Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Recreates Little-Known 1910 Meeting of Mahler and Freud in Analyze This, Nov. 5-6
Music Director Marin Alsop commences 2010-2011 Off the Cuff series with symphonic play illustrating the meeting of a creative genius and intelligent mind
Baltimore, Md. (October 15, 2010)—Music Director Marin Alsop teams up with writer and stage director Didi Balle in co-creation Analyze This: Mahler and Freud to be performed on Friday, November 5 at 8:15 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Saturday, November 6 at 7 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. In Analyze This, actors Richard Pilcher and Tony Tsendeas and mezzo-soprano Kristina Lewis will reenact the 1910 meeting between Gustav Mahler and famous psychiatrist Dr. Sigmund Freud as Maestra Alsop shares historical content and interesting little-known facts, interspersed with selections from Mahler’s most famous works. The BSO’s Off the Cuff series offers a fresh take on classical music by exploring the lives of the composers, making the performances fun and engaging for music enthusiasts of any level. After two successful seasons at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall, the series begins its premiere season at the Music Center at Strathmore in 2010-2011. Please see below for complete program details.
In this program, Maestra Alsop dissects this solitary and compelling meeting of equals in a riveting performance in a similar vein to 2008’s CSI: Beethoven. She provides guidance for an in-depth understanding of selected Mahler works with an accompanying story and the history behind the music. Professional actors Richard Pilcher (Mahler), Tony Tsendeas (Dr. Sigmund Freud) and Kristina Lewis (Alma Mahler), help spin the tale.
Maestro Mahler deemed a meeting with Freud of absolute necessity. A crippling fear that his considerably younger wife, the vivacious Alma, would leave him for the ardent architect Walter Gropius, compelled him to seek help. Mahler, a man of insurmountable genius passionately loved his wife, though found it difficult to show his ardor. The death of Mahler’s eldest daughter strained his relationship with Alma, who found herself depressed in a marriage to a man with a meticulous and difficult personality.
Mahler’s wife’s unconsummated affair became known with a “Freudian slip” by suitor Gropius. In despair, Mahler requested that Freud meet and analyze Mahler’s situation and past, hoping to provide some insight and release to the Maestro. Mahler’s fears of abandonment were traced back to a childhood of poverty, violence and death. His mother, a petite, crippled woman in a loveless marriage, suffered constant abuse in witness of Mahler. Of the 14 children she bore, seven died before Mahler reached the age of 19. One beloved younger brother died in Mahler’s arms.
Mahler’s obsession with death not only fueled his terror of abandonment but also haunted his daily life and fashioned itself in his works. After his daughter’s death, Mahler made a connection of his music with death. The three hammer blows in the final movement of his Sixth Symphony foreshadowed three unfortunate events in his life: the death of his daughter, his forced resignation as Director of the Vienna Court Opera and his own imminent death. He feared for himself the fate that befell past composers, such as Beethoven, a man whom Mahler considered a father figure and himself a prodigy of. Like Beethoven, Mahler died before being able to complete his tenth symphony.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Hailed as one of the world’s leading conductors for her artistic vision and commitment to accessibility in classical music, Marin Alsop made history with her appointment as the 12th music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. With her inaugural concerts in September 2007, she became the first woman to head a major American orchestra. She also holds the title of conductor emerita at the Bournemouth Symphony in the United Kingdom, where she served as the principal conductor from 2002-2008, and is music director of the Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music in California.
In 2005, Ms. Alsop was named a MacArthur Fellow, the first conductor ever to receive this prestigious award. In 2007, she was honored with a European Women of Achievement Award; in 2008, she was inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; and in 2009, Musical America named her “Conductor of the Year”.
A regular guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra and Los Angeles Philharmonic, Ms. Alsop appears frequently as a guest conductor with the most distinguished orchestras around the world. In addition to her performance activities, she is also an active recording artist with award-winning cycles of Brahms, Barber and Dvorák.
Marin Alsop attended Yale University and received her master’s degree from The Juilliard School. In 1989, her conducting career was launched when she won the Koussevitzky Conducting Prize at Tanglewood where she studied with Leonard Bernstein.
Didi Balle, writer and stage director
Didi Balle’s writing and directing credits include commissions, broadcasts and productions of her work spanning symphonic stage shows, radio, theatre, song cycles, musical theater and opera. Her work has been performed by Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, City of London Sinfonia, New York City Opera and Manhattan Rhythm Kings in venues ranging from the Lincoln Center to the Barbicon Center for the Arts in London.
She is the founding director of a new production company, Symphonic Stage Shows, offering orchestras and audiences a new experience of classical music theater. In collaboration with Music Director Marin Alsop, Ms. Balle was commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra to write and direct the highly successful CSI: Beethoven. Their collaborations also include Radio Rhapsody, which premiered at Lincoln Center, and Analyze This: Mahler and Freud.
Ms. Balle served as a contributing editor for The New York Times syndicate for 13 years. She received her master’s degree in fine arts from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts where she was awarded the Oscar Hammerstein Scholarship as a playwright-lyricist. Her first writing job was co-writing a weekly radio musical-comedy with Garrison Keillor called "The Story of Gloria, A Young Woman of Manhattan".
Richard Pilcher, actor
Richard Pilcher has performed on Broadway at Circle-in-the-Square in 13 Rue de L’Amour, and off-Broadway in The Show-Off and Danton’s Death. He has played major roles with many resident theater companies across the U.S., such as the Hartford Stage Company, McCarter Theatre, the Great Lakes Shakespeare Company, the Utah Shakespeare Company, Theatre Virginia and Syracuse Stage. A particular favorite among his shows was the Academy Festival Theatre production of Misalliance with Irene Worth and Lynn Redgrave. Locally he has performed with such theaters as the Olney Theatre, the Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, the Shakespeare Theatre and the Studio Theatre. He was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award as Best Actor for his performance in Poster Of The Cosmos at the Potomac Theatre Project. His film appearances include Tuck Everlasting, The Replacements and Serial Mom. His television credits include “The Wire” and a recurring role in “Homicide: Life On The Street.” He is the principal acting instructor at the Baltimore School for the Arts and he is a certified teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Tony Tsendeas, actor
Tony Tsendeas was the artistic director of Baltimore’s Action Theater. The company toured Northern Europe and Great Britain with its production, BeckettLand, a collection of short dramatic pieces by Samuel Beckett. Action Theater's many lauded productions include The Cabinet Of Dr. Caligari, The Madman and the Nun and Double O Xmas or I Was A Reindeer for the CIA.
For The Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Mr. Tsendeas directed Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Othello and Julius Caesar and David Davelos’ Wittenberg. Roles for the company included Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Caliban in The Tempest, Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing and The Player in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. He has also performed at a variety of theaters regionally including Roundhouse Theater, Theater J, Woolly Mammoth Theater, Everyman Theater, Center Stage and Axis Theater. He was recently nominated for a Helen Hayes award for directing David Davelos’ Wittenberg at Rep Stage. Mr. Tsendeas has portrayed Beethoven and other characters for the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and last month, he reprised his role of Beethoven for the Colorado Symphony Orchestra’s CSI: Beethoven.
Mr. Tsendeas has presented his one-man show, The POE Show, at a variety of venues regionally. Film and video works include HBO’s “The Wire,” NBC’s “Homicide: Life On The Street” and appearances and voice over work for The Family Channel, The Learning Channel and The Discovery Channel. He is also a member of the faculty at The Baltimore School for the Arts.
Kristina Lewis, mezzo-soprano
Kristina Lewis is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She began piano lessons from the Birmingham-Southern College Conservatory of Fine and Performing Arts at the age of 4. After graduating with honors from Fairfield High School, she was awarded the Daniel Music Scholarship at Converse College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance.
Ms. Lewis is currently studying for her master’s degree in music at the Peabody Institute under the instruction of Dr. Stanley Cornett. She made her opera debut as Prince Orlofsky in the Peabody Opera Theatre’s 2010 spring production of Die Fledermaus. Most recently, she placed as a finalist in the 2010 Harlem Opera Theater Voice Competition, received second place in the 2010 Vocal Arts Competition of the Mid-Atlantic region and was the first place winner of the Sylvia Green Voice Competition at the Peabody Institute. Her upcoming performances include Rosette in Massenet’s Manon, La Marchande in Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tiresias and the Dragonfly and White Cat in Ravel’s L’Enfant et les sortileges with Peabody Opera Theater. In addition, Ms. Lewis was chosen as the alto soloist in the Baltimore Handel Choir’s upcoming production of Handel’s Messiah.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
Off The Cuff
Analyze This: Mahler and Freud
Friday, November 5, 2010 at 8:15 p.m.—The Music Center at Strathmore
Saturday, November 6, 2010 at 7 p.m.—The Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
PLEASE NOTE DIFFERENT START TIMES.
Marin Alsop, conductor
Didi Balle, writer and stage director
Richard Pilcher, actor (Gustav Mahler)
Tony Tsendeas, actor (Sigmund Freud)
Kristina Lewis, mezzo-soprano (Alma Mahler)
Mahler: Selections from Symphonies Nos. 1, 4, 5, 7, 9 and 10; excerpts from Blumine and Kindertotenlieder
Alma Mahler: excerpts from Die Stille Stadt
Beethoven: excerpts from Symphony No. 5
Tickets range from $28 to $88 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.