GUSTAV MAHLER’S Kindertotenlieder and Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire are dark song cycles written in the first part of this century. The former is a meditation on the death of children, the latter, a hallucination of insanity. Not exactly cheery subject matter, and at only a half-hour apiece, these morose musical journeys wouldn’t seem especially promising as stage productions. This winter, as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers’ “New Visions” series, two separate presentations turn to unconventional means as a way of unpacking an evening’s worth of theater out of these haunted masterworks.
This month, renowned Canadian stage director Robert Lepage tackles the Mahler cycle, five songs set to poems by Friedrich Rückert. As in his large-scale Seven Streams of the River Ota, in which he juggled disparate time frames to explore humankind’s ability to recover from atomic cataclysm,
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