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ISSUE 119 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/23/2005

‘Die Schöne Mullerin’ delights

By Reed Favero
Contributing Writer


Friday, September 23, 2005

Tenor Dennis Peterson’s commanding voice filled every empty corner and crevice of Urness Recital Hall on Monday, Sept. 19 in a performance of Franz Schubert’s song cycle “Die Schöne Mullerin,” accompanied by pianist Sonja Thompson.

Die Schöne Mullerin is a twenty-five poem cycle. Wilhelm Muller wrote these cheerful poems for a popular pastime of his day: charades. These poems tell the story of a miller happily walking through the fields when he comes to a brook. He follows the brook as he looks for work.

The poem follows the trials that he endures after meeting another miller’s beautiful daughter along the river, whom he becomes deeply infatuated with.

The story ends sadly as the young woman does not return the miller’s love and he laments to the audience, heartbroken.

All of the poems in this production were delivered in the original German. However, the language added a certain mystique to the story and Peterson is such a masterfully enchanting performer that he completely drew in his audience with his actions and facial expressions.

The dapper-looking Peterson told the story in an animated, powerful fashion. While leaning on the piano, clad in his tuxedo and black-rimmed glasses, his face showed the emotion of every thought that went through the miller’s head as he shared his thoughts with the audience about the girl who is the object of his affection.

While the elegant Thompson masterfully accompanied Peterson, Peterson embodied all the excitement, joy, sexual tension and pain of the miller’s story. The tenor and pianist work together beautifully, as intimately as a Frank Sinatra/Tony Bennett collaboration back in their glory days.

Both musicians have impressive individual resumes, as well. Peterson has displayed his talent in numerous operatic roles, concerts and recitals. Some of his recent works include the New York premiere of Dead Man Walking, Turandot and Madame Butterfly.

Thompson is Professor of Music at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College.

She often collaborates with singers and instrumentalists, most recently providing musical direction in Honk, Jy.; The Belle of Amherst at Howard Conn Fine Arts Center in Minneapolis.

After the performance, students praised the concert. Most commenting thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

“The story was beautiful and deeply moving. Masterfully performed,” Ryan Nintzel ’07 said.

“Magical and very pleasurable,” Tony Olson ‘07 and Kyle Hanson ‘07 agreed.





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