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Gustav Mahler

A Video Album

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Welcome to this video album of socially-distanced performances of selections from Gustav Mahler's settings of poems from 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn' (The Boy's Magic Horn).  This project was the brainchild of Anthony Raumann, the chairman of the Gustav Mahler Society in the UK (www.mahlersociety.org), and is presented here by Pontiac Enchanté, in partnership with the society.  

When the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns abruptly halted all live performances around the world in March 2020, artists and presenters began to think of new ways to musically collaborate, and continue to bring music to their audiences.  This project represents one such effort.  The performers in the videos here are based on opposite sides of the Altantic Ocean: pianist Carson Becke filmed the piano parts to these songs at the Venturing Hills Concert Studio in Luskville, Canada (home of the Pontiac Enchanté concert series), while singers Caitlin Hulcup and Florian Thomas filmed the vocal parts from their home studio in Oxford, UK.  

The piano parts were filmed first, and then Caitlin and Florian sang their vocal parts while listening to the piano parts via earbud headphones.  Behind their camera, a screen was set up so they could see Carson's visual cues.  This process of collaboration was not easy, and was made more difficult by the rhythmic flexibility and spontaneity that is a hallmark of Mahler's music.  Once the vocal and piano parts were finished, they were combined by John Warner, conductor of the Orchestra for the Earth (www.orchestrafortheearth.co.uk), and an experienced audiovisual editor.  Among the many challenges at this stage were blending the two audio feeds so that they sounded as if they were recorded in the same acoustic.  The results of this time-consuming and exacting work at every stage of the process are a set of performances, by artists who have never met, that sound as if they were recorded in concert, with all of the flexibility and spontaneity of live performances.  

If you enjoy listening to these socially-distanced performances, please consider donating what you can to the Gustav Mahler Society through the button below (or the one on the album page) so that they can continue to produce innovative projects like this one.  To find out more about the performers, continue reading the biographies below.  If you would like to know even more about the project, there is an interview with the artists and engineer at the bottom of this page, conducted by Anthony Raumann.  

Anthony Raumann (Chairman, Mahler Society)

interviews: 

Caitlin Hulcup, mezzo-soprano

Florian Thomas, tenor

Carson Becke, piano

John Warner, project engineer

Songs from 'Des Knaben Wunderhorn'

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Caitlin Hulcup has appeared at leading opera houses internationally, including the Wiener Staatsoper, Deutsche Staatsoper Berlin, Royal Opera House London, Bayerische Staatsoper, Teatro Real Madrid, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Théâtre des Champs Élysées, Scottish Opera, La Monnaie Brussels, Theater an der Wien, Bolshoi Theatre Moscow and Palau de les Arts Valencia.  She made her debut at the Wiener Staatsoper in 2004 as Enriquetta in I Puritani. Since then roles have included Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier for Maggio Musicale Fiorentino with Zubin Mehta in a new production by Lorenzo Mariani; Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni for the Palau de les Arts Valencia with Mehta; Meg Page in Falstaff under Daniele Gatti and Cesare Catone in Utica under Alan Curtis, both for Théâtre des Champs Élysées; Diana/Il Destino in La Calisto at La Monnaie in Brussels under René Jacobs, and

About the Artists

Austrian tenor Florian Thomas studied voice  in Vienna at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst and has a background in law and musicology. He is now performing as a soloist in oratorio, concert and opera, also giving Lieder recitals in Austria, the UK and Australia. Florian recently appeared as Erik in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer under Anthony Negus, successfully jumping in at short notice for Longborough Festival Opera. He was the tenor soloist in Richard Blackford’s cantata Voices of Exile with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, conducted by Gavin Carr and sang the role of Don José in Bizet’s Carmen for the Dartington Festival under conductor David Angus. In August 2019 Florian sang the role of Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in a new production London for Fulham Opera under Ben Woodward. Future engagements include the tenor part in Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde in London.Prior to launching a solo

Canadian Pianist Carson Becke has performed extensively in Canada, Great Britain, Continental Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the Caribbean.  A versatile pianist, he is at home as a recital and concerto soloist, chamber musician, and vocal collaborator.  He is also the artistic director of Pontiac Enchanté, a concert series in Luskville, Quebec.  After moving to the United Kingdom in 2005 to study at the Purcell School, Carson completed his undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music in London, where he worked with Tatiana Sarkissova.  Following studies in London, he completed an M.Phil. degree in performance and musicology at the University of Oxford, supported generously by the Sylva Gelber

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Caitlin Halcup

Arbaces in Artaxerses at the Royal Opera House under Ian Page.  Caitlin sang the role of Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia, at the Wiener Staatsoper with Yves Abel and with Jean- Christoph Spinosi. She sang as Iseult in Le vin Herbe by Frank Martin for Welsh National Opera and as Penelope in Il Ritorno di Ulisse in Patria for the Royal Opera Covent Garden with Christian Curnyn. Caitlin recently debuted as Fricka in Die Walküre at the Esplanade Singapore with Tse Law Chan and the Orchestra of the Music Makers. She was also featured in the live Digital Concert Hall broadcasts of the Oxford Lieder Festival 2020 with Sholto Kynoch and Jonathan Stone. Highlight concert engagements have included Beethoven's 9th Symphony with Gustavo Dudamel in Venezuela, Mahler’s Knaben Wunderhorn at the Sydney Opera House with Mark Wigglesworth, Mozart’s C minor Mass with Jeremie Rhorer in Hamburg, and Beethoven's Missa Solemnis with Martin Haselböck and the Wiener Akademie. Caitlin also performed Mahler's 2nd Symphony with the SSO and chief conductor David Robertson, Mahler's 8th Symphony in Scotland with the RSNO under Peter Oundjian, and the Angel in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with David Parry.  She is a professor of voice at the Royal Academy of Music in London, UK.

Florian Caitlin
career, Florian gained extensive experience on the operatic stage at the highest professional level. While living in Vienna he appeared at the Vienna State Opera, at the Salzburg Festival and in numerous international tours with the Wiener Staatsopernchor and the Konzertvereinigung Wiener Staatsopernchor under conductors such as Peter Schneider, Kirill Petrenko, Ingo Metzmacher, and Asher Fisch.  In these contexts, Florian was also regularly selected to perform minor solo roles such as; Leopold (“Der Rosenkavalier”), Ambrogio (“Il barbiere di Sevilla”), Guard (“From the house of the Dead”), Mill worker (“Lady Macbeth from Mzensk”), Deputato (“Don Carlo”), Customs Sergeant (“La bohème”). Florian additionally served as member of the Hofmusikkapelle Wien during this time, regularly singing as a soloist with conductors including Franz Welser- Möst, Erwin Ortner and Johannes Prinz, and he appeared in oratorios and masses in major venues; Musikverein Wien, Konzerthaus Wien, Stephansdom Wien, Dom Graz and Dom Wiener Neustadt among them.
Music Foundation of Canada.  He completed his doctorate (D.Phil.) in musicology at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, about Richard Strauss. He is grateful for the support of the Canadian Centennial Scholarship Foundation towards his doctoral studies.  Alongside his research on Strauss, he is working on a multi-album recording project featuring Strauss’s piano, chamber, and art song repertoire.  The first two of these albums are available on iTunes and Spotify (an album of lieder with mezzo soprano Wallis Giunta, and a solo piano album).  After living in the UK for 14 years, Carson moved home to Ottawa in 2019 where he continues to work as a freelance musician.

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