The poignant and tragic love story of Robert and Clara Schumann told in words and music will be webcast live on WNYC.org, followed by audio stream of conversation with Sting and Trudie hosted by WQXR's Elliott Forrest
Proceeds from this event will benefit the Music Unites Youth Choir and the Royal Opera House Education Programs
New York, NY – On Thursday, December 3rd, WNYC’s The Greene Space and Classical 105.9 WQXR together with Music Unites will host the New York premiere of Twin Spirits, a poetic meditation on the passionate relationship between composer Robert and wife Clara Schumann. Following the film, WQXR host Elliott Forrest will convene a conversation with the film’s leading couple, Sting and Trudie Styler.
In addition to the live studio audience, listeners around the world will be able to watch the film online through a live video stream at www.wnyc.org/thegreenespace and www.wqxr.org beginning at 6:30pm, followed by an audio stream of the post-film discussion.
The evening is being held as a benefit for the New York-based music education charity, Music Unites, and the Royal Opera House Education programs.
Released this fall on DVD and Blu-Ray disc on Opus Arte, Twin Spirits tells the story of the passionate romance and subsequent marriage between composer Robert Schumann and pianist and composer Clara Wieck. Twin Spirits brings together nine diverse performers of the highest caliber: Sting joins his wife, actress, producer and philanthropist Trudie Styler to read from the letters between Robert and Clara. Their story, narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi, is illustrated and interwoven with music composed by Robert – whose spirit is embodied by pianist Iain Burnside, baritone Simon Keenlyside and violinist Sergej Krylov – and by Clara, who is evoked by pianist Natasha Paremski, soprano Rebecca Evans, and cellist Natalie Clein. This “beautifully constructed” production (BBC Music Magazine), a subtle and moving fusion of recital and drama, was devised by the stage director and writer John Caird.
Love began to blossom between Robert Schumann (1810-56) and Clara Wieck (1819-90) when she was a teenager and he was the student of her father, Friedrich Wieck, who made every effort to impede the relationship. She was one of the 19th century’s greatest pianists and herself a composer of note. After a legal battle with her father the couple finally married in 1840. In the 1850s their happiness became compromised by Robert’s increasing mental instability, which resulted in a suicide attempt in 1854; he died in an asylum in 1856. Clara, who lived for another 40 years, devoted her considerable energies to propagating her husband’s music, which is at its greatest in his intimate works for piano, voice and chamber ensemble.
Twin Spirits was recorded before a small audience in a studio space at London’s Royal Opera House shortly before Christmas 2007. All the artists involved donated their talent and time so that everyone buying a copy will be supporting the important work of the Royal Opera House Education Program which provides opportunities for some 90,000 people annually to engage with opera, music and dance.
The New York-based charity Music Unites shares the goals of the Royal Opera House Education Program and was therefore an ideal American partner organization for this event. Music Unites aims to heighten the appreciation of music across all genres, raise awareness for established musicians and emerging talent, support music education programs and bring music into the lives of people in under-served communities. Music Unites hopes to inspire and encourage musicians to contribute to the vitality and wealth of musical expression, which enriches the cultural life of any community.
Proceeds from the Twin Spirits screening will benefit the Music Unites Youth Choir, bringing together public high school students from across the five boroughs in an effort to create a diverse performance ensemble. Participants will study and perform compositions in all musical styles including classical, musical theater, R&B and gospel and have the opportunity to perform at Music Unites events and collaborate and be mentored by established Music Unites artists including Lang Lang, Blue October, Tamarama, Chester French, Peter Bjorn & John, John Forte, Howie Day, Mark Ronson and Daniel Merriweather. Music Unites will also be creating opportunities for students to interact with music industry professionals, giving them access to well-known cultural venues for practice and performances through a special partnership with the Young Audiences of New York.
The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space is WNYC’s new multi-platform broadcast studio and performance venue. A new destination for artists and audiences, The Greene Space presents live performances, signature WNYC radio shows and video webcasts, and special programming from WQXR — with concerts, audio theatre, political and cultural discussions, film, visual arts, public radio events and more.