Contemporary Opera Director Claus Guth and celebrated set designer Michael Levine transform Wade Thompson Drill Hall for spectacular reimagining of Schubert‘s “Schwanengesang.”
Composed in 1828 during Schubert’s last days, “Swan Song” is a heartrending collection of songs that run through a variety of emotions, from despair and delusion to ecstasy and love. Named after the final song, “The Double,” in which a soldier sees himself and comes to terms with the reality that he has not returned from war, this Armory commission beautifully explores the hunger for life and its beauty, and the idea that death is not a sudden moment, but a final journey.
The cycle forms a series of masterful snapshots of all that life has to offer, and features a performance that transcends genre: Jonas Kaufmann and his long-time accompanist, pianist Helmut Deutsch, interpret the collection of songs, augmented by additional Schubert repertoire an atmospheric soundscape and transformative light and video projections to create a production that is part performance, part installation. “In partnership with these operatic and stage visionaries, the Armory is originating a production that makes a classic song cycle distinctly contemporary. Audiences used to seeing classical pieces performed in traditional proscenium venues will be surprised and delighted to witness Doppelganger, which makes the 55,000-square-foot Drill Hall feel like an intimate experience,” said Rebecca Robertson, the Executive Producer of Park Avenue Armory.
Guth and Kaufmann, have taken an experimental approach to Schubert’s original score, deconstructing the song cycle and interspersing additional Schubert compositions as well as Nitschke’s soundscape of live and recorded elements that evoke the naturalistic imagery portrayed in the libretto. Projections by roca film and lighting by designer Urs Schönebaum lend additional dimension and texture to these sonic elements.
In der Ferne
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor
Helmut Deutsch, piano
Claus Guth, direction
Constance Hoffman, costume design
Urs Schönebaum, lighting design
Roca Film, video design
Mathis Nitschke, sound composition
Mark Grey, sound design