Madness. It’s a popular literary and operatic themes, but seldom would you get to talk to an artist who is trained to cure madness.
Helena Mamich leads a double life: she is both a doctor at a psychiatric ward in Berlin and a soprano spatializing in classical contemporary music. As a singer, Helena has achieved enough even for someone who doesn’t have a parallel life as a doctor– she has premiered numerous works by contemporary composers, recently debuted in a new opera at the Bethanien Theater in Berlin, collaborated with the German band Black Needle noise on a crossover track, and in the year 2019 she won the Večernjakova Domovnica prize awarded annually by the Večerjni list daily newspaper for the most successful musician of the Croatian diaspora and as if that wasn’t enough, Helena has recently published a book of political haikus in her native Croatian. One of Helena’s big missions is to educate the public about psychiatry and one of the ways she would like to do that is through a short opera based on her experiences as a psychiatrist (she’s already written the libretto.)
Helena and I talk about how psychiatry and classical contemporary music complement each other, how important understanding someone’s culture is in determining whether they have a psychiatric condition, how every discharge letter from a psychiatric ward could be a libretto, as well as one thing Helena says should be taught in conservatories but isn’t.
Helena’s website and blog: https://helenamamic.com/
Helena’s Instagram: @helenamamich
Music (all music on this episode is interpreted by Helena Mamich):
G.Scelsi -Lilitu: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIUhF7EOMxs
Black Needle Noise: https://soundcloud.com/doctordiva/just-one-more-day-nocturnal-vocalise
Gerhard Stäbler: blindflug: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GyY7ub_TYU&t=69s
Ivana Lang: Macji pir (Cat’s wedding): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0p-GdFrgJjw