1907 was an unfortunate year for Mahler: his daughter died and he was for the first time confronted with the heart disease which caused his death four years later. This suffering is intensely felt and heard in 'Das Lied von der Erde', both in Mahler's score and in his chosen poets. Reinbert de Leeuw made an adaptation of this masterpiece for an ensemble. Neil Wallace directed this adaptation in 2011 for the Rotterdam Operadagen. It was one of the highlights of the festival.
The sober directing, film and stage setting render the melancholy of the work visible in a contemporary way. A large video wall, several chairs, period costumes and a pile of dirt. This is all Mahler's slow and deep melancholy requires. Indeed, it makes the music all the more compelling. The audience sits close to the orchestra and a few metres from the singers. Every detail, every inflection, every sound of cello, harp and oboe can be enjoyed in all its beauty. This is musical theatre of the sort we like to offer you: powerful, and evoking the maximum experience with a minimum of means.