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Multi-media Song Recital Gives Voice To Composer Alma Mahler

Published on: 18 May, 2016
Updated on: 18 May, 2016
Alma Mahler in 1909. Photograph Imagno - Hulton / Archive.

Alma Mahler in 1909. Photograph Imagno – Hulton / Archive.

Two Surrey-based creative women are giving a voice to a little-known composer, Alma Mahler.

Art Sung – Alma Mahler is being given one performance at Holmbury St Mary on Sunday, May 22 at 4pm.

“How beautiful she was, and how seductive she looked beneath her mourning veil! She enchanted me!” So wrote the Austrian painter Oskar Kokoschka about Alma, the young widow of the celebrated composer and conductor Gustav Mahler.

Elizabeth Mucha photo1 small

Scottish-Polish pianist Elizabeth Mucha, now based in Surrey.

Her story is told in the performance, a multi-media song recital, which combines the rich world of Lieder with a kaleidoscope of visual and spoken material.

Scottish-Polish pianist Elizabeth Mucha, the creative force behind this recital, is passionate about combining different art forms in her concert programmes, as well as drawing on influences from the various countries where she has lived over the last 20 years.

Her Art Song concept grew out of a desire to push the boundaries of what is considered to be a ‘concert’ by engaging with the audience through music, art and literature simultaneously.

The concert begins with Alma describing a snatched kiss with the painter Gustav Klimt, his painting The Kiss is shown, the song Der Küss’is sung – the scene is set for Alma’s story.

Alexandra Weaver soprano

Alexandra Weaver soprano.

Until now, Alma’s legacy now has rested mainly on being muse, compliant wife and lover to many prominent men of the early 20th century.

However, after reading her diaries, Elizabeth Mucha discovered a well-read, creative young woman, an excellent pianist and composer, whose tumultuous life can be shared with today’s audiences through music, art and the spoken word.

Sandy Walsh actress

Sandy Walsh actress.

Alma’s own songs are at the heart of this recital, alongside compositions by Gustav Mahler, and the great German composers Wagner, Brahms and Beethoven.

Artwork by artists of the Vienna Secession in 1900, such as Klimt and Kokoschka, as well as other images from the period, accompany the songs.

Now based in Surrey, pianist Elizabeth Mucha will be joined by actress Sandy Walsh, Wimbledon-based soprano Alexandra Weaver and Surbiton-born baritone Robert Rice to perform Art Sung – Alma Mahler at a venue very familiar to Surrey music lovers.

Holmbury St Mary is home to a charming opera and chamber music series Music at Woodhouse, produced by the inspirational Monika Saunders.

Robert Rice baritone

Robert Rice baritone.

In 2000, she converted her ‘useless’ indoor swimming pool into a 100-seat concert hall and later built an amphitheatre for the performance of opera.

In her own words, she disposed of one deep end and jumped into another!

Far from sinking, her music festival has thrived over the past 15 years.

The performance will take place at Music at the Woodhouse, Woodhouse Copse, Holmbury St Mary RH5 6NL.

Tickets are £20 (£12 for under 25s).

For further information, go to www.woodhousesounds.com or www.elizabethmucha.com.

Woodhouse Opera Festival

Woodhouse Opera Festival in the open air amphitheatre. Art Sung – Alma Mahler will be performed in the indoor, 100-seat theatre converted from a swimming pool.

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