Skip to navigation Skip to main content

Telegrams from the Nose


Within the framework of the

red bridge project

Introduction by

Lydia Rilling in the presence of François Sarhan
18h30 | FR




Recommended from 14 years on

t +352 470895–1


Adults: 20€
Young people: 8€
Kulturpass welcome

Following on from Ursonate at the Philharmonie at 7pm, this exquisite double-bill marks the opening of the red bridge project which will run its course over the entire 20-21 season.

Telegrams from the Nose, a collaboration between South-African artist William Kentridge and the French composer François Sarhan, combines animated films, shadow theatre, live music and expressionist pantomime, highlighting with humour and cruelty the relationship between Soviet communism, scientific frenzy and artistic modernity. These three motifs gather round the figure of the “New Man” and its reversed side, the accused and sacrificed man.

An abundance of musical, visual and textual material intertwines with speed, metaphysical absurdity and montage conceived as shock art, in a reinterpretation of 1920s modernism. Scientific ravings about women, propaganda and fragments of the Stalinist trials, subtly alternate with exquisite burlesque poems by Daniil Harms, a Russian master of linguistic derision. In this tribute to the history of constructivism or Russian futurism, as well as to the ideals, which supported them, Kentridge conceals neither his fascination nor his turmoil; the result is a performance both vibrant and intensely melancholic – if not seized with terror...

By bringing together a small group of musicians combining electric and beggar’s instruments (“Stroh” string instruments amplified by a horn), François Sarhan has built a unique sound, both seductive and miserable, a ferocious style that seems to evoke the nightmares of the young Shostakovich.

For the occasion of the red bridge project, William Kentridge and François Sarhan continued their collaboration, creating a first part for the Telegrams, called O Sentimental Machine, picturing man’s relationship with technical prowess, as seen through the eyes of Russian revolutionaries of the 1920s and 1930s.

Video, drawings: William Kentridge
François Sarhan

Ensemble Ictus

Musical direction:
Georges-Elie Octors
Igor Semenoff
Stroh-cello & voice:
François Deppe
Tom Pauwels
Jean-Luc Plouvier
Electronic instruments:
Matthieu Metzger
François Sarhan
Alexandre Fostier

Part One:
William Kentridge, François Sarhan: "O Sentimental Machine", new piece commissioned by Philharmonie & Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg

Part Two:
William Kentridge, François Sarhan: "Telegrams from the Nose"

Produced by:
THE OFFICE performing arts + film Rachel Chanoff, Laurie Cearley, Olli Chanoff, Lynn Koek, Catherine DeGennaro, Gabrielle Davenport, Noah Bashevkin, Erica Zielinski, Diane Eber, Chloe Golding, Kyla Gardner & Bruna D’Avila

In partnership with:
Quaternaire - Paris