Anguish, fear, hope. The song lasts just over half an hour. But Arnold Schoenberg’s Erwartung is a tortuous and intense path through the unconscious. “The entire text takes place in a lapse of thought”, says soprano Adriane Queiroz. “Everything is born from a void that soon becomes an unrecognizable forest, a nature that cannot be controlled.”
Queiroz, a soprano from Pará based in Germany, where he is part of the stable cast of the Berlin State Opera, sings the work at the Municipal Theater of São Paulo this Friday, 8, and Saturday, 9, accompanied by the Municipal Symphony Orchestra conducted by conductor Alessandro Sangiorgi. The program also includes the Solar Sinfonia nº 4, Italiana, by composer Felix Mendelssohn – in other words, a concert made of profound contrasts.
Erwartung can be translated as Expectation. Schoenberg called it a monodrama and wrote it in 1909 from the poem by Marie Pappenheim, a Viennese physician specializing in dermatology, but with a declared interest in psychiatry. In her text, a woman walks through the forest. At one point, she comes across a body. He’s her lover. She tries to revive him while accusing him of being unfaithful. She even went her way and got lost in the darkness.
Schoenberg summed up his goal in composing the work: “To represent in slow motion what takes place in a single second of maximum spiritual excitement, a single second expanded to last half an hour.”
The idea for the work dialogues intimately with the moment in which it arises. Erwartung maintains a close relationship with German expressionism, in which subjective perception, normally marked by brutal conflicts, imposes itself on an idea of the real.
“There are different ways of reading Erwartung. Some think of the character in light of schizophrenia. Other people ask the question about the lover’s murder: had he been killed by his own wife?”, Adriane recalls. “But I don’t follow a naturalistic path, I prefer to think of the work in the light of the idea of the unconscious. Every thought has something behind it that suggests and defines it. And the text suggests just that, each sentence evokes something.”
And there is, of course, the forest. “The image of nature is very present in the 19th century, in romanticism. But here there is no idyllic relationship. There is no contemplation. The forest is active, and you are part of it. It means the loss of oneself in the midst of emotions”, says the soprano.
Sao Paulo’s city theater. Praça Ramos de Azevedo, s/nº. 6th (8), 20h; Sat. (9), 17h. R$ 10 to R$ 60. https://theatromunicipal.org.br
The information is from the newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo.