Schubert’s “Swan Song” as music theater

World premiere Sept 22, 2023, Park Avenue Armory, New York City

with Jonas Kaufmann (Tenor) and Helmut Deutsch (Piano)

Direction Claus Guth

Set Design Michael Levine

Costume Design Constance Hoffman

Lighting Design Urs Schöenebaum

Sound Composition Mathis Nitschke

Sound Design Mark Grey

Video Design rocafilm

Movement Direction Sommer Ulrickson

Dramaturgy Yvonne Gebauer

Franz Schubert’s ” Swan Song” is a collection of songs written in 1828 – the year of the composer’s death. The starting point of our narrative is a military hospital where men stand between life and death, as if caught in a time loop. Jonas Kaufmann, one of the men, experiences an emotional journey through moments of happiness and disappointment during this stagnant time. At first, he finds comfort in memories of his lover and nature, but in the second half of the evening he sinks more and more into pain and loss, expressed in songs like the one about the “unhappy Atlas.” He encounters himself shortly before his death, in a final moment of shock and realization.

I contribute sound compositions based on Schubert’s music, which connect the songs and offer the possibility of scenic design. We have already conceived and launched the piece for a premiere in 2020. Now finally the evening is coming out and I am admittedly very excited!