Photo: Allan Clayton in A Winter’s Journey, with projected image of painting by Fred Williams

photo credit: Bradbury Studios

A Winter’s Journey

Wed 7 Dec 2022

Tickets from £15 + booking fee

Tenor Allan Clayton and Australian pianist Kate Golla perform A Winter’s Journey, which sets Schubert’s Wintereisse in a projected visual panorama of paintings by the celebrated Australian landscapist Fred Williams.

Schubert’s famous 1827 song cycle, a setting of 24 poems of love and loss by the German writer Wilhelm Müller, explores one man’s journey through the extremes of a winter landscape. In this version, produced by Musica Viva Australia and its Artistic Director, Paul Kildea, the luminous landscapes of the late Australian painter Fred Williams provide the wanderer no more comfort than the snowy European panoramas evoked by Schubert and Müller. By surrounding this Romantic-era winter journey with Williams’s 20th-century images, the production celebrates the timelessness and universality of Schubert’s great work. The production is directed by Lindy Hume, with projections of artwork by Williams and videography by David Bergman which sees the visual journey evolve through the details of the painted landscape

Kate Golla comments: “The way Lindy Hume and David Bergman have picked out individual raindrops and specific colours affects what we do with the songs in a way that I hadn’t really imagined. There are certain parts where the pictures are linked up to certain brushstrokes, and it’s almost exactly what I’m doing in the piano part. It enhances and makes everything almost tangible. The images really bring the music to life.”            

Fred Williams (1927–1982), a towering figure in Australian art, was known particularly for his unique representations of the Australian landscape. He saw the country differently, painting the land underneath seasonal patinas, and thought distinctively about perspective in nature which he painted through varnishes and glazes, sweeps of ochre and blobs of paint, creating colours that change depending upon light or the angle of view. A Winter’s Journey features projections of 24 of Fred Williams’s landscapes, painted between 1946 and 1975.

Allan Clayton has received widespread acclaim for his performances both on the concert platform and in the opera house, including for recent performances in the title roles in Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes (at the Royal Opera House) and in the premiere of Brett Dean’s Hamlet (at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and more recently at New York’s Metropolitan Opera).

Pianist Kate Golla is in demand as a soloist, repetiteur, chamber musician and teacher (including at Guildhall School of Music & Drama). She works regularly with Glyndebourne Festival Opera, the Royal Opera House, English National Opera and has worked internationally with Sydney Symphony Orchestra and with Hamburg State Opera, Norwegian National Opera, Opéra de Rouen Normandie and Paris Chamber Orchestra. 

A Winter’s Journey is supported by the Australian Government as part of the UK/Australia Season 2021-22.

Find out more here.