Liebes Leid und Lust
(Love's Misery and Lust)

Texts by Irène Némirovsky
read by Claudia Michelsen
and Sylvester Groth

arranged by Gerhard Ahrens

'When would one stop to fight, to maul each other, and start to want to be kind to each other?'
Irène Némirovsky

Irène Némirovsky was one of France's great authors in the time before the Second World War. Born in Kiev in 1903 as the daughter of a Russian banker, she and her family relocated to Paris during the October Revolution. She became the star of the Parisian literary scene overnight when her novel David Golder was published in 1929, and a celebrated author in the 1930s. When Germany occupied France in 1940, she and her husband and her two daughters were forced to flee to the French provinces. As a Jewess, she was banned from publishing her work; she was arrested in July 1942 and died at Auschwitz only a few weeks later. Long forgotten, Némirovsky's works have only been rediscovered in the past few years.

The reading features various scenes from Irène Némirovsky's novels: In Les Feux De L'Automne, she draws a vivid portrait of Paris in the years from the eve of the First to the beginning of the Second World War. The genre piece Fire in the Blood, on the other hand, provides deep insights into life in the French provinces in the 1920s and 1930s. The reading from the author's rich body of work is completed by two excerpts from Deux, a psychogram of a married couple suffocated by the mundaneness of everyday life after their initial wild passion. In a language that is sophisticated yet also evokes powerful images, Irène Némirovsky describes the fine line between the greed for life and the fear of death of the 'jeunesse dorée' after the First World War.

Her exquisite, profound portraits of human motivations make Claudia Michelsen a performer who can truly bring women in borderline situations to life in an adult way. At the theatre, she has worked with directors such as Heiner Müller and Frank Castorf. She has also appeared in numerous film and TV productions, including Germany Year 90 Nine Zero by Jean-Luc Godard and The Tower by Christian Schwochow, a performance that won her an Adolf-Grimme-Preis television award. She has starred as one of the Magdeburg-based detectives in the popular long-running TV crime series Polizeiruf 110 since 2013. In the past few years, she has also appeared in the TV series Ku’damm 56, 59 and 63.

Sylvester Groth is one of the most renowned character actors to perform in the German-speaking countries. His characters are profound, his performances intense. He has stood on all of the great stages and has worked with renowned directors such as Peter Zadek, Klaus-Michael Gruber and Frank Castorf. His most recent film work includes the series Dark, Deutschland 86 and Deutschland 89. In the cinema, he has appeared in the literary adaptations The Weekend and Naked Among Wolves, for example. He has played Joseph Goebbels in Dani Levy's My Führer as well as in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds, winning a Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in the latter. He has also received various other awards such as an Adolf-Grimme-Preis television award and the prestigious Goldene Kamera film and television award.