Old Zurich bourgeoisie, decaying biographies, local money. An old lady can look back on a life untroubled by material worries: in the 1930s she lived with her family in a stately estate on the Zürichhorn – today’s Museum Bellerive. The flight to New York postponed her fortune and perspectives. A superhero from Villabassa fought a dragon. The Tonhalle burst apart. A salmon was slain by the marble pillars of his longing, the new Zurich before his eyes, suffocating in quality of life. A nostalgic trip without a past.
The radio play was developed for as a theatrical radio play installation and later broadcast by Radio SRF2.
The material is based on life memories of members of a branch of the author/director’s family. His father’s cousin grew up in what is now Museum Bellerive. Her father, Julius Bloch, a Zurich silk merchant, had the estate built together with his American wife Dolci Sulzberger. The Bellerive is a stately estate with separate entrances for servants, a large marble staircase for social gatherings and a men’s salon for cigar-smoking pillars of a nervous society. Because of the war, the Jewish family moves to America, where they later make their home and turn their wealth into condominiums and lifelong security. But the father and homeowner returns to Zurich in the early 1940s, where he dies within its walls overlooking the lake. The 90-year-old grand lady still lives in New York today. Her money saved her from the gainful employment of which she succinctly says: “I tried it once, but I didn’t like it”.
The radio play, which could be experienced as a performance at the Theater der Künste in combination with a live performance by Peter Liebmann (Andreas Liebmann’s 84-year-old father) on the harpsichord, developed from the memories of the 90-year-old exiled Zurich woman, as well as other voices around this family, a fictional portrait of old Zurich money and a society shaped by this old money, which has been transformed by political and economic mutations into today’s Zurich, which chases the world’s best quality of life between cosiness and big business.
The protagonist of the radio play is Nikola Weisse, winner of the Swiss Theatre Prize.