There are collective myths that constitute humanity’s cultural DNA. They unite religious beliefs, historical events, social phenomena and individuals’ personal experience to a literary form that has fascinated and inspired artists throughout the millennia, encouraging creative dialogue. One of these myths is Homer’s Odyssey, which tells of the wanderings of one of the heroes of the Trojan War. Odysseus is a rational protagonist who masters the most difficult situations with cleverness, intelligence and subterfuge – while at the same time preparing the ground for future calamities. In the context of his wife Penelope, who is waiting at home, Odysseus’s wanderings seem, in a way, like a flight from a shared happy life. Thus, this myth deals with one of man’s most existential themes: the threats posed to relationships between men and women.

Generations of writers have grappled with Homer’s epic poem and presented their own version of the Odysseus legend. You could say they help form the genetic code of European cultural history. In 1997, the composer and cellist Thilo Thomas Krigar, together with the dramaturge Peter Krumme, have linked Homer’s verses, performed in his day as musical recitation, with texts by Ovid and Friedrich Schiller, Cesare Pavese and Nikos Kazantzakis. Since the musical performance of the ancient Greek verses has not been handed down, Krigar composed music of his own – atmospherically dense, archaic and modern at the same time. This music, performed by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker, forms a foil for a literary journey through the Odysseus mythos from its origins to today. Christian Brückner and Corinna Harfouch will read the texts.