music. Gesture, facial expression, choreography and the dynamics of the performers are mainly in the service of graduating suggestiveness, the images and stage tableaux are never self-sufficient; they are dosed with precision, without causing  distraction or offering misleading emphasis of the substance; there is always and only music in the forefront.
And how extremely diverse and heterogeneous it is; an exceptional sense of combining what appears to be incompatible, culminating into a surprisingly homogenous totality in the end – yet another quality of the conductor...
(Delo)

… with singers of Vocal Theater Carmina Slovenica, it’s artistic director Karmina Šilec and her artistic team, the energy of young actors creates incredible images…
(Theatre - contemporian.net)

... The conductress Karmina Šilec doesn’t "train" the girls only how to sing, but also in free improvisation, in effective short scenic representations, body actions, choreographic configurations and movements. It is really astounding with what agility, body control, precision and speed the girls act – performing, speaking, singing...
(Tanzbau)

... The result of a year-long work of Karmina Šilec on the concept of Choregie – vocal theatre or theatre of voices is reflected in astonishing sound and declamatory appearances of the young girls...
(Erpery Word Press)

… joyous moments of collective energy or anarchy that these astonishing performers shone, and the piece itself really came alive…
(The Telegraph)

… young women are responsible for this outstanding evening, each of them blessed with more than one talent. And how they proliferated…
… In general: professional precision that leaves one speechless. From choral singing, through crystal clear choral speaking, to simple stage movement – individual, in groups, as a whole, with or without props. Therefore it makes sense that their conductor Karmina Šilec no longer speaks about the "choir" or "choral singing" when she speaks about her ensemble, but about "vocal theatre or theatre of voices". And that is of course where the similarity to Heiner Goebbels’s understanding of theatre can be found…
(Neue Musik Zeitung)

… an outstanding scenic project in fourteen tableaux…
… Karmina Šilec with her girls and excellent guests certainly knows what she is doing, what she wants, what they all know, what they can do and offer…
… Carmina Slovenica extremely well prepared, as always…
(Delo)

… a highly stylised and aestheticized inscenation…
(Večernji list)

… subtle symbiosis of words and music…
… Šilec once again surpassingly demonstrated a refined sense for paralleling of artistic spaces, the present and the past, the sacral but also the agnostic, and even the atheistic…   
(Večer)

… Precision, elegance and suggestive power, without a single redundant ounce. It is hardly possible to experience something as suggestive as music and poetry which create in a person a perfect illusion that one has eluded death and that one’s spiritual dimension, interwoven in music and verse, will live forever…
(Primorske novice)

… incredible sensibility with the right measure of how musical and scenic elements are incorporated into a convincing corpus... Pleading for Words thus creates a mystical atmosphere without mystifying, reaches a hallowed status without allegory; the demanding repertoire was chosen without artistic hermetism, dramatic effect reached without being pathetic, set and costume design perfected without pompousness or even exhibitionism…
(Delo )

… presented a remarkable imaginative version of a contemporary cultural ritual which does not function merely as an aesthetic-utopian remake of similar past projects but also as a full-blooded synthesis of mythic, historical and current templates. There can hardly be done more; its final impact is now up to the sensibility of the audience…
(Delo)

… The performance by Karmina Šilec with the story about female souls Rusalkas accentuates scenic dominance; it was certainly very impressive…
… the choral spectacle was beautiful…
(Basellandschaftliche Zeitung)

… it is all harmonious, precise to such an extent that we can talk about a professionalism of the choir Carmina Slovenica, which in Rusalke, a performance rewarded with audience’s ovation, explores music-scenic relationships …
(Bündner Tagblatt)

… Karmina Šilec deserves exceptional credit for persistent and ambitious research of the new as well as the evoking of the old, for her convincing expeditions to the new sensing of the sounds, vocal techniques, different value hierarchies in the arts, and above all to decomposition of the stiff understanding of serious music. Serious? This terminology itself causes endless problems and the project Spixody finally "settled accounts" with this "unfortunate" seriousness. It was about time…
(Večer)

... we were witnesses to a top 'execution'...
(Dnevnik)

… The projects prepared by the conductor Karmina Šilec with 'her' choir Carmina Slovenica are becoming clearly recognizable: they are noted for being a combination of set design and movement elements as well as a carefully considered choice of repertoire, always round-up into a narrative whole, deriving mostly from contemporary creativity…
… Šilec’s choir is always stunning, this time in its absolute concentration and condition…
(Dnevnik)

… All singers have brilliantly performed with vocal and sound changes. Outstanding thereby was the attitude which went beyond music-technical skilfulness and changed into a deeply felt theatre parade, particularly when performing compositions openly flirting with humour and irony. It was an evening which brought in the most radical modernist breeze through humour, and thus proved that there is room in Slovenia for playful music quests...
(Dnevnik)

...  through a wide and diverse repertoire of compositions the ensemble sails with a masterful execution which requires wide technical range, clear diction, perfected extended singing techniques and full control of movement and acting abilities. … Not to slip on wet floor, the ensemble holds on to skilful setting and minimalist set design, as well as dedication, rare on Slovene ground when it comes to contemporary music.
Despite the demanding material they use lightness, playfulness and humour to reveal the historical nature of radical cuts with tradition.
The ensemble actualizes the relationship between word and music by introducing it into the space; with ‘music theatre’ performers not only brilliantly interpret the source material, but also go beyond the interpretative level and enter their own creative space...
(Delo)

… triumphal interpretative tours of our ensembles…
… sensitive and innovative conductor Karmina Šilec, determining new milestones of Slovene vocal performing practice… 
… closely approached the aesthetic ideal of a sublime angelic choir…
(Večer)

… A lecture in perfectionist execution and meaningfully chosen program. Karmina Šilec proved that it is possible to put on stage this kind of avant-garde that already borders academism in a splendidly entertaining form which could shortly be marked as neo-avant-garde vaudeville…
(Delo)

… Usually, actors are certainly not top singers, as is the case with all the performers of Stripsody.
Stripsody, however, equals and surpasses theater performances even in acting skills. There is simply absolute precision in performing – of voice, of mimic and of gestures. Movement in space is well thought out, well thought out are the costumes, hair styles, make-up – all together reminds us of an avant-garde cabaret soirée. Stripsody is in this sense – and also in all senses listed above – perfect…
(Večer)

… The profiled, refined, musically, choreographically and theatrically perfected performance evoked in us a mystery and magic of ceremonial festivities of indigenous beliefs…
… the superb presentation…
… The collective experience undoubtedly offers a deep respect for others who at the same time recognise possibilities for their own development. It is especially in the latter where the greatness of Karmina Šilec’s projects and the choir Carmina Slovenica lies…
(Primorski dnevnik)

… the stage became a place of colourful choral drawing ...
… making use of stage surface, use of lights or light ambience, choreography; at the same time, judging by the vocal execution, she remains a perfectionist…
… performance is best described as virtuosic: flawless intonation, crisp sound, brilliant, with refined movement (harmonious, resembling dance perfectionism in concluding moments), free-flowing, almost auto-hypnotic – defined by an energy flow of an utterly disciplined and ambitious team…
… the choir's performative skills are unique in Slovenia, therefore so impressive (the auditorium was in a state of delirium)…
(Delo)

… The grand stage of Cankarjev dom, open only to the "great ones", hosted once again the Carmina Slovenica choir, performing a major choral project by the author and conductor Karmina Šilec, Vampirabile. An artistic performance, a choral theatre from darkness to light. It almost resembles a Dante-esque Hell performed by a choir, featuring the magic wand of the conductor and artistic director Karmina Šilec…
(Večer)

... A programme without a moment of boredom, since it was jagged with contrasts, directed and choreographed all over the grand stage of Cankarjev dom, as if on a singing meadow full of colours, play of light, with shuddering sounds of music which flew toward a unified all-encompassing lyricism. The singing, direction, choreography and movement passing from singing with warm statics towards rhythmic precision, all coming together as a professional work on the highest level of stage efficiency.
… a vocal stage for connoisseurs and experts…
… We have not seen so much singing clarity and stage beauty in Cankarjev dom for a long time…
(Večer)

… An expressive metastasis, thrillingly and intensively spread into the silence and scream of the scene in the unique mythological perfection. Not just calculated, but precisely and consciously set under the choral and stage light. That was choir theatre turned inside and towards the scream outside, a straight line from a folk legend to the magic line of shocking naturalism. An achievement measured in all segments with the most perfect choral and scene messages…
(Večer)

 

… new sounds, new vocal techniques and means of expression, showed the point to which the voice can be dominant, with a dose of intellectual humor, is pronounced the most experimental play of the 12th  Teatarfest...
(from justification from award when Karmina Šilec’s project  Spixody by Ensemble Kebataola was pronounced the most experimental performance of the 12th Teatarfest Sarajevo festival in 2009.)

… Karmina Šilec with her fresh and original approach to choral singing has been enriching our cultural space for a number of years …
… She has reached one of the most convincing music-interpretative pinnacles with the project Vampirabile, performed with the choir Carmina Slovenica. Vampirabile represents a perfected choral message in all segments, consisting of work by several contemporary composers, brilliantly connected in a dramaturgically rounded narrative. Precise singing discipline, youthful energy, music-scenic ingenuity and artistic persuasiveness all distinguish the performance which spreads, creepily and intensely, into a silence and a scream of musical divination…
(from justification of Karmina Šilec receiving the Prešeren Fund Award)

 

 

 

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