The Forest Murmurs

The Forest Murmurs

An adventure in the German Romantic Imagination
Multimedia – performance
for six singers, chorus and orchestra, scenography and costume, film (S8mm), video, text

Direction, scenic design, video design: Hopkins
Costume: Stephen Rodwell
Dramaturg: Meredith Oakes.
Conductor: Steven Sloane.

6 grown figures appear, as if born at that moment. They absorb, embody and express images evoked in music and ideas across 150 years – they touch joy, elation, reflection, despair, destruction, as if for the first time.

Media Theatre work exploring the sound world, visuality, conceptual evolution of the Romantic imagination, through work by Beethoven, Berg, Schumann, Schubert, Wagner, Mahler, Marschner, text by Tieck, Schlegel, Hegel


Opera North

Created in 2001-2

Comment in Intermediality in Theatre, Kattenbelt and Chapple Eds, 2006

The Forest Murmurs

Part 1

1 Der Erlkönig  Schubert 1815

Archive recording of radio broadcast by Lotte Lehmann, NYC 1941
Film animation accompaniment

created by Sigune Hamann

The city is cruel, nature is kind

2 Overture no 3, Leonore  Beethoven 1806
Singers as actors live and on film
Film accompaniment

3 Flucht Schubert 1825
Male Chorus

4 Mailied Schubert 1815
Female Chorus, 4 horns
Captions – group singing as agent of European unity

5 Fruhlingsnacht (from Liederkreis)  Schumann 1840

Is nature truly kind?

6 Mir ist so wunderbar
Quartet, Act 1 Fidelio Beethoven 1805

7 Gretchen am Spinnrade Schubert 1814
Film accompaniment
from Fritz Lang’s The Death Of Siegfried 1926

8The Lime Tree Walk
a reading from Wurtembergisches Reportorium Schiller 1782
Projected still photography

9 Berg und Burgen (from Liederkreis) Schumann 1840
Film, singers present  model mountain

Beyond Nature

10 Lift Thine Eyes (from Elijah) Mendelssohn 1846

11 Chorus Mysticus
(Scenes from Faust) Schumann 1844-53
Soloists, Chorus, Orchestra, Film

Orchestra move from pit to stage

Part 2

Nothing is Beyond Nature

1 Prelude to Tristan and Isolde Wagner 1856-59

2Letter from von Kleist to Wilhelmine
Read by Anne Dawson
Projected still photography

3 Des Baches Wiegenlied
(from Die Schöne Müllerin) Schubert 1823

4 Puss in Boots
(extract from play) Ludwig Tieck 1797

5 Der Tamboursg’sell
(from Des Knaben Wunderhorn) Mahler 1905
Film accompaniment

6 The Death of God (extract) Nietzsche1882
Read by Jill Maria Marsden
Projected still photography

7 Also sprach Zarathustra (extract) Strauss1895-96

But the Burden of Knowledge is Too Much

8 Trio from Hans Heiling Marschner 1831-32

9 Edelweiss
Marching song, trad. 1941
Archive recording of German army choir
Film / action accompaniment
live performers destroy effigies, screen doubles shrink and die


10 Wozzeck (Act III,scene 14) Berg 1925


11 Kindertotenlieder no1 Mahler 1901
Archive recording, Kathleen Ferrier 1949
Film accompaniment by Pippa Nissen
(location Nuremberg Toy Museum)