Carmen C. Kruse e Manuel Zwerger
Summer 2021

VR-BANIA is the first stage of the musical theatre series European Kitchen Encounters, which aims to create performances from a period of residence and in dialogue with local communities. The performances are then presented together with those created in a different community to encourage understanding and solidarity across Europe based on an everyday theme such as cooking.

VR-BANIA investigates the relationship between a community and its favourite dish through the creation of an immersive multimedia performance, involving choreographic action and musical composition in a VR video experience. The artists aim to highlight the different aspects that intertwine cooking, culinary tradition and the meal as a social moment in an open dialogue with the community, creating an immersive space within which the gestures and sounds of cooking are transfigured into dance, song and music. VR-BANIA was born from a series of interviews and dialogues with the citizens of Verbania: invited to talk about their favourite dish (or typical of the place), describing its preparation in detail, the people involved found themselves evoking their relationship with cooking in a more general sense. The audio, video and poetic material was then reworked by the artists: together with the interviews, the live cooking of a yellow risotto with sausage forms the basis of a new piece of theatre-music that the spectators enjoy in Virtual Reality. This immersive performance experience allows the audience to enter into a musical and communal exploration of a shared identity.

A project by  Carmen C. Kruse, Manuel Zwerger // direction, dramaturgy and choreography: Carmen C. Kruse // video, set & costume design: Ariane Stamatescu // original soundtrack: Manuel Zwerger // with Anna Piroli & Leo Morello // with support for the creation of Judith Selenko, Ariane Stamatescu, Schloss Unterloibl, & Dr. Elke Piskernik.


Carmen C. Kruse is an Austrian-German opera director. Today her work focuses on choreographic creation and performance. She analyses the creation of meeting places, creating a series of works that explore the relationship between art and community.

Manuel Zwerger is a composer from South Tyrol. He studied composition at the Innsbruck Conservatory and the Royal Academy of Music, Århus. In his work he is committed to interdisciplinary collaborations and exploration of sound, scene, movement and stage.
They have worked at important theatres and festivals in Europe and around the world (Osterfestspiele in Baden-Baden; Deutsche Oper Berlin, Parc André Malraux Lehár Festival Bad Ischl, Kammeroper Wien and Musikverein Graz) and received important prizes and scholarships (Akademie Musiktheater heute, Hilde-Zach-Kompositionsförderstipendium – Innsbruck).

Ph.  Paolo Sacchi