A woman’s love and life
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.