News – Ring Award

Introducing to you: the RING AWARD jury

Who will be the winner of the RING AWARD? The RING AWARD jury decides on that as well as on the Prize of the Province of Styria. Nora Schmid has taken over the chair of the RING AWARD jury. She studied in her home city, Berne, and in Rome. After that she gained first stage experiences in classical singing and was a music theatre dramaturg at various theatres. From the season 2015/16 Nora Schmid has been Intendant of Oper Graz.

Peter de Caluwe is Directeur Général at Théâtre royal de la Monnaie/De Munt in Brussels. He started his theatre-career in the field of public relations (e.g. with Gerard Mortier). Later he became the director of artistic administration at Netherlands’ Opera in Amsterdam and in 2005 Peter de Caluwe was appointed General Manager of La Monnaie|de Munt.

Another jury member is Serge Dorny. He is the Directeur Général of Opéra de Lyon. Dorny studied in Gent and worked for several years as music dramaturge under Gerard Mortier afterwards. 1989 he became Artist Director of the Flandern Festival. In 1996, he took up the position of Artistic Director of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and since 2003 he has been General Director of the Lyon National Opera House.

Roland Geyer, who is the Intendant of Theater an der Wien, studied mathematical economics and cultural management. He worked for several years as an IT analyst and later founded and led various festivals. From 2006 he has been Intendant of Theater an der Wien.

The stage director Peter Konwitschny has been staging productions in all German-speaking countries since 1980. He interpreted Handel’s and Wagner’s operas innovatively and won various prizes and awards e. g. he was five times honoured as “Stage Director of the Year”.

Another jury member is Dietmar Schwarz, the Intendant of Deutsche Oper Berlin. He studied in Berlin and Paris and started his theatre-career as a dramaturg. Later he was Opera Director in Mannheim and Basel and from 2012 he has been Intendant in Berlin.

Peter Spuhler is Generalintendant of Staatstheater Karlsruhe. He studied in Vienna and worked as a stage director and dramaturg. He has already been Intendant in Tübingen/Treutlingen and Heidelberg. With the season 2011/12 he became Generalintendant in Karlsruhe.

The stage designer Katrin Lea Tag was the winner of the very first RING AWARD competition. After she finished her studies, she has been working all over the world – from German-speaking countries to London and Los Angeles.

Albrecht Thiemann is an editor of the opera-journal “Opernwelt”. He first studied church music and worked as an organist. Later he assisted at a Jewish Human Rights Organisation in New York City, taught at several universities and wrote texts as a free-lance cultural journalist. In 2004 he started working at “Opernwelt”.

The Intendant of Oper Stuttgart is also part of the jury: Jossi Wieler studied in Tel Aviv. He started working as a stage director and won several prizes e. g. the German theatre-price DER FAUST. Since 2011/12 Jossi Wieler has been Intendant of Oper Stuttgart.

Katrin Lea Tag, Bühnengestalterin © Monika Rittershaus

Katrin Lea Tag: First winner of RING AWARD and now jury member!

Katrin Lea Tag was still studying when she took part in the very first RING AWARD competition. And: Together with director Holge Müller Brandes she won! After that she startet an international career as a costume and set designer. Katrin Lea Tag has worked all over the world – from German-speaking countries to London and Los Angeles. She staged many productions toghether with the directors Dimiter Gotscheff, Michael Thalheimer, Barrie Kosky, Hans Neuenfels und Christiane Pohle. You can see her design: „Adriane auf Naxos“ at Staatsoper am Schillerplatz, „Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald“ at Deutsches Theater, „Carmen“ at Oper Frankfurt, oder premiering in june „Ödipus – vor der Stadt“ at Schauspiel Frankfurt. This year she is a RING AWARD jury member.

And the three teams in the RING AWARD FINAL are…

It was a long day but now it’s done – tonight, on the Next Liberty stage, three teams have been nominated to compete in the final of the RING AWARD 2017 in June. We congratulate the following winners:

Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D) 

Sergei Morozov  (RUS) / Aleksandra Alekseeva (RUS) 

Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)    

The audience prize goes:

Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)  

A big thank you to all who have helped us and to the team of Next Liberty, who have strongly supported us and made the semi-final weekend into an amazing event!

And now it’s time for more celebrating before we will start our preparations for the RING AWARD on Tour in Styria – more info to come soon on our website or right here on Facebook.

The first day is over – tomorrow is all about who makes it to the final!

 The first day of the semi-final weekend is over, tomorrow the teams will have to give their very best – in front of the RING AWARD jury and in front of the interested audience (entrance is free!).

In the evening the nominations for the final in June will be announced.

Do you have a favourite team? You, dear audience, can also cast your vote on Saturday, January 14th, and thus decide who will get the audience prize! So, ready, steady, go!

There can only be three: the countdown has started!


Suitcases are packed, set design models safely stored – within the next few hours the 11 teams of our semi-finalists 2017 will arrive.

Since 1997, more than 1200 people from 59 nations have participated in the triennial RING AWARD and have competed to be commissioned for a production at one of the stages of Bühnen Graz. Many of them now work successfully in the musical theatre – among the former finalists and awardees are Isabella Ostermann, Tatjana Gürbaca, Vera Nemirova, David Hermann, Tobias Kratzer, or Michael Schilhan, to name but a few.

The semi-final teams will receive a recognition fee and have the opportunity to get the audience prize, and of course one of the three nominations for the final at Schauspielhaus Graz in June 2017.

To be in the semi-final is already quite an achievement. In 2017, almost 100 talented young teams have participated, and only 11 were short-listed. A big hand for all the submitting teams, and especially for those 11 teams that made it to the semi-final! We are looking forward to meeting you and to your presentations on January 14th, starting at 10:30 am at the Next Liberty in Graz!

JANUARY 14th: 10 a.m. - SEMIFINAL

RING AWARD 2017 enters its second decisive phase. 89 teams, consisting of 200 participants from 24 countries, have entered 8th edition of our international competition for stage direction and stage design in the musical theatre. 2017 also marks the 20th anniversary of the RING AWARD. We proudly look back on 581 teams, consisting of altogether 1.239 participants from 49 countries.

The schedule for the semi-final on January 14th and the presentations of the 11 teams is the following:
Starting at 10.00 a.m. exhibition of the 11 set design models

10.30 a.m. – ca. 12.00 noon
.Andrea Bernard (I) / Alberto Beltrame (I) / Elena Beccaro (I)
.Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D)
.Luise Kautz (D) / Lani Tran Duc (F) / Hannah Barbara Bachmann (D)

12.15 p.m. – ca. 1.45 p.m.
.Béatrice Lachaussée (F) / Dominique Wiesbauer (A) / Nele Ellegiers (D)
.Claudia Isabel Martin (D) / Julia Katharina Berndt (D) / Janina Zell (D)
.Sergei Morozov (RUS) / Aleksandra Alekseeva (RUS)

2.45 p.m. – ca. 4.15 p.m.
.Wolfgang Nägele (D) / Hannah König (A) / Isabelle Bischof (CH)
.Jeanne Pansard-Besson (F) / Cléo Laigret (F) / Alice Anselmi (I)
.Morten K. Roesen (DK) / Karin Gille (SWE)

4.30 p.m. – ca. 5.30 p.m.
.Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I)
.Yuliia Zhuravkova (UKR) / Bohdan Polishchuk (UKR)

at 5.30 pm the jury will go into session with the subsequent announcement of the 3 final teams and the winner of the audience award


January 13th: RING AWARD FORUM 7.30 p.m.

On the eve of the actual semi-final, Friday January 13th, we present a panel discussion, a cooperation of “Opernwelt” and RING AWARD: the RING AWARD FORUM.

The round-table discussion will be on the topic “Klangbilder Bildklänge : Neue Medien und das Musiktheater” (“Sound Images Visual Sounds : New Media and the Musical Theatre”). Chaired by Albrecht Thiemann (“Opernwelt”), high-profile participants Markus Hinterhäuser (intendant Salzburger Festspiele), Benedikt von Peter (intendant Luzern Theater), Roland Horvath (rocafilm), Momme Hinrichs (fettfilm), Johanna Dombois (author and director), and Chaya Czernowin (composer) will discuss the interaction between musical theatre and new media.

The round table will be in German.
Entrance is free. Admission is at 7:15 p.m., the beginning at 7:30 p.m.


Next week it’s on: semi-final in Graz


Only a little more than a week is all the time the semi-finalists have left to prepare for their presentations in Graz. After the FORUM on January 13th (find out more about it here) the teams will present their versions of “Don Pasquale” to the RING AWARD jury and an interested audience (entrance is free!) on January 14th, starting at 10:30am.


The semi-final involves a recognition fee for all 11 teams, the substantial audience prize and not least the much sought-after nominations for the RING AWARD final at Schauspielhaus Graz in June 2017.

The jury will be chaired by Nora Schmid, intendant of Oper Graz, and it is no secret that this opera house will award a stage production with stage design at Bühnen Graz also for this 20-year-anniversary edition of the international competition. The excitement rises!


Welcome to the RING AWARD FORUM: Chaya Czernowin

Chaya Czernowin was born and brought up in Israel. After her studies in Israel, at the age of 25, she continued studying in Germany (DAAD grant), the US, and then was invited to live in Japan (Asahi Shimbun Fellowship and American NEA grant) Tokyo, in Germany (at the Akademie Schloss Solitude) and in Vienna. Her music has been performed throughout the world, by some of the best performers of new music, and she has held a professorship at UCSD, and was the first woman to be appointed as a composition professor at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria (2006–2009), and at Harvard University in (2009 and on) where she has been the Walter Bigelow Rosen Professor of Music. Together with Jean- Baptiste Jolly, the director of Akademie Schloss Solitude near Stuttgart and with composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi, she has founded the summer Academy at Schloss Solitude, a biannual course for composers. Takasugi and Czernowin also teach at Tzlil Meudcan, an International course based in Israel founded by Yaron Deutsch of Ensemble Nikel.

“Vital, visceral, wild and undefined as experience itself – can music be that? I have heard such music, rarely, but, it has changed my life. Attempting to work towards it, though, is a difficult balancing act: one must be as sensually sensitive as if one has no skin, while exercising the analytical clarity, precision and focus of holding a surgeon’s knife.”


Czernowin’s output includes chamber and orchestral music, with and without electronics. Her works were played in most of the significant new music festival in Europe and also in Japan Korea, Australia, US and Canada. She composed 2 large scale works for the stage: Pnima...ins Innere (2000, Munich Biennale) chosen to be the best premiere of the year by Opernwelt yearly critic survey, and Adama (2004/5) with Mozart's Zaide (Salzburg Festival 2006). She was appointed Artist in residence at the Salzburg Festival in 2005/6 and at the Lucern Festival, Switzerland in 2013. Characteristic of her work are working with metaphor as a means of reaching a sound world which is unfamiliar; the use of noise and physical parameters as weight, textural surface (as in smoothness or roughness etc), problematization of time and unfolding and shifting of scale in order to create a vital, visceral and direct sonic experience. all this with the aim of reaching a music of the subconscious which goes beyond style conventions or rationality.

In addition to numerous other prizes, Czernowin represented Israel at Uncesco composer's Rostrum 1980; was awarded the DAAD scholarship ('83–85); Stipendiumpreis ('88) and Kranichsteiner Musikpreis ('92), at Darmstadt Fereinkurse; IRCAM (Paris) reading panel commission ('98); scholarships of SWR experimental Studio Freiburg ('98, '00, '01); The composer’s prize of Siemens Foundation ('03); the Rockefeller Foundation, ('04); a nomination as a fellow to the Wissenschaftkolleg Berlin ('08); Fromm Foundation Award ('09); and Guggenheim Foundation fellowship ('11); Heidelberger Kunstlerinen Preis ('16) ;The WERGO CD  Chaya Czernowin: The Quiet  has been awarded the Quarterly German Record Critics’ Award ('16 ).

She is published by Schott. Her music is recorded on Mode records NY, Wergo, Col Legno, Deutsche Gramophone, Neos, Ethos, Telos and Einstein Records. She lives near Boston with, composer Steven Kazuo Takasugi and their son.


Photo: Chaya Czernowin (c) Astrid Ackermann
More information:

Benedikt von Peter (c) Davidroethlisberger Kevin Graber


In the 1st of January edition of Steirerkrone, Graz was referred to as the “epicentre of operatic Europe” – in honour of the 20th anniversary of the International Award for Stage Directing and Design and once again highlighting awardees and finalists of numerous former editions.

"One has to travel through half of operatic Europe to see the works of former RING AWARD finalists. What started off in 1997 as an initiative of the Wagner Forum Graz developed into an internationally renowned competition for directing in the musical theatre. January will witness the semi-final of the anniversary edition. (…)

Tatjana Gürbaca, Vera Nemirova, Tobias Kratzer, David Hermann, Sam Brown, Kerstin Maria Pöhler and, most recently, Verena Schneider (teamed up with Sophia Schneider) – former finalists and winners of this competition successfully direct in Vienna and Zurich, Tallinn and Nuremberg, Cardiff and Antwerp. Within 20 years, this forge of talents has developed into a stepping stone for young artists and an international hot spot. (…)

Not only since the current edition Heinz Weyringer has been able to round up the international who’s who of opera in Graz. The jury (chaired by Nora Schmid and Iris Laufenberg) consists of Peter de Caluwe (intendant Brussels), Serge Dorny (intendant Lyon), Dietmar Schwarz (intendant Berlin), director Peter Konwitschny, Roland Geyer (intendant Oper an der Wien), Jossi Wieler (intendant Stuttgart), Per Boye Hansen (intendant Oslo) and many more. But centre stage (…) are the young artists. (…)

Already on the eve of the semi-final, on January 13th, a forum will be held with prominent speakers: shooting star Benedikt von Peter (intendant Lucerne) and Markus Hinterhäuser, director of Salzburg Festival (...)."

Steirerkrone, Jan 1, 2017, Martin Gasser
Photo: Benedikt von Peter (c) Kevin Graber


January 13th and 14th at NEXT LIBERTY

The semi-final of the RING AWARD 2017 will take place on January 13th and 14th at Next Liberty. 11 teams will compete for their place in the final of the international competition for stage direction and design, which will be held in June 2017 at Schauspielhaus Graz.

The schedule of the semi-final in detail:

On the eve of the actual semi-final, Friday January 13th, we present a panel discussion, a cooperation of “Opernwelt” and RING AWARD: the RING AWARD FORUM

The round-table discussion with be on the topic “Klangbilder Bildklänge : Neue Medien und das Musiktheater” (“Sound Images Visual Sounds: New Media and the Musical Theatre”). Chaired by Albrecht Thiemann (“Opernwelt”), high-profile participants Markus Hinterhäuser (intendant Salzburger Festspiele), Benedikt von Peter (intendant Luzern Theater), Roland Horvath (rocafilm), Momme Hinrichs (fettfilm), Johanna Dombois (author and director), and Chaya Czernowin (composer) will discuss the relationship between musical theatre and new media.

The round table will be in German. Entrance is free. Start: 7:30 p.m.

On Saturday, January 14th, starting at 10:00 a.m., the set design models of the 11 teams can be viewed. From 10:30 a.m. onwards the teams will give presentations of 20 minutes length each.

11 SEMI-FINALE TEAMS present their version of “Don Pasquale”

10.30 a.m. – ca. 12.00 noon

.Andrea Bernard (I) / Alberto Beltrame (I) / Elena Beccaro (I); Barbora Horáková Joly (CZ) / Cornelia Schmidt (D); Luise Kautz (D) / Lani Tran Duc (F) / Hannah Barbara Bachmann (D)

12.15 p.m. – ca. 1.45 p.m.
.Béatrice Lachaussée (F) / Dominique Wiesbauer (A) / Nele Ellegiers (D); Claudia Isabel Martin (D) / Julia Katharina Berndt (D) / Janina Zell (D); Sergei Morozov (RUS) / Aleksandra Alekseeva (RUS)

2.45 p.m. – ca. 4.15 p.m.
.Wolfgang Nägele (D) / Hannah König (A) / Isabelle Bischof (CH); Jeanne Pansard-Besson (F) / Cléo Laigret (F) / Alice Anselmi (I); Morten K. Roesen (DK) / Karin Gille (SWE)

4.30 p.m. – ca. 5.30 p.m.
.Valentin Schwarz (A) / Andrea Cozzi (I); Yuliia Zhuravkova (UKR) / Bohdan Polishchuk (UKR)

at 5.30 p.m. the jury will go into session with the subsequent announcement of the 3 final teams and the winner of the audience award

Total amount of prizes at semi-final EUR 30.000

RING AWARD JURY / Head Nora Schmid, intendant Oper Graz, Peter de Caluwe, Directeur Général La Monnaie/De Munt, Bruxelles, Serge Dorny Directeur Général, Opéra de Lyon, Roland Geyer, Intendant, Theater an der Wien – Das neue Opernhaus, Peter Konwitschny, director, Dietmar Schwarz, intendant, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Peter Spuhler, intendant, Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe, Katrin Lea Tag, set and costume designer, Albrecht Thiemann Opernwelt, Jossi Wieler, intendant Staatsoper Stuttgart



Roland Horvath – rocafilm

Carmen Zimmermann and Roland Horvath founded the film and video production company rocafilm in 2010. Their main focus lies on documentaries as well as video productions for opera and theatre.
Among their work in musical theatre are, for example, the visuals for “Giulio Cesare“, directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier, and for “Dichter zu Gast” at the Salzburger Festspiele, curated by Thomas Oberender. The collaboration with Damiano Michieletto began in 2012 withLa Bohème”, continued with “Falstaff” in 2013 – again at Salzburger Festspiele – and “Idomeneo” at Theater an der Wien. At Salzburger Festspiele they also worked on „La Cenerentola“ with Cecilia Bartoli, the world premiere of “Charlotte Solomon”, directed by Luc Bondy, and camera work at “Cavalleria rusticana / Pagliacci“ by Philip Stölzl. In Venice (La Fernice) they produced animations for the production of "Die Zauberflöte“ by Damiano Michieletto. The same year they also showed their creativity with the Wiener Sängerknaben at MUth Wien for the science-fiction opera Help, help, the Globolinks!”. In 2016 they worked with Alexander Eisenach at Schauspielhaus Graz for the production „Frequenzen“, and on the realisation of “Little Sweep” with Wiener Sängerknaben. They have just finished working for the world premiere of the new opera “Aquagranda”, a commemoration of the flooding of 1966 in Venice, Gran Teatro La Fernice.

Their upcoming productions include „Geächtet“, directed by Volker Hesse, at Schauspielhaus Graz, “Falstaff” at Teatro alla Scala in Milan, and “Rigoletto” at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam.
They produced two full-length documentaries, which brought them to Thailand and India. In “Zwischen Tag und Traum” (Between Day and Dream) (80 min, TH) they portrayed a young woman from Salzburg who works with orphans along the crisis-ridden northern border of Thailand. In their new film “Schwesternherz” (Beloved Sister) (72 min, IND, A) they documented the life of a nun in India who has left the shelter of her monastery 20 years ago and has since then helped women, children, and men to start a new life with her organisation “Maher”.

Roland Horvath, Dipl. Ing, was born in 1981 in Graz. He is a freelance architect, film-maker and video artist. He studied architecture at the Graz University of Technology and the ENSAM in Montpellier, France. Since 2008 he has been media technician at the Salzburger Festspiele, since 2011 Meister für Visuelle Medien (Master of Visual Media). In 2013 he planned a children’s home for a charitable organisation in Northern Thailand, which was opened in 2015.
Carmen Maria Zimmermann, B.A., was born in 1981 in Salzburg. She is a film-maker and camera woman. She studied photography at Kunsthochschule Wien, and digital television at Fachhochschule Salzburg. Since 2007 she has been media technician at Salzburger Festspiele.

Momme Hinrichs – fettFilm 

By combining video with other media the video artists Momme Hinrichs and Torge Møller primarily intend to create multifaceted total works of art which do not merely decorate the stage or exist side by side but instead blend various artistic levels. They develop and realise their ideas, from the initial stage to the final presentation, in close cooperation with directors (e.g. Bernd Eichinger, Doris Dörrrie, Dieter Wedel, Andreas Homoki, Stefan Herheim, David Pountney, Philipp Stölzl, Joachim Schlömer, Sven-Eric Bechtolf, Susanne Linke, etc.) and other artists.
They are now also increasingly responsible for designing entire sets. In addition to the Salzburger, Bayreuther and Bregenzer Festspiele, the two artists have worked with Staatsoper unter den Linden Berlin, Deutsche and Komische Oper Berlin, Wiener Staatsoper, Semperoper Dresden, L’Opera nationale de Paris, Hamburgische Staatsoper, and many other small and large European theatres.
At the beginning of 2006, Momme Hinrichs and Torge Møller drew a lot of attention with their installation “Signs Fiction”. It was displayed on the media-façade “SPOTS” at Potsdamer Platz in Berlin, where, among others, artists like Jonathon Monk and Terry Giliam exhibited their work. 2010 and 2012 fettFilm did the Show-Design for the famous German musician. Marius Müller-Westernhagen. fettFilm (responsible for set design and projections) together with director Mara Kurotschka and the ensemble of Dombass Opera Donezk, won the Taras Schewtschenko Price 2014 for a production of “The Flying Dutchman”. In autumn 2014 fettFilm gave their stage debut with Verdi‘s „Giovanna d’Arco“ at Oper Bonn.

Johanna Dombois, opera director and author, born in Berlin in 1967.
Experimental music theatre and media art in collaboration with the London Young Vic, the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, De Nederlandse Opera/ Het Muziektheater Amsterdam, Staatstheater Kassel, Fraunhofer Institute for Media Communication and the ZKM Karlsruhe. From 2001-05 Artistic Director of the Stage for Music Visualisation at the Beethoven House in Bonn. In 2006 PhD (tutor: Peter Wapnewski) with a dissertation on Richard Wagner's music-aesthetic dramaturgies.
The main focus of her work is opera as an autonomous art form: engagement with visual and graphic music, installation, object and mask theatre, the historical avant-gardes and New Technologies, i.e. the experimental within the repertoire and the possibilities of merging traditional and contemporary, linear and non-linear media on the opera stage. Most recent productions: Ludwig van Beethoven: Fidelio, 21. Jahrhundert (Bonn, 2004), Presto 126/4 (ibid.), Richard Wagner: Ring-Studie 01: Rheingold (Berlin/Hildesheim/Basel, 2008/09). In preparation: Neither by Morton Feldman, and Quadrat I + II by Samuel Beckett.
She has received numours awards and is active in teaching and lecturing internationally. Member of the artistic and scholarly consulting board of Musik & Ästhetik. Since 2015 lecturer at the Universität zu Köln. Her publications and productions include: »Farinellis gehäutete Stimme. Voice-Design als Kulturtechnik« (Essay, Musik & Ästhetik, 7/2009); »Von Second Life® zur Laterna Magica oder Eine Art Fortschritt« (Essay, Klett-Cotta, 10/2012); »Richard Wagner und seine Medien. Für eine kritische Praxis des Musiktheaters« (Book, with Richard Klein, Klett-Cotta, 10/2012); »Zum Tod von Patrice Chéreau« (Obituary, Musik & Ästhetik, 1/2014); »Körper und Code. Theaterarbeit mit Wagner heute« (Essay of Bayreuther Festspiele, Summer 2014); »Fidelio, 21. Jahrhundert« (Ludwig v. Beethoven, Oper im Virtual Environment, Bonn 2004); »Ring-Studie 01 | Rheingold, Vorspiel« (R. Wagner, Performance with Live-Screening, Berlin/ Zurich 2009); »Flashmob Antigone« (B. Brecht, Theatrale Intervention, Chur 2013).
Current focus: „Zusammenhang Texte(n) – Texturen – Textilien / Komponieren – Weben – Programmieren“ (correlation between text(ing) – textures – textiles / composing – weaving – programming). A series of events on the topic “Kleidung als performatives Medium” (clothing as performative medium) is in preparation, in the context of which the following publications were published: “Die Zerrissenen. Die Griechen zwischen Uniform und Kostüm” (Essayreportage, Lettre International, 1/2017); „Flüchtlingsmode“ (Panel, Passau, 9/2017); „Umsturz durch Pracht. Texte von Kleidern” (Book, K&N, 10/2017) sowie „Quadrat I + II“ von Samuel Beckett (Scenography, N.N.).

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