Recording Date: 2000
Place of recording: Berlin, New York
Running Time: 126 (including interview 45 min) min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo
Menu Languages PAL: D, GB, F, SP
Subtitle Languages PAL: D, GB, F, SP
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In Dichterliebe (2000), a film by Oliver Herrmann based on Robert Schumann’s song-cycle of the same name, the boundaries between song recital and reality blur. The chosen setting – a night club in the centre of Berlin – creates the intimate, dark salon atmosphere in which the songs might also have been performed at the time they were written. Returning to origins in this way, the film departs from the concert atmosphere in which song-recitals are normally performed nowadays.
In the film One Night. One Life (1999), based on the cycle Pierrot Lunaire, Arnold Schönberg’s opus 21, director Oliver Herrmann has created a surreal, at times grotesque dream world set in a modern city, through which Pierrot (Christine Schäfer) moves like a spirit. In each new number she passes through different scenes and levels of the world around us: such as an abattoir, a peep-show, a station or a supermarket.
“Schäfer's virtuosity as a singing actress is exploited to the full in this highly imaginative double-bill. In the Schumann, work and artists are placed in a new and controversial context, with the production of the film intermingled with the performance of the cycle. In an intimate, sparsely lit nightclub in Berlin-Mitte, recreating the salon atmosphere of a performance in the composer's time, the cycle is sung by the soprano in a tight-fitting black outfit while moving around the room in sympathy with evocations of each song's mood. The idea is to make the emotions of the work part of everyday life. Schäfer's reading of the songs is at once simple and intense, devoid entirely of sentimentality. She's supported in the performance and rehearsal by the equally fascinating personality of the pianist Natascha Osterkorn. As far as one can tell, the singer isn't dubbed here. But in the 'staging' of Pierrot lunaire, she's undoubtedly miming to her own Sprechgesang. With clown-like make-up, Schäfer wanders Kafka-like, through a kaleidoscopic range of situations and venues – including an abattoir, railway station and a medical lecture theatre – vaguely appropriate to the texts. In this, one of the soprano's best-known roles, she excels in declaiming the text with meaning, assisted by that past master of the genre, Pierre Boulez. As a bonus, there's a 45-minute interview with the singer. This whole issue extends the boundaries of interpreting vocal works on DVD. A riveting experience.”
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