In January 2015, Ian Bostridge took to the Barbican Hall stage to perform Schubert’s Winterreise, accompanied by Thomas Ades. It was a sell-out, and received rapturously all around, with a slew of five-star reviews heralding it a landmark recital. Though it is unlikely that London will see such a performance of the cycle for some time, Bostridge and Barbican have planned something rather different for their follow-up.
The Dark Mirror is a new theatrical adaptation of Schubert’s masterpiece. Backed by the Britten Sinfonia, Bostridge will take the lead in performing contemporary composer Hans Zender’s orchestral reimagining of the cycle, which transforms the original’s minimal piano into a rich musical tapestry. Schubert’s skeletal bleakness is bolstered into something that is by turns delicately romantic and at others expressionistically rhythmic.
Netia Jones, the maestro behind 2013’s Curlew River and 2012’s Where the Wild Things Are, will direct. Jones’ work is characterised by the use of multimedia alongside the traditional set. The Observer has declared her “the most imaginative director of opera working in Britain today.” This coming together of such talents heralds something fascinating at the very least.
A sequence of twenty-four songs, all settings of poems by the composer’s contemporary Wilhelm Muller, Winterreise has an incredible emotional depth. Beginning with a disenchanted lover realizing that his passion was mistaken, the lieder descend slowly into complete desolation as the protagonist travels through a sparse wintry landscape. Extraordinarily beautiful in their melancholy, Schubert’s songs are one of the masterpieces of Western music.
Tenor Ian Bostridge is a unique talent in vocal music. Initially devoted to academia, his first professional recital came at the age of 27. Immediately acclaimed for his 1994 performance of Winterreise, he soon became Britain’s best known lied-singer. His voice, which ranges from choirboy highs to a grizzled low, is more rawly expressive than that of many traditionally trained singers. If you missed his 2015 Winterreise, this promises to offer ample consolation.
|What||The Dark Mirror: Zender's Winterreise, Barbican Theatre|
|Where||Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
12 May 16 – 14 May 16, 7:45 PM – 10:15 PM
|Website||Click here to book via the Barbican website|