Manchester Collective: Pierrot Lunaire at RNCM

Johnny James, Managing Editor
Image courtesy of Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM)

Manchester Collective: Pierrot Lunaire at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester, 16 November 2018, from £18 - Book now

Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire is one of the most significant works of the twentieth century. Setting 21 selected poems by Belgian symbolist poet Albert Giraud, it’s a melodrama which tells the bizarre story of a moonstruck clown. Delivering the poems in the Sprechstimme style, a vocalist (usually soprano) is joined by flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano in what is now referred to as a Pierrot ensemble. The music is written in a freely atonal style, pre-dating the composers famous twelve-tone technique by a decade, and the words conjure fantastical stories filled with strange psychological symbols. It’s a challenging work which has been intriguing and confounding audiences for over a hundred years. If there is any ensemble fit to do it creative justice, then it’s the wildly inventive Manchester Collective.

Founded in 2016, Manchester Collective produce innovative, daring musical experiences which aim to transform the audience experience. Intimate, immersive and utterly thrilling, their performances lessen the gap between audience and music, both literally and emotionally. By drawing audiences physically closer to the performers (they usually have the audience surrounding them), they facilitate a more visceral emotional engagement with the music. As a start-up, they have had an incredibly fruitful two years, and in 2017 were appointed the ‘Ensemble in Residence’ at The Stoller Hall in Manchester, where they continue to contort convention. Given that they are most at home with highly-charged, theatrical works, Pierrot Lunaire is a perfect choice for the collective.

Performed in English, in a new translation by David Pountney, Manchester Collective will bring the sensual and dangerous world of Schoenberg’s melodrama to life with a staged production directed by Emma Doherty. Australian soprano Lotte Betts-Dean has the job of delving deep into the troubled inner world of the female protagonist. Giving the audience a way into the emotional wreckage of the unnamed woman’s story, Pierrot Lunaire will be presented by NTS/BBC 6 broadcaster Elizabeth Alker, who will be a calm voice of guidance before the madness ensues. This is an exciting first opportunity to see Manchester Collective instil Schoenberg’s work with new life, before the project tours the UK.

Manchester Collective: Pierrot Lunaire at Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM), Manchester

16 November 2018 8:00 pm
From £18

Things to do right now

Powered by culturehosts
The Gruffalo at The lowry
Families Until 21 August 2022, from £10.00

The Gruffalo at The Lowry

Festivals Until 31 August 2022, from £9.95

Flying Fighters of Taiwan at HOME

Activity Until 31 August 2022, from £40

Northern Quarter Taster Walk with Manchester Food Walks

One Man, Two Guvnors
Theatre Until 3 September 2022, from £15.00

One Man, Two Guvnors

Exhibitions Until 4 September 2022,

British Art Show 9

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum
Families Until 4 September 2022, from £6.00

Power UP at the Science and Industry Museum

Families Until 4 September 2022, Free entry for under 16s when accompanied by a paying adult.

Summer Fun in Gaskell’s Garden

Activity Until 30 September 2022, from £25.00

Canoeing and Kayaking on the Mersey

Music Until 5 October 2022, from £5.50

Sounds of Nature at The Stoller Hall