In 2011 it was decided to transform the Danish Queen Dagmar's death in 1212 into a celebration. This decision is now to be materialised in the musical and historical Dagmar800 Festival, which will take place in the historical town of Ribe next week. The event will include exhibits, concerts, lectures, a medieval market with historical entertainment and various activities for children and adults. The activities are to put into perspective the myth surrounding Queen Dagmar with an ambition to strengthen our time's historical understanding.
In Anorexia Sacra Line Tjørnhøj gives her own view on the cause of the early death of Queen Dagmar. Even in the poetry of the Danish folk songs has the cause of her death been lost. Dagmar was – according to Tjørnhøj – characterized by the extreme asceticism, which took a hold on many of the strongly religious women of the medieval period. Tjørnhøj claims that Dagmar starved herself to death, as Clare of Assisi, one of the most influential nuns at the time, is known to have done.
Line Tjørnhøj has written the libretto of the opera on the base of notes and letters from Clara of Assisi to Queen Dagmar’s younger sister, Agnes of Prague, and intertwined them with modern web correspondence between anorexic girls. In the opera, the meeting between spirituality and physicality – amongst other in the shape of very different vocal expression – insists on an alternative to the self-imposed coercion, both in the medieval context and in a modern sense.
Anorexia Sacra will be performed on Saturday, May 26 at 4 pm at Ribe Cathedral.