World War I began with the poets, inviting young men in the name of duty and country to feed themselves into the insatiable maw of Verdun, Isonzo, and Ypres. Rattensturm (a storm of rats) is a film of an opera as beautiful history lesson, telling the story of the sinking of the battleship Szent István, while the rats sing of the glories of death and destruction. Be careful who you listen to.
What is Verdun for the soldiers of the Western Front,
The Carpathians in the North, and the Isonzo in the South,
so is the Strait of Otranto for us sailors.
The enemy attacks in the first half of 1918
resulted in big losses for the German and Austrian U-boat flotilla
which is why the fleet command under Rear Admiral von Horthy
decided on a general attack in June 1918.
Since a large counterattack by the enemy fleets in\NAncona, Brindisi, Otranto, and Valona is expected,
the entire Austro-Hungarian navy will participate.
This attack against the barrage of the Strait of Otranto\Nis set for dawn on the 11th of June, 1918.
The fact that the ships will sail separately during the moonless night
and hide in secret Dalmatian bays during the day
should make any observation by the enemy impossible.
We Austrian Catholics are free of vengeance,
but we are also of Austrian soldiers' blood.
Serbia has taken part in this unseemly murder
of our beloved heir to the throne.
The glorious history of our army
shows they are serious, and that Belgrade should beware.
Blood of our blood,
poured over us,
a mortar that binds us.
For the first time I see you rising,
the faintly rumored, remote,
incredible God of War.
How thick among the peaceful fruit
has terrible action been sown,
now suddenly mature.
Just yesterday it was small, in need of nurturing,
but now it stands tall as a man:
tomorrow towering over all.
For the fiery God rips people out by the roots,
and the harvest begins.
And when War came out from the gate of the Earth,
Unstoppable, without feeling,
He was received with joy!
The voices of the people, bright as bells,
Swinging their fists
Under the clouds, the song
Of the great cleansing in the empty, hollow land.
Strong as steel in the image of eternity,
The narrow-minded spirit is reinvented
From that sound, already heard.
Mythical and old and biblical and great and completely new:
Great as the song for the glory of people and honor and God.
But the war did not care; he went
and left the gate behind him, and took the land
And whispered, sardonically, of all the young flesh
Presented to him on the altar.
Rats, to me! To me, rats!
The entire nobility is present.
A solemn ceremony for the Szent István
In the shipyard of Fiume.
This battleship is the last of the four new\Nmiracle weapons of the Imperial and Royal Navy.
Length: 151 meters
Width: 27 meters
Draft: 8 meters
Water displacement: 20,000 tons
Crew: 1240 men
Armament: 12 guns 30.5 cm, 12 guns 15 cm
25 smaller guns
2 torpedo tubes
Belt armor of chromium nickel steel
28 cm thick, reaching 1.4 meters
Above and below the water line.
We want to glorify war -
the world’s true hygiene
the destruction of the anarchists,
dying for a beautiful idea, and
the contempt of woman.
doing one’s duty
It is the virtues of this movement
which make us strong
Because at first call
We are ready to fight
We did not know,
How beautiful and fraternal war is.
Death is no longer terrifying!
Life's goals do not tempt us.
Those who die or who sacrifice all they own,
experience real life and are truly rich:
This is an experience, unknowable
But as real as anything
A primordial power
Compared to which the highest love
We fight the old, static, decorative, effeminate,
precise, sensitive ideal of the aesthetes,
those who despise action.
Europe is infected by a disgusting, socialist, anti-patriotic,
Blessed are those who die for carnal earth
Provided it was in a just war.
Blessed are those who die for a plot of ground.
Blessed are those who die a solemn death.
Blessed are those who died, for they have returned
as primeval clay and primeval earth.
Blessed are those who die in a just war.
Blessed is the wheat that is ripe and that which is harvested.
We are convinced that we cannot decisively progress into the future
without the personal hygiene of daily struggle
and without the collective cleansing of
bloodshed every ten years.
Showers of blood!
Majakowski, Vladimir Vladimirovich!
Now that every once-peaceful family,
through a brother,
or a plundered house,
is involved in the great cacophony of war;
now by the burning embers of all the libraries,
the prophecy of a new beauty
can be ignited.
Poets, painters, sculptors and composers!
As long as this war lasts, leave our
verses, brushes, chisels and orchestras aside!
Bloody spectacles of genius have begun!
Today we admire nothing more
than the great symphonies of shrapnel
and the mad sculptures
that our inspired artillery
has formed from the masses of our enemies.
It would be my greatest happiness
as an officer, against our enemy,
to be allowed to ride!
To triumph in France
especially in France!
who we chastise because we desire it so,
For their arrogance began all our misfortune.
Germany's victory will be a paradox
indeed, a miracle
A victory of the soul over the majority
A belief that is contrary to all reason
Germany is firm and sure
In this belief.
This is the beginning of the miracle.
One thing is clear:
One thing is clear:
We find ourselves
in the first act of
a world tragedy.
Stand still, you!
Fingers long; long fingers
Left ear lower!
Chin to the sash!
The more the steel glows
The better the sword
The more the heart bleeds
The greater its value
Hofmannsthal, Hugo von!
Never was the beauty of Austria
than in August 1914
and never was the splendor
Of millions of hearts purer
Enemies, watch out!
Now we come boys!
With bold tongues
Let us announce the war.
We know hate!
From our masses
With fluttering flags
In the shadow of our ancestors
We set out
We leave to fight.
And you stay at home?
We fight with singing
with cheerful sound
The sacred battle
We do not fear distress
We do not shy away from death.
Enemies, watch out!
For we are the hard,
the strong young army.
We fight gladly
We die blissfully.
For more than 900 days, the crew has been killing time.
Since they were commissioned, they have waited\Nin vain for their deployment.
But then Sunday!
What a Sunday! The day longed for:
June 9, 1918!
At two o'clock in the afternoon, as the chief on duty,\NI receive the command for steam
and go with my crew into the boiler and engine rooms.
Much, very much is to be done, before a great ship of the line,
a miracle of technology, is cleared for battle.
After the ship's screws are tested for 20 minutes\Nand all boilers are at full pressure,
I announce the order at 10 o'clock in the evening:
With the command\NForward!
The anchor chain is removed from the buoy ring.
A steam-winch pulls the end of the heavy chain on deck.
"Engines forward slow"\Nrings the telegraph in the engine room.
The screws begin to turn,
the powerful ship's hull vibrates softly
and she heads for the harbor exit.
All roads lead
to black decay.
Under the golden branches
of night and stars
The sister’s shadow sways
through the silent grove,
To greet the ghosts of heroes,
their bleeding heads;
And the dark flutes of autumn sound softly in the reeds.
O proud grief!
Their brazen altars
The hot flame of the spirit today
nourishes a great pain,
The unborn grandchild.
And when War entered his second year,
He looked upon the Earth and was content,
the once so luxuriously-blossomed divine garden
Where sprouted the seeds of evil
Man against Man.
Hate was in the eyes of the displaced,
Eating deep into their heads
Until it disfigured their face.
In rivers of blood,
fear waded knee-deep
and the altar of hope floated on.
In the wake of the Szent István,
steams our sister ship Tegetthoff.
And, cruising in front of us, keeping lookout,
is the destroyer Velebit.
But at the harbor exit adversity awaits:
They forgot to open the net barricades,
built at the beginning of the war
for protection against submarines,
with triple barrier net lines.
The call goes out: Stop engines!
As a result, the fleet loses precious time in the dark.
The Szent István heads out
with an hour delay.
A corpse is at the edge of the highway.
In the valleys and fields, black and
thoroughly decayed cadavers,
lie in strange attitude,
knees stretched into the air,
or an arm leaning against the embankment of the trench;
(I am a beautiful butterfly)
A horse carcass with guts scattered on the ground;
A body, covered with lime and straw, earth and sand.
In vain, the wind struggles, blowing over the plain,
to sweep it all away.
Do you know what Freud says?
Freud says:\NDeath can no longer be denied;
You must believe in Him.
People really are dying,
no longer individually, but in great numbers,
often tens of thousands in one day.
It seems so random
whether a bullet hits one person
but the other may easily be hit by a second bullet,
the accumulation of which leads one to believe\Nthat this cannot be accidental.
Life has certainly become interesting again,
It has regained its full meaning.
Every sailor does his duty with zeal.
The lost time must be made up.
However, some of the coal is damp,
a thick smoke rapidly develops,
and the pressure in the boiler increases slowly.
We increase speed
trying to reach the protective bay of Tajer,
an island near Zara, before dawn.
I watch over all the details:
now by the boilers, now in the engine room.
And now the steam pressure remains unchanged,
everything seems to be going well.
of religious feelings,
for the fatherland,
for the imperial house,
devotion to duty,
overcoming selfish limitations,
to the orders of the leader,
A shot resounds,
With a dull roaring echo.
Forgive the Italians?
I will never.
And I understand the anger
In the eyes of these soldiers,
Who will take revenge.
Our fathers went out into the field
Against Italians, Russians and Serbs,
In their fight for Kaiser and fatherland
To win or die.
The man is glowing red,
this is the color of life,
but he lies dead in the lap of a woman
who is white;
This is the
color of death.
This experience of women,
This terrible, cruelly extraordinary time.
Man has become man again
and woman is back to being a woman.
Of course, it is easy for both to go back to their old places.
We have again inequality and mutual admiration
instead of the previously mistake idea
of equality and equivalency.
Give victory to the flags of Austria
and Germany's brave armies!
Let our fathers’ glory
Return to us!
Not just since yesterday, but always, the true\Nconception of the State is foreign to the Jew,
because he, like the woman,\Nis wanting in personality.
his failure to grasp the idea of true society\Nis due to his lack of free intelligible ego.
With laurel wreaths we soon
crown the Emperor's head!
We give victory to the flags of Austria
and Germany's heroes!
With laurel wreaths we soon
crown the Emperor's head!
We give victory to the flags of Austria
and Germany's heroes!
As midnight approaches,
we detect overheating in the main starboard bearing.
Immediately the necessary corrective action is taken,
and improvement is seen,
through intensive lubrication - cooling and easing the screws,
the temperature of the bearing is brought within acceptable limits.
However, this reduces the ship's speed to 14 knots,
which is a disaster.
It was intended to be in the hidden bay of Tajer\Nto repair the damaged main bearing during the day
and in the evening to drive into the straits of Otranto.
Even our heartbeat is borrowed!
We are all strangers in this world,
And everything we grow attached to dies.
And when the War entered his third year
what they were doing.
They robbed each other of life and gave up their own
And they did it well
War was content, and death,
The Gray Eminence,
laughed his silent laugh,
before whose ugliness even God had to hide His face.
I am war
said the War
I have always been here!
I am happy
said the War.
And he said it,
even though he felt lonely.
He knew too well
That He was loved nowhere on Earth,
At no time.
It is a dark moonless night.
It is 2:30 in the morning.
Dead tired and soaking wet
I go to my cabin.
Szent István is an hour late.
While I try to find some sleep,
the stokers fire up the boilers.
But it is now clear that the sanctuary bay of Tajer
Will not be reached until six o'clock in the morning.
The fleet will be in a dangerous place
and no longer under cover of darkness.
A risky affair under any circumstances,
Caused by an accumulation of the problems already mentioned:
the delay leaving Pola
the harbor barrier opened late
the overheating of the main bearing of our ship,
the reduction in speed,
The burning of damp coal,
and the discharge of dense black smoke.
Perhaps the nearness of death enlightens me. God wants this.
I am a worm, but through God I become a man.
To teach us, the Lord God
has sent this scourge of war,
to convert his wicked children
and to refine those who are good.
However, to reap this godly pastoral reward,
it is absolutely necessary
that we address the people often,
if only briefly.
Otherwise people cannot judge the great events
which arrive in unprecedented abundance,
in the light of faith.
They overlook the exciting news,
offered to them daily,
the thoughts of God. They do not understand
the language of war, of the Lord of Hosts.
We can show the priestly notion
which inspired God, Emperor and Fatherland
and everything noble.
The people would then become well aware
of the glories of religion.
The invisible will be given flesh and bones,
the unassailable, the unpredictable, the imperceptible.
I challenged the mines,
the cannon, the fire, the gas,
the machine guns,
the whole anonymous, demonic,
systematic, blind machinery.
I will now challenge a man.
Eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
It is just the two of us.
With fist, with knife.
I jump on my adversary.
I strike a terrible blow.
His head is hanging by a thread.
I have killed.
I, the poet.
Killed like one,
who wants to live.
It is 3:15.
Gradually the dawn arrives.
With two boats: MAS 15 and MAS 21,
anti-submarine motorboats,\Ni.e., motor boats against submarines,
the Italian corvette captain Rizzo
turns to the island of Premuda,
returning from one of his countless patrols.
But a squadron with the two largest battleships
Of the Imperial and Royal navy
Plows through the water nearby.
He does not notice.
Suddenly the Sicilian sees something:
thick clouds of smoke rise on the horizon.
Gradually the silhouette of a battleship appears out of the dark.\N(Look here!)
The captain immediately acts.
With stealth, the MAS 15 approaches the formation.\n(Captain!)
The torpedo boat, a silent hunter.
Captain Rizzo takes his attack to our starboard side.
(Captain Rizzo ... aim your torpedoes here!)
At full speed he breaks through the security line of our guard ships
and although the attacker is discovered and bombarded\Na few seconds before he can fire,
(Here! ... Here!! ... Here!!!)
the dashing captain succeeds heroically.
Targeting the enemy, the MAS fires both torpedoes.
(Here! ... Here!! ... Here!!!)
Blessed are those
who disdain sterile love affairs
and remain virgins
for this first and last love!
Blessed are they,
protested against the war,
but today accept its supreme necessity,
and do not wish to be last,
but rather to be first!
Blessed are the young men,
who hunger and thirst for glory,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall quench a splendid flow of blood,
and dress a wonderful wound!
Blessed are the pure of heart,
Blessed be those who return with victory;
for they will see the young face of Rome,
the brow re-crowned by Dante,
Italy’s triumphal beauty.
Suddenly two monstrous detonations,
The ship trembles in all its joints
and keels to starboard.
Hurriedly I throw myself down the path
to my alarm station in the boiler rooms,
the first one - aft.
Opening the thick-walled bulkhead door,
hot steam strikes me. There is a deafening noise.
down the guide bars of the iron ladders,
surrounded by the tremendous noise
and the hissing of the rushing waters.
gadji beri bimba glandridi laula lonni cadori
The crew is paralyzed with horror,
Angry, I scream at them.
gadjama gramma berida...
The experienced officers help me bring the
fearful boilermen to their senses,\Nmany of whom are reservists.
With flickering fear still in their eyes,\Nthe stokers rush back to work.
ombula taka biti solunkola...
Iron discipline helps during these critical moments.
The telephone and signaling devices ring constantly.
Orders, commands, and messages rush.
In the context of European weakness
Although only a few minutes has passed since the torpedoes,
we now want to shit in assorted colors,
the ship already has a list of 10 degrees
and water flows over the floorboards.
and bedeck the artistic zoo with the flags of every consulate.
Immediately I report the facts through the mouthpiece to the ship's command.
We are circus directors whistling amid the winds of carnivals,
The pumping center immediately takes countermeasures;
in the middle of the monasteries, bawdy houses
all pumps are switched on.
I am the beginning of the world\Nrealities
While still giving the necessary commands,
by being the end.\Nsentiments
I receive from the boiler room a fatal report: water is pouring in.\Nrestaurants
Running forward, I see more of the same.
Ho Ho Bang Bang
A quick investigation reveals that both torpedoes
have hit the ship below the two boiler rooms.
I report this to my command
and receive word from the aft boiler
that the water is rising rapidly.
Captain Rizzo turns and manages to escape.
Hang all the yids!
Despite our bombardment,
both Italian boats escape at high speed, undamaged.
And when the War was in his fourth year,
a great discomfort spread in His guts.
What was alive
had become tired
Tired not only of further life
Tired of commanding and killing
Tired of obeying and wasting away
Men lying in lonely trenches
pushed away their rifles
And longed for the embrace of real women.
Women cried for their men in lonely beds
And pointed with their fingers
At the drunken, roaring monster,
The fires of some boilers, already flooded,
are extinguished with a roar.
All pumps are ordered to focus on the front boiler room.
Everything depends on keeping the fires going.
We need steam for the pumps,
Only this can save us.
How beautifully the rockets illuminate the night
If you visit the front, do not forget
to come to the fire line at night
and watch the German rockets.
They have a white plume of pale flame
visible above the no-man’s land,
and then the white bursts open
and turns green,
the green changes to blue,
the blue shatters and drips down as a purple stream.
It is like the end of a beautiful world.
Meanwhile, the ship's turbines have been stopped,
to allow for the setting of the collision mat.
The maneuver is difficult because of ship’s listing,
the ropes are caught on the keel-roller,
and it seems to take forever.
I attend a great feast
illuminated by a flash as bright as day.
It is a feast that treats the Earth.
She is hungry and opens her long pale mouths
The earth is starving,
and this is her Balthazar’s feast,
In the front boilers we heat up a hellfire.
We need steam for the pumps and dynamos.
Boiler operation to be maintained in all circumstances.
I lie all night on the barbed wire that protects the hill.
I count the bodies.
They hang on the thicket of steel,
winding themselves around the cut wire.
Meanwhile the aft boiler room is completely flooded,
the rivets clatter from the bulkhead wall.
Through the seams, masses of water rush in.
Hanging between the fence posts,
like thieves badly nailed to the cross,
they wriggle like animals that have become entangled in a net.
The leaks are stuffed with canvas,
tarpaulins, blankets and scraps
in a makeshift way.
To stop the bulkhead wall bursting, it must be stiffened with beams.
They have no eyelids, no lips.
I see them staring with their naked eyes.
I see their bared teeth.
Due to the increasing list,
the boiler lines and oil pumps function poorly.
Add to that the ringing\Nof the signaling devices from the bridge,
a witch's cauldron!
I see blood dripping from the wood
and the steel.
It clots, turns black,
a viscous ropy substance
that covers the fence slats.
No more dew in the world,
For the readily
is more captivating,
than the trenches
and their romance.
At about 4:45 I receive from my chief,
who is in charge of managing the pumps,
the terrible news that due to the ingress of water
the flooding is increasing ever further.
And so, it is understandable,
that every godfather and every godmother
would give to their godchild
a special present:
a visit to a model trench
at the amusement park.
A lifelike model of the trenches
with its shelters,
'and wire entanglements erected in front of them,
over which one would ...
the overloaded pumps
cannot cope with the immense masses of water.
They work harder and harder;
the water penetrates even higher.
At the end, there are three gases:
the green cross, which attacks the lungs,
the yellow cross, which damages the skin
and even penetrates leather,
and the blue Cross,
which permeates the gas mask's air filters.
To make matters worse, after another 10 minutes
the lighting fails
the dynamos are flooded through a break in the bulkhead.
I have not eaten in seven days
I shot a man in the face.
My shinbone is devastated by lice bites.
Soon I will be twenty-one years old.
Darkness in our hell.
Too much for the crew’s nerves.
Wailing and cursing, they force past me,
crowd the iron ladders and want to go up.
When I’m drunk,
I’ll plant my fist
in those pasty faces.
Rage is my hymn.
Where I scratch myself,
a bright blood runs out.
My beard sprouts like
young garden cress.
I am able to prevail over the fearful.
Emergency lights cast gloom in the chaos.
And so I take my seed in my hand
A god drowns in a sludge-filled pond,
And I shit my legacy on the wall.
Almost certain death before us,
we are up to our knees, then our hips in water.
The stokers must each be held by two comrades
as they feed the boiler fires;
A hero’s grave,
The sale of truly interesting
In Germany and Austria-Hungary,
a representation of a hero's grave,
reproduced down to the last detail,
and given to hard-working men
as a trophy.
I bark commands and yell hoarsely
to give myself courage.
The staff officers shout,
the crew screams over the roaring noise
to overcome their fear of death.
painless, the hero's death is painless
the warrior drops down dead painless
pain does not reach the head painless
a bullet in the head paralyzes the brain painlessly
to ancient gods is a hero’s death for the fatherland painless
the most beautiful gift is falling in battle painless
the path to the heaven’s gate is dominated by soldiers
free admission to heaven for soldiers
without distinction of rank, age, gender
The Master recognized
That people cannot be trusted
Neither good nor bad
And he decided:
I can create the perfect soldier
The original son of war
Generated and born out of my guts
My creature, his father, the War, surrendered
In fidelity alone and obedience
No doubters and no hesitation
Born of pride and ambition
To be the image of the Father for all time
The child of war
Courageous, clever, capable of enthusiasm
and quick learning
Willful and malleable
Without the inhibitory
of the grownup:
The child par excellence!
And behold, it was indeed a child
A being like you and me
Destined to drown the earth in woe and fright.
I, the brave Paul,
Was always good
And obeyed my parents'
I avoided bad company
was an exemplary student
and have, for myself and others,
prayed most earnestly.
With God's help,
I have become a capable blacksmith
and a good man.
Now begins the bitter end,
the death agony of Szent István.
The ship is already listing over thirty degrees.
The starboard side of the upper deck is a meter deep under water.
Torrents are rushing through redoubts and hatches into the interior.
Before I went to the front,
I went to confession
and received Holy Communion,
and then carried out a series of heroic deeds.
Praying, wailing, cursing people surround me.
Following my example, all the men loosen the laces of their shoes
and prepare lifejackets.
Discipline, preserved until now,
Staying longer in this inferno
would be madness.
Although the flesh
was hanging from my hands,
and my whole body
was torn by the terrible wire,
Through my action, surmounting a barbed-wire fence,
hundreds of Russians
were taken prisoner.
There is a terrible struggle for the two narrow iron ladders;
the weaker recklessly repelled by the stronger,
I do not feel the blows to my hands and my head,
as I throw myself against the other men.
Floor by floor,
a battle presses on over the fallen.
Separated from my unit and left alone,
I spot the Italians on the Isonzo front,
I toss hand grenades at them
and so hold the position
against superior enemy forces.
The bulk of the crew have already jumped overboard.
I climb up the steep deck in bare feet to the port railing.
The ship begins to capsize.
and slide like on a giant rolling barrel
and fall over the mussel-coated keel into the sea.
Half of my forty-person crew does not reach the deck in time,
while those remaining are covered over
by the capsizing ship.
After hospital care,
restored and ready,
decorated several times,
and strengthened with the holy sacraments
I have returned to the Isonzo front,
and - of course - after
a new heroic act,
I am severely wounded.
The wreck remains keeled-over for about 5 minutes,
which gives enough time to escape the suction of the sinking ship.
Swimming on my back I still see about twenty men
running desperately back and forth on the keel.
The ship raises and lowers a few times,
presumably due to a sudden release of weight
or explosion of the boilers.
Like a drowning monster,
powerful jets of water spray out of the bottom valves.
Whoever has lived a good life,
God helps even when dying.
So God has allowed me, his dear Paul,
just before my death,
and in time to receive Communion,
to awaken from my fevered coma.
With the bow forward,
the propeller and rudder are the last seen,
as the hull disappears in the depth.
It is 6:10.
The graveyard of the sea has - over 85 men,
and four officers -
With the words: Jesus, I lived for you,
a brave fighter.
for God and Fatherland,
I closed my faithful eyes to this world.
the everlasting reward for my good life,
and death for my fatherland.
The waters had devoured the most modern battleship
of the Imperial and Royal navy.
How different was the launching in Pola!
weighed over the spot
where formerly had been the Szent István.
Empty was the heart
Blind the thought
He was as dead
As what he had created.
The day came
Where there was nothing more to kill
For the earth was as empty as his eye.
Screamed a empty mouth:
I've made the world into something to be eaten.
Take me now, your child
And eat me, as my life is meaningless
I do not like to be alone.
And the eternally voracious father
Took pity and ate
his own child.
I want night and darkness,
what surrounds me
is burned away forever,
and what lives in me
I want complete oblivion,
where there is no wind,
where there is nothing.
released February 18, 2019
Libretto - Peter Wagner
Conductor - Alexei Kornienko
Angie Mautz - Karl Mohl
Nadine Zeintl - Lord of the Rats
Michaela Khom - Rat I
Marilene Novak - Rat II
Martin Ganthaler - Rat IV
Michael Uhlir - Rat V
Sebastian A. M. Brummer - Rat VI
Bernd Lambauer | Chista Mäurer | David McShane
Michael Paumgarten | Nadia Petrova | Dietmar Pickl
Karin Riessner | Waltraud Russegger
Elena Denisova - violin
Gulyás Nagy György - viola
Alenka Piotrowicz - cello
Lukas Aldrian - percussion
Kun Sang Lee - keyboards