Exploring BOC’s “Mirror: An Immersive Song Cycle Experience”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music directed by Jean Anderson Collier, Patricia Au, Brendon Shapiro, Chelsea Whitaker
Stage directed by Patricia Weinmann, Greg Smucker

January 6-8, 2017
Edward M. Pickman Concert Hall (directions at bottom of page)
Longy School of Music of Bard College
27 Garden St, Cambridge, MA 02138
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Twitter: @BostonOperaCollaborative

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) I love immersive theater when done well. I thought I’d take a moment to explore MIRROR, a one-weekend song cycle show based on Robert Schumann’s Frauenliebe und -leben and Dominick Argento’s From the Diary of Virginia Woolf.

Rather than a single stage, this show is staged throughout Longy’s historic Zabriskie House mansion. Fifteen patrons at a time are allowed inside. They are asked to follow two singers and a pianist throughout the house. In each room, a song is performed from Schumann’s cycle.

Written in 1840 during his prolific “year of song,” the music chronicles a woman’s life. We see her fall in love, court, marry, and eventually lose her husband. It promises to be an enormously engaging experience.

As a literary enthusiast, I’m also drawn to the fact that MIRROR features snapshots from moments of the life of modernist and feminist writer, Virginia Woolf.

When asked to comment on the interesting mix of influences, co-artistic directors Patricia-Maria Weinmann and Greg Smucker said, “Experiencing and exploring these two works in juxtaposition reveals fascinating contrasts and corollaries. Our production takes these two cycles off the concert stage and lets the performers explore the characters’ lives in physical context of an actual home. Songs are staged in drawing rooms and bedrooms, on stairwells and in libraries. The audience is literally within an arm’s reach of the singers. As each group of performers and audience members travels throughout the house, the spaces between songs offers dramatic potential as well. It’s a riveting 75-minute physical and musical journey through the lives of two women separated by a century of changing expectations and aspirations.”

Since Boston Opera Collaborative was founded in 2005 by Brooke Larimer, Kitty Drexel and Markus Hauck, they have presented nearly thirty fully-staged productions as well as concerts, scene programs, and recitals, giving performance opportunities to over 150 young artists in the greater Boston area.

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