In many of the projects, performances and labs in this research we have investigated ways of going in dialogue with the classical vocal repertoire and performance practice. Here are some examples.

Deconstructing Lied repertoire

In Facet lab, we investigated ways of deconstructing aspects of Lied performance by the means of experiments with music. lights and movement. In this example, we experiment with expressing loss and sorrow making musical variations on two well-known Lieder for female voice and piano. We investigate ways of using our bodies and instruments as means for the emotional expressions that we experience as vital expressional tools in the performance of these songs, and many others in the Romantic and late Romantic vocal repertoire. The multicolour shadow play adds a new visual dimension, sometimes contrasting to the performance, and sometimes almost painfully adding to, and underlining the emotional expressions of loss and longing.

The first one is ”Nu has du mir den ersten Schmerz…”. It is the final song in Robert Schumann’s song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben (text by A. von Chamisso) from 1840, where the vocal persona (the character) has recently become a widow.

Nun hast du mir den ersten Schmerz getan, Der aber traf.
Du schläfst, du harter, unbarmherz’ger Mann, Den Todesschlaf.

Es blicket die Verlass’ne vor sich hin, Die Welt ist leer, ist leer.
Geliebet hab’ ich und gelebt, ich bin Nicht lebend mehr.

Ich zieh’ mich in mein Inn’res still zurück, Der Schleier fällt.
Da hab’ ich dich und mein verlorenes Glück, Du meine Welt!

(A. von Chamisso)


Now, for the first time, you have brought me pain, and it did hurt.
You sleep, you hard, unmerciful man, the sleep of Death.

The abandoned gazes around her, the world is empty, so empty.
I have lived, and loved, but do not live anymore.

I withdraw into myself, and lower my veil.
There I see you, and our lost happiness, you, my world.

(My translation)

In the second example, we experimented with Morgen by Richard Strauss (1894).

Und morgen wird die Sonne wieder scheinen
Und auf dem Wege, den ich gehen werde, wird uns, die Glücklichen
Sie wieder einen in mitten dieser sonnenatmenden Erde . . .

Und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen,
werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen.

Stumm werden wir uns in die Augen schauen,
und auf uns sinkt des Glückes stummes Schweigen. . . (J. H. Mackay)


And tomorrow, the sun will also shine
And on the road, where I will go, we, the happy, shall stand
Like one, in the middle of this sun-breathing Earth

And on the beach, the wide, blue of waves
we will descend, still and slow.

We will look into each other’s eyes in silence
and upon us, the mute silence of happiness shall fall. (My translation)

Deconstructing operatic repertoire and performance