Da Camera Artistic Director Sarah Rothenberg, recognizing this rich period in history, used it as the setting when she conceived Vienna 1900: In the Garden of Dreams, an immersive multimedia piano and vocal concert experience that delves into the human psyche through projections, art and text.
Rothenberg has updated Vienna 1900 and expects to draw new audiences for the upcoming reprisal, though she has cast the net much wider than Austria, including works by German contemporaries: painter Max Klinger, composer Johannes Brahms, poet Stefan George, as well as Swedish playwright August Strindberg.
"The singing is in German, the language of Vienna, but we have developed some very interesting ways of having English translations integrated into the piece; it's part of the visuals," says Rothenberg.
Brahms, who was an innovative and influential composer, had so inspired Klinger that the artist created his own Brahms song cycle and, channeling the emotions he felt from listening to the music, created illustrations that captured those feelings.
"We move to the world of Gustav Klimt, incredible paintings of flowers that symbolized so much more than flowers, erotic images of women, all tied to dreams, and [Fischer] is playing the role and she is really like an early patient of Freud going through analysis, having these incredible dreams," says Rothenberg, who describes the segment as very passionate and emotional, with the visuals integrated and choreographed with the music.
Arnold Schoenberg's Book of the Hanging Gardens transports us to the passionate and aristocratic world of poet Stefan George's Hanging Gardens collection, where — as love fades away — so does the once flourishing garden.
Rothenberg is a quadruple-threat in this immersive experience; not only is she on piano, but the concept, scenario and direction are all hers. The approach brings together those who love literature, visual arts and the music of the Romantic era, hopefully introducing audiences to new frontiers. Projection design is by Sven Ortel, lighting and set design are by Marcus Doshi, and costume design is by Marina Draghici. The 70-minute concert will be performed without intermission.
Vienna 1900: In the Garden of Dreams will have its New York premiere in 2020.
The performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. February 1-2 at The Hobby Center, 800 Bagby. For information, call 713-524-5050 or visit dacamera.com, $37.50 - $67.50.