Alongside the distinguished plenaries, Shakespeare and Scandinavia has extraordinary performers from the Sibelius Academy as well as the Protean Northman that is Edward IV. All of these events at the Rose Theatre are free and open to the public.
Her Infinite Variety
Performed by Elina Mustonen
Dramaturgy and direction by Johanna Freundlich, Nely Keinänen, Elina Mustonen
Music selected and arranged by Elina Mustonen
The title of Elina Mustonen’s performance is taken from Enobarbus’ speech about Cleopatra: “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale / Her infinite variety” (2.2). The Egyptian queen’s irresistible charms allow her to “make hungry / Where most she satisfies.” We interpret this phrase more broadly, seeing it as a fitting label for the wide range of female roles in Shakespeare’s plays. Shakespeare gives life to women of all ages, from young maidens being wooed, to young brides, wives, mothers, and female friends. We have selected key moments from a number of Shakespeare’s plays touching on the infinite variety of female roles in Shakespeare, interspersing them with pieces played on the virginal written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. You will hear a wide range of emotions both in words and music—love, desire, anger, ambition, frustration, fear, humour. We hope this program gives you a sense of the infinite variety not only of Shakespearean women, but also of the infinite beauty of Shakespearean verse translated into Finnish (and also Swedish), which many of you are probably hearing for the first time.
The performance is framed by the song “O Mistress Mine” from Twelfth Night, heard first in a version by Thomas Morley (1557-1602), and at the end in keyboard variations by William Byrd. Most of the works to be performed are from The Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, the largest collection of keyboard compositions from the period, containing mainly works by English composers. “The Fairest Nymph” is from a different collection, and “Strawberry Leaves” and “Tickle My Toe” are arrangements of pieces originally written for a consort of viols. “Toccata,” by the Italian composer Giovanni Picchi (1571/2-1643), is also in the Fitzwilliam collection.
Most of the music being performed was composed for the virginal, the most popular of the keyboard instruments during the period. Virginals were usually small, rectangular harpsichords with a single keyboard, and were well-suited for home use.
Elina Mustonen is one of the leading Scandinavian harpsichordists of her generation. She appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician in Finland and abroad. She has performed with major international artists such as Wieland Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Laurence Dreyfus, Reinhard Goebel and Masaaki Suzuki. She has also made several critically acclaimed solo recordings, e.g. the complete Suites and Partitas of J.S. Bach.
Elina Mustonen began playing the harpsichord at the age of eight. After completing her studies at the Sweelinck Conservatoire in Amsterdam with Ton Koopman, she earned a doctoral degree from the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Her dissertation was on J.S. Bach’s harpsichord pedagogy. She enjoys a wide reputation as a respected pedagogue in her field. Several of her students have been prize-winners in international competitions.
In the field of theatre Elina Mustonen’s major Shakespearean roles have included Prospero in The Tempest and Hippolyta/Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Her harpsichord playing is at the center of a stage production based on José Saramago’s Nobel prize-winning novel Baltasar and Blimunda. The production has toured widely in Europe at the invitation of Mr. Saramago.
Supported by The Sibelius Academy – The University of the Arts Helsinki.
See her website: www.elinamustonen.com.
Her Infinite Variety will be performed at the Rose on Thursday 8 Oct at 6.15 pm. (See Garrick’s Temple for additional performance.)
The Winter Of Our Discontent is an unconventional dramatic-recital that combines texts by William Shakespeare with the contemporary music of Hans Werner Henze and the historical music of John Dowland, Thomas Campion and Robert Johnson to conjure the spirits of Shakespeare’s most dramatic characters: Richard III, Juliet, and Lady Macbeth. This staged recital blurs the boundaries between the historical and the contemporary, the musical and the dramatic, the real and the imaginary.
The Winter Of Our Discontent was created by Canadian singer, Debi Wong and Finnish guitarist, Otto Tolonen. The project investigates a collaborative and interdisciplinary approach to creating classical music concerts and exhibits a new performance platform. It premiered in 2013 as a part of Ms. Wong’s doctoral study “The Art Of Storytelling: performance possibilities for the historically informed musician” at the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Since its debut it has been presented at the 2014 Doctors in Performance Festival and Conference in Helsinki, Finland, as well as the 2014 EuroClassical Online Festival, and at the 2015 University of the Arts Helsinki Research Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Performers: Debi Wong, Voice; Otto Tolonen, guitar; Mikko Ikäheimo, lute.
The will be performing at the Rose on Saturday 10 Oct at 6 pm. (See Garrick’s Temple for additional performance.)
Kåre Conradi is an accomplished Norwegian stage, film, TV and radio actor – with many awards to his name – who was trained at LAMDA and The Academy of Dramatic Arts, Oslo. Currently he is the Artistic Director of The Norwegian Ibsen Company and stars as Edward IV in Trevor Nunn’s The Wars of The Roses.
See his website for further information on this Norwegian superstar.
‘Plans for Norway’: Kåre Conradi in Conversation will take place Thursday 8 Oct 5.30 pm at the Rose.