Last weekend, I was lucky enough to join the Ensemble Metropolis in a new concert series called "MusikWerk Luzern" and under the sensitive musical direction of Ariel Zuckermann in a performance of Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer). Anyone who knows these songs knows how very special they are, and particularly in the Schönberg adaption, which requires high soloistic ability from all musicians involved. It's unfortunately rare that I get to do art song with my operatic schedule, so I really savored this evening. The ensemble played everything with incredible skill and attention to detail, and I was proud to be a part of it. The Neue Luzerner Zeitung gave a great review of the performance, to which you can find a link here: http://musikwerkluzern.ch/assets/bilder/NLZ-Kritik-26.01.15.pdf. An English translation of the sections relevant to my performance be found under the Reviews tab here on my website.
At the theater, we're currently working intensively our next production of La Boheme. I'll be singing the role of the painter, Marcello. For those of you who might not be familiar with this show, I'll give a brief synopsis. On Christmas Eve in 1830's Paris, a poor poet (Rodolfo) falls in love with a young seamstress (Mimi) who is suffering from tuberculosis. The relationship is intense and tumultuous and won't make it through the winter because she tragically dies within a couple months. That's basically it. The parallel love story is of Marcello (a painter) and Musetta (probably a singer or an actress, but it's never clearly stated what she does apart from going on dates with rich older men and tormenting Marcello).
In contrast to the current fashion of new opera productions in German-speaking areas of Europe, our fearless director(I really do mean that non-ironically), Achim Thorwald, has set our production in 1830's Paris. He loves the story in its original form and wants to tell it as it was intended by Puccini: no politics, just intense emotions. He very obviously finds this piece magical, as we all do (I'm speaking on behalf of the cast here). That's not to say he hasn't brought in any interpretation at all, that's of course not the case, but it doesn't irritate! And I'm very happy to have this as my first La Boheme experience. I think this is really one of those pieces which transforms the audience into children. By that I don't mean they become innocent again, or naive. To the contrary, I think it's essential that the audience has worldy experience in order to grasp Mimi and Rodolfo's purity in order to contrast with Musetta and Marcello . What I mean is, the show unlocks the audience's access to elemental emotions, which get suppressed by growing up and daily life, etc. This will be a production purely to relish and enjoy, and hopefully, we won't be the only ones shedding a tear as Mimi tragically dies at the end.