With 'Ogen open mond dicht' (Eyes open mouth closed) the vocal department of the Antwerp Conservatoire makes a striking contemporary comment on Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben. In a dramatic staging by Gidon Saks and with the skilful accompaniment of Jeanne-Minette Cilliers' 'collaborative piano' class, about forty students place the hashtag me too alongside this romantic song cycle about a woman's love for her husband. The fact that today we are all confronted with #covid-19 and the university college with a #cyberattack does not prevent this new generation of song bringers from taking a close look at the standard repertoire and performing it for an audience.
The narrow-minded 19th century view of women that in the poems of Adelbert von Chamisso is revealed in this production by the 3 extra songs that were added by the composers class. Together with the performance of the 9th poem 'Traum der eignen Tage' which Schumann himself did not set as part of the cycle, Gidon Saks places this in a powerful setting reminiscent of the dystopian television series The Handmaide's Tale but one that is, of course, coronaproof.
The piano accompaniment is in the hands of 3 Master collaborative piano students. It is a fairly new programme at our Conservatoire where pianists perfect playing together.
You can check the concert through livestream: