Musica Viva Australia: A Winter’s Journey

It’s a divisive thought – “enhancing” the style of artwork track by way of dramatisation, stage path, costuming, projections and It’s a divisive thought – “enhancing” the style of artwork track by way of dramatisation, stage path, costuming, projections and different melding of artwork types. You’ll find musicians on the highest degree arguing it’s both grotesque and pointless or that it brings a welcome new dimension that aids in opening the door to listeners unfamiliar with the language and poetry.

Musica Viva has bravely gone there, with a brand new manufacturing of Winterreise, Schubert’s 24-song cycle of a person’s journey of despair that’s indisputably one of many most interesting achievements of all artwork.

It options English tenor Allan Clayton MBE and Australian pianist Kate Golla with path from Lindy Hume, video design by David Bergman, lighting by Matthew Marshall and projections of work by the late Fred Williams.

Your reviewer enters the corridor an agnostic on this debate, past feeling that if you will step on this turf, it higher not detract from the music.

On this case there are some points however extra on these later as a result of the very first thing to say is: go. Go instantly and safe a ticket to a future efficiency on this nationwide tour. You gained’t be upset and it was clear from the unusually targeted silence and standing ovation that the Melbourne viewers was transfixed and deeply moved on Saturday night.

Clayton’s singing is trigger alone. Over the span of 70 minutes, he deployed a surprising array of color and vary that displayed a deep connection to those songs. You would need to take a journey as lengthy and harrowing as our protagonist to listen to it higher sung.

Golla proved a worthy companion, with notably magical contributions in Frühlingstraum and Die Krähe and a few fantastically judged tempi and transitions between songs. Their sense of ensemble was incessantly breathtaking as she anticipated and generally created delicate variations between verses within the strophic songs that was musically knowledgeable and pure class.

However it’s regarding the piano that we arrive on the first large downside with this manufacturing. With a view to see the projection screens correctly the instrument was positioned at a most uncommon angle, with the keyboard at virtually 90 levels to the viewers, sending all of the sound instantly into the aspect wall of the stage somewhat than in direction of the listener. In a room as acoustically excellent because the Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor the sound bounced proper again, resulting in some muddy textures. The identical cause necessitated the lid being at half-stick, which solely additional diminished readability and path. With a voice the scale of Clayton’s in a room that giant it could have been great to listen to Golla at full flight, and it pained to think about how rather more stunning the pianism would have been with out these handicaps. Keep in mind: first do no hurt to the music.

The stage blocking? Properly Clayton is an effective actor and Hume a intelligent director and at occasions it was evocative in including to the story, notably when he got here to relaxation in quantity 10. However there have been many oddities. For example, why have him actually run from one a part of the stage to a different between among the closing songs when our wanderer is telling us that he’s bodily exhausted and might barely put one frostbitten foot in entrance of the opposite?

As for the Williams projections, once more there have been moments of magnificence the place one felt it actually added to the temper, an instance being in Der Wegweiser. However some selections felt at odds to the poetry and finally one was so transfixed with Clayton’s efficiency that it appeared so as to add minimal worth.

Musica Viva and Creative Director Paul Kildea are to be applauded for designing one thing formidable and genuinely new which will effectively assist introduce this masterpiece to a distinct viewers.

Whereas there are legitimate criticisms of the manufacturing, the excellent musicianship of Clayton and Golla means none of that issues and you must make your individual Winter’s Journey to the corridor on the first alternative.

Photograph provided.


Stewart Kelly reviewed Schubert’s “Die Winterreise” carried out by tenor Allan Clayton and pianist Kate Golla, and offered by Musica Viva Australia on the Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor on July16, 2022.