La niña helada I The frozen little girl I Das vereiste Mädchen

La niña helada 

The frozen little girl    I     Das vereiste Mädchen

Chamber opera - Scenes I-VIII


Patricia Martínez, music; Mariano Saba, libretto.

Premiered: July 30, 2016

Staatstheater Darmstadt

International Music Theatre Competition Darmstadt

48 Ferienkurse für Neue Musik - Internationales Musikinstitut Darmstadt (IMD), 2016


"An equally reduced as concentrated musical language, also a scene that sets ethical, scientific and human issues related in a few minutes" Johannes Bruckner - Wiesbadener Tagblatt, Germany  


The frozen little girl was built up inspired in recent true events about the youngest person that was cryogenically preserved, a Thailand two years old child whose family decided after her death, to preserve the body waiting uncertain future scientific development. 

Death was not given access to that body, condemning also the soul to the fear of loss by people alive: a divided girl between transcendence and human "purgatory" of the scientific experiment. The idea of a single limbo, which poses a specific conflict: innocence held by the ambition of science, always at odds with the inexplicable. Since then the struggle between acceptance and denial of pain and death as natural and indecipherable transition from one state to another, suggested a series of tests at both the libretto and the musical composition.

Thus, in terms of the story, an attempt was made to establish areas of language rooted in the reality and other territories linked to the multiple meanings and even elusive logic of an extra- everyday sense: the disabled passage between life and death as friction sound that leaves traces on the words and music; a game of echoes linked to the clash between the tangible and the invisible.

The writing of the script was try to find a consistent formality with two spaces that the argument proposed: first, the life zone and secondly, the hereafter, connected to childhood from the anecdote used as a trigger. Childhood, in this sense, was a thematic stimulus which can also produced incidences in the formal search: as Giorgio Agamben points out, childhood must link with the “speechless” (in-fante) moment of the life, which can be seen as a border between the ineffable and half-said, babbling, echolalia suggesting at times barely able to assert itself. Writing sought to produce not only semantic but also visual stimuli in the process of musical composition: hence speculate a narrative organization not only at the semantic level but also at the visual one (the graphic space of the word in the page of the libretto; text’s saturations and cuts; calligrams; mixture between drawing and letter).

In these hypotheses of creation was also proposed a series of conceptual axes that motivated for the realization of a joint work between drama and musical composition:

A) The opposition between death as a natural phenomenon and crystallized -or symbolized- death (the Fates, which have become in the afterlife bureaucracy, managers whose earthly double could be the scientist logic, the bureaucracy of positivist-technical field).

B) Poetry versus prose: the lyric in its contrast to the “hard” prose. The contractual or technical mood: the science of cryogenics as metaphorical representation of scientific language, which rejects the existence of an “other side”.

C) Resonances with myths and diverse works: from the poetry of Garcilaso and Dante to Monteverdi's Orfeo and L'íncoronazione, or even links with modern and diverse readings (Lorca, Plath, Beckett). The question of spiritism and literature as the avatar of mediumnity, of listening to the “other” voices in the mirror relationship between the sound and the mute, the obvious and unseen. 

D) The game between technological/scientific dilemma and the “humanization”, in which science or technical tools are used for the purpose of “spiritual ties”, through materials of instrumental transcommunication in the sound and visual scene; while the instrumental and vocal organic in the scene are opposed to electroacoustic sounds that displayed in the sound level.

E) The tension between past and future: the projection of a timeless play in which the present could be decided. Using of classical languages and musical materials of greater historical cogency as a way of making a metaphor about the past and its legitimizing force around the symbolic codes of death.

All these ideas -which had served as triggers for search around the suggested axis of this project- was propounded as areas of communion and constant exchanges between the textual dramaturgy and musical composition.


REEL (Excerpts)


Aki Hashimoto
Susan Lee
David Pichlmaier
Isabelle Rejall
Katja Stuber

Staatstheater Darmstadt Ensemble

Conductor: Johannes Harneit

Reggie: Dirk Schmeding, assistant: Sebastian Gühne

Customes: Christoph Ernst

Dramaturgy and Production: Katharina Ortmann

Sound: Sebastian Franke

Pictures: Vincent Stefan

Camera, Video: Patricia Martínez



Chaya Czernowin , Will Humburg , Sergej Newski , Peter Ruzicka , Thomas Schäfer, Karsten Wiegand

Press reviews


-Im Zirkus der Klangartisten, Echo Darmstadt, August 1, 2016.


“Only Patricia Martinez tells a story - of the distress of a parental couple (Isabelle Rejall, David Pichlmaier) who wants to freeze the body in pain of their child after a deadly disease. Argentinian writes haunting vocal lines, suggests sometimes the character of a Requiem, illustrates the fight against the passing of time with pithy hours blows, and let the child cry for help. An equally reduced as concentrated musical language, also a scene that sets ethical, scientific and human issues related in a few minutes”  
    Johannes Bruckner - Wiesbadener Tagblatt, Germany

 - FERIENKURSE FÜR NEUE MUSIK, Klingende Selbstversuche, FRANKFURTER RUNDSCHAU, July 31, 2016.  

"La niña helada" by Patricia Martinez (43, Argentina) were smooth as pretty surreal scenery office-domestic normality gone through with his worn, slightly retrospective sounds. In truth, it should go to parents who leave their child in order to freeze for a later possible cure” 
— Bernhard Uske, Frankfurter Rundschau, Germany 

-       Neues Musiktheater in Darmstadt, FonoForum, Germany, July 12, 2016. 

programa darmstadt 2016 la niña helada.png

Mariano Saba, libretto


Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1980. Doctor in Literature by the Faculty of Philosophy and Literature at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). Assistant researcher of the National Commission for Scientific Research and Technical Studies (CONICET) in Hispanic Literatures area.

He graduated from the Playwriting Career of the Metropolitan School of Dramatic Art of Buenos Aires, directed by Mauricio Kartun, where also had teachers like Alejandro Tantanian, Ignacio Apolo and Luis Cano.

He trained in acting with Agustín Alezzo, Julio Chavez and Ricardo Bartis, among others.

His monologues were on Identical, a Theater for Identity show directed by Daniel Veronese in 2010, where he also served as an assistant and adviser in dramaturgy. He was one of the authors of Lying -about Ada Falcón-, experimental opera whose writing was coordinated by Alejandro Tantanian for the Experimentation Center of the Colón Theater (CETC), with music by Lucas Fagin and staging of Ariel Farace.

Along with Andrés Binetti wrote the Argentinian Amateur Trilogy(48/33/10), constituted by Cold Motherland, After The Air and At the Service of the Community, work for the first part were winners of Theater Projects in the International Festival of Buenos Aires 2011, a special mention in the National Dramaturgical Competition of the National Institute of Dramatic Theatre that same year, and the XXI Theatre Award (given by Group of Argentinian and Latin American Theatre Studies at the University of Buenos Aires) and Theatre World Award as Best Drama (granted by the Department of History and Theory of Drama in Rojas Cultural Center, University of Buenos Aires). Likewise, the third part of the Trilogy was nominated for his dramaturgy to Florencio Sanchez Awards in 2013, granted by the Theater House in Buenos Aires. All these texts were represented during subsequent years in theaters as Anfitrión, Apacheta and the mythical Teatro del Pueblo.

For his play Madrijo received the Germán Rozenmacher New Playwriting Award, also during the International Festival of Buenos Aires in 2011. Logic of the shipwreck, meanwhile, won first place in the National Dramaturgical Competition of the National Institute of Dramatic Theatre in 2012, and was released on Haroldo Conti Cultural Center in Buenos Aires. That same year he received the First Prize of the University Playwriting Competition "Roberto Arlt" (National University of Art / Argentores) for The Flight of the Fly.

In the Buenos Aires International Festival of 2013 was part of the jury for the German Rozenmacher New Playwriting Award. That same year his text Interns (co-authored with Andrés Binetti) won Competition of Short Plays "Applause for Inclusion", organized by the Ministry of Social Development of the Presidency of the Nation. The following year he also wrote with Andrés Binetti Lifting iron, which won the Competition “Our Theater” organized by the Ministry of Culture of the Nation as a tribute to the historical movement of Open Theater. The play was premiered that year in the Picadero Theatre.

In 2014 his text This too shall pass obtained ARTEI Award for Independent Theatre Production (given by the Association of Independent Theater and the Argentinian Association of Theatre Entrepreneurs) and was premiered at the Teatro del Pueblo in Buenos Aires, directed by Andrés Binetti. That drama was again nominated for the XXI Theatre Award.

He served as assistant director of Ricardo Bartis during the working process of The Idiotic Machine, play that has participated in the Second Ibero-American Theatre Festival in Montevideo (Uruguay, 2014), the Asian Arts Festival (Gwangju, South Korea, 2015) and the International Festival of Buenos Aires 2015.

He has taught acting and playwriting at the Rojas Cultural Center of the University of Buenos Aires and the Sportivo Teatral -led by Ricardo Bartis-, among others institutions.

All his works were published in various editions such as the Rojas Book Collection, the Theatrical Papers of the National University of Cordoba, or Inteatro. Some of them were translated into English, French and Portuguese.