Winter Journey

Based on 24 poems by Wilhelm Müller and composed by Schubert in 1827, Winter Journey is a story of unrequited love.  Though the songs are full of the poet’s sadness at being rejected by his beloved, they also explore the poet’s connection to nature and the passing of the seasons. His journey is lonely but he finds himself united with the world around him and takes comfort in the natural order. Baritone David Adam Moore sings the title role of the poet who treks through the winter night. Solo pianist Earl Buys will accompany Moore.

Performed in German with English supertitles

Conant Performing Arts Center

Winterreise performance at Ogelthorpe University.

Synopsis

Composer: Franz Schubert
Text: Wilhelm Müller

GUTE NACHT (GOOD NIGHT) “A stranger I arrived; a stranger I depart.” In May he won the love of a girl and hoped to marry her. But now the world is dreary, and he must leave, in winter, in the dead of night, finding his own way in the trackless snow. “Love loves to wander — from one person to the next.” He writes “Good Night” on her gate to show he thought of her.

DIE WETTERFAHNE (THE WEATHER VANE) The weathervane on her house creaks in the shifting winds, mocking him and showing the inconstant hearts inside. “What do they care about my suffering? Their child is a wealthy bride!”

GEFRORNE TRÄNEN (FROZEN TEARS) He notices he has been crying and chides his tears for being cool enough to freeze. They do come out of his heart hot enough to melt all the winter’s ice!

ERSTARRUNG (FROZEN STIFF) He looks in vain for her footprints beneath the snow where they walked through the green meadow and wants to melt away the snow and ice with his tears. He has nothing to remember her by except his pain. She is frozen in his heart; if it thaws, her image will flow away.

DER LINDENBAUM (THE LINDEN TREE) The tree, a reminder of happier days, seems to call him, promising rest. But he turns away, into the cold wind. And now, miles away, he still hears it calling him: “Here you would find peace.”

WASSERFLUT (FLOOD) The cold snow thirstily sucks up his tears; when the warm winds blow, the snow and ice will melt, and the brook will carry them through the town to where his sweetheart lives.

AUF DEM FLUSSE (ON THE STREAM) The gaily rushing stream lies silent under a hard crust. In the ice he carves a memorial to their love. The river is an image of his heart swelling up powerfully beneath the frozen surface.

RÜCKBLICK (BACKWARD GLANCE) He recounts his headlong flight from the town and recalls his springtime arrival in the “city of inconstancy,” and two girlish eyes that captivated him. When he thinks of that time, he would like to go back and stand silently in front of her house.

IRRLICHT (WILL O’ THE WISP) The false light of the will-o’-the-wisp has led him astray, but he’s used to it. Every path leads to the same goal. Our joys and sorrows are but a trick of the light. Every stream reaches the sea, every sorrow its grave.

RAST (REST) Only now that he has stopped to rest does he realize how tired and sore he is. And in the quiet he feels for the first time the “worm” that stings him inwardly.

FRÜHLINGSTRAUM (DREAMS OF SPRING) He dreams of springtime and love but wakes to cold and darkness and the shrieking of ravens. He sees frost leaves painted on the window. When will they turn green? When will he again embrace his beloved?

EINSAMKEIT (LONELINESS) He wanders, like a sad and lonely cloud, through the bright and happy life around him. “Even when the storms were raging. I was not so miserable.”

DIE POST (THE POST) He hears a post horn. “Why does my heart leap up so? There’s no letter for you! But maybe there’s some news of her?”

DER GREISE KOPF (THE GRAY HEAD / THE OLD MAN’S HEAD) Frost has turned his hair gray and he rejoices at being an old man, but when it thaws, he is horrified to be a youth again: “How far it is still to the grave.”

DIE KRÄHE (THE CROW) A crow has been following him. It has never left him, expecting to take his body as its prey. “It won’t be much longer now. Crow, show me constancy unto death!”

LETZTE HOFFNUNG (LAST HOPE) He gambles on a leaf quivering in the wind. If it falls from the tree, all his hopes are dashed. He falls to the ground himself and weeps over the “grave” of his hopes.

IM DORFE (IN THE VILLAGE) Dogs bark, and all the people are asleep, dreaming of success and failure, finding on their pillows what eluded them in life. “I am done with all dreaming. Why should I linger among the sleepers?”

DER STÜRMISCHE MORGEN (THE STORMY MORNING) The storm is an image of his heart, wild and cold like the winter.

TÄUSCHUNG (DECEPTION / DELUSION) A dancing light wants to lead him astray, and he is glad to go along. “Behind ice and night and horror” it shows him a warm, bright house and a loving wife within. Illusion is all he has.

DER WEGWEISER (THE SIGNPOST) “Why do I take secret ways and avoid the other travelers? I’ve committed no crime. What foolish desire drives me to seek the wastelands?” He journeys endlessly, seeking peace and finding none. A signpost points the way: “I must travel a road where no one has ever yet returned.”

DAS WIRTSHAUS (THE INN) He comes to a graveyard and wants to enter. But all the rooms in this “inn” are taken; he resolves to go on his way with his faithful walking stick.

MUT! (COURAGE) He shakes the snow from his face and sings cheerfully to silence his heart’s stirrings, striding into the world, against wind and weather: “If there’s no God on Earth, then we ourselves are gods!”

DIE NEBENSONNEN (THE MOCK SUNS) He sees three suns staring at him in the sky. “You are not my suns! Once I too had three, but the best two have now set. If only the third would follow, I’ll be happier in the darkness.” cast & creative

DER LEIERMANN (THE HURDY-GURDY MAN) Behind the village stands a hurdy-gurdy man, cranking his instrument with frozen fingers. His begging bowl is always empty; no one listens to his music, and the dogs growl at him. But his playing never stops. “Strange old man. Shall I come with you? Will you play your hurdy-gurdy to accompany my songs?”

Source Gopera.com

Characters & Cast

The Poet

the poet who treks through the winter night

David Adam Moore

David Adam Moore is a highly sought-after leading baritone by major opera houses and orchestras. He was last seen at The Atlanta Opera in Winter Journey (Winterreise).

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Newbie Guide

Sponsored by the Molly Blank Fund of the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation

The Discoveries series

The Discoveries series is dedicated to audience members who are seeking new works, new ideas and fresh perspectives. These are not your standard operas.

Locations

As part of The Opera’s effort to bring opera to new audiences all over Atlanta, these productions are performed in exciting alternative venues that we don’t traditionally perform opera in.

Supertitles

Many operas are in a foreign language. Supertitles are similar to subtitles in a film, except they are projected above the stage. These translations will help you follow what’s happening on stage.

What to Wear

There is no dress code at The Opera and you will see everything from jeans to evening gowns and formal suits. Most people use it as a chance to enjoy dressing up in their own style.

Arriving in Good Time

If you are late, you will have to sit the first act in the back and then in the intermission ushers will show you to your seat. Plan ahead to arrive with extra time.

Directions to Discoveries series Venues

Enhance Your Visit

Backstory

Discoveries series performances include events either before or after the performance. As part of the Backstory program, these experiences allow audience members to learn more about the opera, open a conversation around important topics, and participate with the cast in conversation, dancing, and many other formats. Free for ticket holders.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Story

Because of the foreign languages, classical music, and often complex plots, you will very likely enjoy the performance better if you spend a few minutes familiarizing yourself with the story and characters in advance. Some people even like to listen to the music in advance and others prefer to let it wash over them during the show and perhaps look it up afterwards.

Costume & Set Design

Composer

Franz Schubert
1797-1828

Franz Peter Schubert was born in Vienna, Austria, on January 31, 1797, the fourth son of Franz Theodor Schubert, a schoolmaster, and Elizabeth Vietz, a domestic servant in Vienna. Encouraged to pursue his talents in music, Franz received instruction in the violin from his father, his older brother Ignaz, and Michael Holzer, the organist at the Liechtenthal parish church.

In 1808, through a competitive examination, the eleven-year-old Schubert was accepted into the choir of the Imperial Court Chapel as well as the Royal Seminary. Although he was homesick, he was an outstanding student. Besides singing in the choir, he played in the orchestra. He became familiar at this time with the music of Franz Joseph Haydn (1732–1809), Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756–1791), and Ludwig von Beethoven (1770–1827).

Schubert was a shy youth, and spent most of his spare time practicing and composing by himself. He left the choir at age fifteen when his voice changed, but continued to study at the seminary. Antonio Salieri, the emperor’s music director, heard about Schubert’s talents and took him in as a student.

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In 1814 the genius of Schubert was first made evident in his work Gretchen am Spinnrade, inspired by his reading of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s (1749–1832) Faust. His first Mass and his first symphony appeared about this time and showed the influence of Haydn. Schubert set five other Goethe songs to music that year. By the end of 1814 Schubert was an assistant at his father’s school and had begun to make the acquaintance of numerous poets, lawyers, singers, and actors, who soon would be the principal performers of his works at private concerts in their homes or in those of their wealthier friends.

Other eighteenth-century lyric poets whose works Schubert set to music include J. G. von Herder, the collector and translator of folk songs, F. G. Klopstock, and Friedrich von Schiller (1759–1805). None can compare, however, with the remarkable Goethe songs. Even the uninitiated (not educated on a particular subject) must respond to the excitement of the Erlkönig (1815), where by means of changing accompaniment figures, sharp dissonance (an arrangement of clashing chords), and effective modulations (the shifting of one musical tone to another) Schubert makes a distinction between the four characters of the ballad—narrator, father, son, and Erlking—and creates one of the masterpieces of romantic music.

While still a schoolmaster, Schubert composed Symphonies No. 2 through No. 5. At this time he also wrote many of the delightful dances, waltzes, and Ländler (a type of Austrian waltz for which he was known during his lifetime).

By 1817 Schubert was living in the home of his friend Franz von Schober, where he wrote several piano sonatas (instrumental music composed of four contrasting movements). In his father’s house there had been no piano. Examination of the sonatas proves Schubert to have been rather daring in his juxtaposition (placing one next to another) of keys, particularly in development sections. In addition to instrumental compositions, Schubert wrote fifty songs in 1817. In July 1817 Schubert was appointed to the household of Count Esterhazy and his family, who spent winters in an estate slightly north of Schönbrunn and summers at Zseliz in Hungary. There Schubert composed many of his works for piano duets.

Between 1820 and 1823 Schubert achieved his musical maturity. Two of his operettas and several of his songs were performed in public and amateurs and professional quartets sang his part-songs for male voices. Some of his works began to be published and performed in private concerts.

In September 1821 Schubert and Schober left Vienna for the country with the intention of writing Alfonso und Estrella, his only grand opera. Shortly after his return to the city, he met Edward Bauernfeld, who introduced him to William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) works. In the fall of 1822, having completed his Mass in A-flat, Schubert began work on the Symphony in B Minor, which became known as the Unfinished. Three movements were sketched; two were completed. It is not known why the work was left incomplete.

Schubert’s health began to fail, and in May he spent time in the Vienna General Hospital. Rosamunde, a play for which Schubert had written incidental music—only the overture and ballet music are heard today—failed in 1823 and brought to a close his extended efforts to achieve a successful opera.

Schubert now turned to chamber music, producing an Octet for woodwinds and strings and his A Minor, D Minor, and G Major Quartets. In 1825 Schubert formed the mainstay of the Schubertiads, evenings at which Schubert’s songs were sung.

In 1826 and 1827, despite the reappearance of his illness, Schubert wrote four masterpieces, each of which has remained a staple in his repertory (works commonly performed): the String Quartet in G, the Piano Sonata in G, the Piano Trio in B-flat, and the second Piano Trio in E-flat. Schubert was one of the torchbearers at Beethoven’s funeral in 1827. Toward the end of that year Schubert completed his two series of piano pieces that he himself entitled Impromptus.

In 1828 Schubert composed several first-rate works: the magnificent F-Minor Fantasy for piano duet, the C-Major Symphony, the Eflat Mass, and nine songs to Ludwig Rellstab’s poems. On March 26, 1828, Schubert participated in the only full-scale public concert devoted solely to his own works.

On November 11, Schubert began suffering from nausea and headache. Five days later the doctors diagnosed typhoid fever (a bacteria-caused disease marked with fever and the swelling of intestines). He died on November 19, 1828.

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