Rozanna Madylus mezzo-soprano
John Tomlinson bass
The Art of Love: Alma Mahler’s Life and Music
Text by Barry Millington
Music by Alma and Gustav Mahler (arr. David Matthews), Zemlinsky, Webern and Wagner (40’)
John Casken Kokoschka’s Doll (premiere) (35’)
For Alma Mahler, the painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) was just one of a string of eminent lovers, but for Kokoschka his brief affair with the widow of Mahler was to haunt the rest of his life. Shortly after the liaison ended, in 1914, he commissioned a life-size doll of Alma, which he took to concerts and other public events, finally destroying it at a party to which all his friends were invited. The Counterpoise ensemble explores their tempestuous affair and subsequent obsession through a sequence of music and text featuring the work of Gustav and Alma Mahler, Wagner, Webern and Zemlinsky, followed by the premiere of John Casken’s Kokoschka’s Doll.
As seen through the eyes of Kokoschka as an older man, world-renowned bass John Tomlinson evokes the passions unleashed by the affair against the background of the physical and psychological traumas the artist suffered in the First World War.
Parabola Arts Centre is located in a Grade II listed building in the glamorous Montpellier district of Cheltenham. The centre was built as a facility for students of Cheltenham Ladies’ College and to be used as a public arts centre by the local community.
The original, listed Bayshill House was transformed into a gallery, bar and foyer area. The villa also houses all the rehearsal spaces, offices, video editing suite, dance studio and library. This means that the regular activity of the building takes place in the light, beautifully restored listed building.
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