Events | Screening & Discussion: Hans Werner Henze – Music, Friendship, Game

Crescent Theatre | April 15, 2024 | 6:00 PM (PDT)

Screening of the documentary Hans Werner Henze – Music Friendship Game followed by a Q&A with director Nina di Majo.

HANS WERNER HENZE – Music Friendship Game

This documentary is a journey through the life of Hans Werner Henze, one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. Born in 1926 in Guetersloh, Germany, the son of a school teacher, Henze was acclaimed for his many operas, symphonies, ballets, and for a commitment to political art.

As a youth in Germany, World War II left indelible marks on him through his lifelong hatred of Nazism. Henze’s father was killed on the Eastern Front, and Hans was conscripted into the army in 1944, and ended the war in a British prisoner-of-war camp. His anguish was worsened by his sense of shame for the Holocaust. Furthermore, he felt he was ostracized and abhorred as a homosexual in an intolerant society.

After the mass emigration of German artists and intellectuals who started new lives elsewhere, Hans Werner Henze left Germany in 1953 and moved to the Italian island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples. He remained in Italy for the rest of his life.

The documentary reconstructs his artistic journey and recounts his longing for freedom and joy through his liberating creative process that was entwined with his personal suffering.

Director Nina di Majo met Henze in her youth at her family’s home in Naples. She poetically highlights Henze’s long friendship and fruitful collaboration with Ingeborg Bachmann through their letters.

Working with her as librettist, Henze composed the Operas Der Prinz von Homburg (1958), based on a text by Heinrich von Kleist, and Der Junge Lord (1964). The film also includes interviews with Gioacchino Lanza Tomasi, (musicologist), Sir Simon Rattle (conductor), Alessio Vlad (composer), and Francesco Antonioni (composer), et al.

"Music is a means of communication and understanding," he said, "a means of reconciliation.”

For information, please contact us at or visit

Admission $10 with RSVP here.

Crescent Theatre
100 N Crescent Drive
Beverly Hills , 90210

6:00pm Reception
6:30pm Screening
9:30pm Discussion with director Nina di Majo

In collaboration with Italian Institute of Culture Los Angeles and VATMH Los Angeles.

Nina di Majo was born in Naples, Italy. She is an actress, director and producer. She teaches screenwriting and linear audiovisuals at several Universities in Italy(NABA,IULM, UNISA, Accademia Belle Arti of Naples. After having worked in opera theater and theater as assistant director Nina started to work in Cinema as assistant director of Mario Martone.

Nina wrote and directed several short and films.
“Beck to the wall“ ( 1998) won the David di Donatello award for best

Italian short film, and the Golden and Silver Sacher Award at the Nanni Moretti's Sacher Film Festival.

“Autumn”,( 1999) was selected at the Venice Film
festival, Chicago International Film festival, Nice film Festival(USA) and by other international film festivals .
“Winter”,(2022),presented at the Berlinale Film Festival, won
the International Press Award for Best Actor( Fabrizio Gifuni),and
the International Cinematographer Award. “Winter” was also the
only Italian candidate for the European Award at the Hollywood Film Festival.
In 2009 she wrote, with Francesco Bruni and Antonio Leotti, and directed a comedy, “Weddings and Other Disasters”.

In 2017 she wrote and directed the documentary Hans Werner Henze : Music, Friendship, Game., that was presented at the Madrid Film Festival and other Festival, screened at the Mother Contemporary Art Museum in Naples, and distributed on TV by Sky Classica.

Nina did several documentaries and video- sound performances on Art installations by Peter Greenaway, Anish Kapoor, Umberto Manzo, Natalie Sylva, Hans Werner Henze, Nanni Balestrini .
Nina lives in Milan.

Crescent Theatre
100 N Crescent Drive
Beverly Hills , 90210
Admission $10 with RSVP here.



Go back