Winterreise Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Fridays-Sundays. Continues through March 21 2010

Known for offbeat stagings of works by such avant-garde contemporary composers as Ricky Ian Gordon and Mark-Anthony Turnage, Chicago Opera Vanguard now turns its attention to one of the greatest 19th-century German song cycles, Franz Schubert's Winterreise. Composed in 1827--the year before Schubert died at age 31--and set to poems by Wilhelm Muller, the piece comprises a musical monologue in which a rejected suitor describes his lonely wanderings through a winter storm--a metaphor for the frigid emotional landscape he inhabits after having had his heart broken by a fickle woman. Director Eric Reda attempts to amplify the cycle's dramatic and emotional content by surrounding the Wanderer (baritone Brad Jungwirth) with three dancers representing him, his beloved, and her mother. The concept is interesting, but Reda's cluttered multimedia staging never jells, undercutting the songs' introspective power. --Albert Williams

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