A woman’s love and life

Hamilton Press - - OUT & ABOUT - RE­VIEW

It’s a per­for­mance that’s been in my mind now for a few days, and I think that may have been the in­tent of the per­former.

But can it be called a per­for­mance? Per­haps a jour­ney, an out-of­body ex­pe­ri­ence, a dream?

Soprano Stephanie Acra­man and pi­anist Pene­lope Cash­man’s Frauen­liebe und Leben was more than just a singer croon­ing on stage.

In the re­ver­ber­a­tion of one of the Gal­lagher Acad­emy of Per­form­ing Arts con­cert cham­bers, Acra­man’s voice en­veloped, it ca­ressed. It wasn’t akin to any­thing I’ve heard re­cently.

Opera can only be found if you know where to look.

Frauen­liebe und Leben opened the new Ger­man Lieder Fes­ti­val, with which Pene­lope Cash­man was in­vited to tu­tor stu­dents.

Ade­laide-based Cash­man is a pi­anist and vo­cal coach. Acra­man is the head of per­for­mance mu­sic at the Waikato Uni­ver­sity Con­ser­va­to­rium.

To­gether, they en­thralled the au­di­ence on a Sun­day af­ter­noon with their wide range of skills.

Robert Schu­mann’s Frauen­liebe und Leben was pre­sented in the sec­ond half.

Writ­ten in 1830, the set of po­ems de­scribe the course of a woman’s love for her man, from first meet­ing through mar­riage to his death. The melodies moved from heartwrench­ingly slow, to hur­riedly up­beat, then painfully poignant.

The Ger­man lyrics trans­lated in the pro­gramme spoke of blind­ing love, un­wor­thy mono­logues and joy of new life.

Some may worry the lan­guage bar­rier will be off-putting, but your ears will thank you for tak­ing the chance on an art form orig­i­nat­ing more than 300 years ago, as my ears thanked me.

Acra­man’s show was a pre­lude to her stu­dents’ up­com­ing per­for­mance City of Stars. The mu­sic theatre show­case will be held on Septem­ber 23 and 24. Ar­rive 7.30pm for an 8pm open­ing.

Re­viewed by Kelley Tantau.

Soprano Stephanie Acra­man has a soft spot for ro­man­ti­cism.

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