Many of Franz Schubert’s songs are about roaming and departing, always being far from home and lonely. How does one sing his works in the 21st century and how do they sound in times of massive immigration? The Berlin-based theatre ensemble Nico and the Navigators interweaves songs from Schubert’s cycles “Schwanengesang” (Swan Song), “Winterreise” (Winter Journey) and “Die schöne Müllerin” (The Beautiful Miller Woman) to create an entirely new composition. The artists have developed distinctive acoustic forms of interpretation to gain a new understanding of Schubert’s work. Singers and performers from six different nations have interpreted the works from a contemporary perspective as they ventured on a roller-coaster of strong and conflicting emotions, ranging from pain and loss to desire and love, to anger and hope.
Under the artistic direction of Nicola Hümpel, the performance has evoked musical associations between the various pieces which alluded to the social issues of today. The “staged concert” has blurred the boundaries between concert performance and singing, dance and drama, high culture and everyday reality, and has asked: What effect and impact do Schubert’s song cycles evoke after some 200 years? How do they reflect contemporary attitudes and views of the world today?
Artistic directors: Nicola Hümpel, Oliver Proske
Musicians: Tobias Weber, Matan Porat, Novus String Quartett
Featuring: Nikolay Borchev (BY), Julla von Landsberg, Ted Schmitz (US), Yui Kawaguchi (JP), Anna-Luise Recke, Michael Shapira (IL)
World premiere: Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels: 7 Feb. 2017;
Niedersächsische Musiktage, Oldenburg and Braunschweig, 15 – 17 Sep. 2017;
Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg: 10. Jan. 2018;
Radialsystem V, Berlin: spring 2018