Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York. November 13/14/15 8pm. Pre-performance talk 7pm
The Belgian poet Albert Giraud published his 'Pierrot Lunaire: 50
Rondels Bergamasques' in 1884.
In his day Giraud was well known, and 'Pierrot Lunaire' became very popular. The poems concern the characters of the Commedia dell'arte (old Italian theatre) - Pierrot, Colombine (the object of his affections), the conceited rogue Harlequin and old doctor Cassander. Giraud imagines a 'chamber theatre' - possibly a toy cardboard theatre - in which these characters are bought to life amidst 'backdrops by Brueghel, the fairy palaces of Shakespeare, and the autumn colours of Watteau'. Each short poem then describes a situation or scenario, with Giraud's imagination running riot: now Pierrot is preparing himself for a night on the town; now he is comparing the moon to an omelette as he stirs the pan and tosses the eggy mixture into the night sky; now Cassander is railing at Pierrot to stop scraping on his viol; now Harlequin is parading his latest colourful outfit, or bribing Colombine's chaperone to get an evening with her; now Pierrot is hanging himself with his own robe.....
Pierrot Lunaire is only known today as a famous and important work by Arnold Schoenberg, which consists of settings of 21 of Giraud's poems in no particular order and in German translation. Shame! It's about time Giraud's Pierrot Lunaire was known.
This piece is a setting of all 50 poems in French and English by Roger Marsh. The first 22 were performed in Germany in 2001 at the Hilliard summer school, in a performance which included a few York students and John Potter (as a member of the Hilliard Ensemble). Now, on November 13/14/15 we bring the whole set to life in a full theatrical realisation. 80 students of the Department of Music are collaborating on the production, with musical direction from John Potter and Anna Friman, and theatrical guidance from Roger Marsh and Morag Galloway.
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