Perhaps no composer captured the emotional roller coaster of lost love with greater humanity, understanding and conviction than Gustav Mahler in his orchestral song cycle, Songs of a Wayfarer.
The Northern Neck Orchestra and mezzo-soprano Erin Wind will perform Mahler’s romantic tale of heartbreak on Sunday, March 19, at St. Clare Walker Middle School in Locust Hill and on March 26 at the Northumberland High School in Heathsville. Both concerts begin at 3 p.m.
“Masters of the Romantic: Brahms, Mahler, Schubert and Ravel,“ also includes Franz Schubert’s Symphony in B Minor (Unfinished), Johannes Brahms Tragic Overture and Maurice Ravel’s Bolero. The orchestra is conducted by Michael Repper, music director and conductor.
Mahler wrote both the text and the music for the four songs in Songs of a Wayfarer in 1884 after his devastating rejection by a sweetheart who marries another suitor. The orchestra and Wind will perform three of the four songs.
“The songs are very challenging for me artistically because of the vocal power and stamina they require,” said Wind. “The piece is a whirlwind of passion and conflict, downright operatic in delivery.”
Wind noted the music poses further demands as the songs dramatically shift between grief, happiness, bleakness and hope mirroring the spiritual turmoil of the jilted lover.
“Mahler’s music has an extraordinary ability to capture raw emotion,” she said. “Though it can be a very bumpy ride, it’s well worth the trip.”
Performances by Wind include the Italian in Algiers with the Summer Garden Opera in Farmville, Virginia and The Magic Flute with the University of Northern Iowa Opera.
She premiered the role of Ichabod Crane in the Baroque pastiche, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow with the Capitol Opera Richmond.
She has appeared in the opera company’s productions of The Tender Land, Hansel and Gretel and Die Fledermaus, including a 2015 performance at Good Luck Cellars in Kilmarnock to benefit the Northern Neck Orchestra. Wind sang French art songs with the Capitol Opera Richmond last year at an orchestra benefit also hosted by the winery.
Wind, of Richmond, also is a songwriter, received her bachelor’s in music education from Longwood University and master’s in voice performance from the University of Northern Iowa.
Tickets are $25 and available at northernneckorchestra.org, or at the door. Students are admitted free with an online reservation.