Musica Viva Australia presents an exciting new staging of Winterreise this July.
In 1827 Franz Schubert composed an emotionally charged song cycle. Setting poems of the German writer Wilhelm Müller, Schubert created an emotional journey of a man trekking across frozen rivers and snowy landscapes, lamenting his lost love. It is indeed a winter’s journey (Winterreise), full of images and metaphors of love, loss, nationhood.
Winterreise is undoubtedly a monument to 19th-century culture, yet as Australian listeners, we do not wander the icy trails of Europe. We experience another time and place, with red earth and confronting wilderness. This is the imagery that for three decades the Australian painter Fred Williams captured without parallel. And it is through vivid animations of Williams’s paintings, in a new staging we’ve commissioned of this great song cycle, that we continue and intensify our connection with this work.
Veteran stage director Lindy Hume is our cartographer, mapping the terrain of heart and country for English tenor Allan Clayton and Australian pianist Kate Golla. Videographer Dave Bergman provides the backdrop, bringing to life twenty-four Williams paintings that match and contradict Müller’s poems and Schubert’s landscape, all in gorgeous larger-than-life animations.
These powerful artistic forces combine to produce the most relevant staging of Winterreise Australia has ever seen.