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Kokoschka's Doll

 09 July 2017 at 3pm 

Kokoschka's Doll

Cheltenham Festival

United Kingdom

Rozanna Madylus mezzo-soprano
John Tomlinson bass

For Alma Mahler, the painter Oskar Kokoschka (1886–1980) was just one of a string of eminent lovers, but for Kokoschka his brief affair with the widow of Mahler was to haunt the rest of his life. Shortly after the liaison ended, in 1914, he commissioned a life-size doll of Alma, which he took to concerts and other public events, finally destroying it at a party to which all his friends were invited. The Counterpoise ensemble explores their tempestuous affair and subsequent obsession through a sequence of music and text featuring the work of Gustav and Alma Mahler, Wagner, Webern and Zemlinsky, followed by the premiere of John Casken’s Kokoschka’s Doll.

As seen through the eyes of Kokoschka as an older man, world-renowned bass John Tomlinson evokes the passions unleashed by the affair against the background of the physical and psychological traumas the artist suffered in the First World War.

David Matthews : The Art of Love: Alma Mahler’s Life and Music
John Casken : Kokoschka’s Doll

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