In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

DR. VON LYRIC: An (obsessive) winter journey with Franz and Ian

Jan 28, 2015 2:43:00 PM
By BLO Staff

On February 4th at 6pm in the Brattle  Theater in Cambridge, the Harvard Book Store in presenting a talk by the noted tenor (and, yes, scholar and musicologist) Ian Bostridge, co-promoted by BLO and the Longy School of Music. He is speaking on Schubert's magnificent song cycle WINTERREISE in connection with a book he has written on that work, subtitled, The Anatomy of an Obsession. As he has performed this cycle more than one hundred times, it is not clear to me whose obsession we're talking about here. In any case, the talk (and, one assumes, the book) is described as dealing with WINTERREISE's, "...enigmas and subtle meanings...Schubert's psychological makeup...historical and political pressures...the continuing resonances and affinities that make Schubert's wanderer our mirror..."

It sounds genuinely fascinating. Why not check it out?

Side note: If you're interested, BLO is also holding a social media contest for a limited number of free tickets to the event. Check out our contest blog post and enter to win a chance to go for free!

There are numerous full length performances on YouTube (including  Peter Pears, Fischer-Dieskau, Christa Ludwig, and Brigitte Fassbaender – yes, women can sing it too). Bostridge is  represented not only by a concert recital performance but also by a quite intriguing, dramatic version in a film directed by David Alden.

Excerpts from that video performance follow:

One of the most moving performances of a WINTERREISE excerpt that is that of  probably the most famous exponent of the bleak beauty of the Schubert cycle: Hans Hotter (at age 82) and a young Thomas Quasthoff (if you don't know the story of this remarkable performer, check him out on Wikipedia).

Another celebrated singer of WINTERREISE, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau:

An interesting discussion of the piece by another very perceptive tenor, Jonas Kaufmann, and Helmut Deutsch:

Another take...

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