Last night there was a classikON Reserve at Behind Closed Doors at the Utzon Room in the Sydney Opera House.
It was a full house. I did not know what to expect. A collaboration between a theatre company (Red Stitch) and a quartet could go one of two ways! It had great potential to be an awkward and forced production, but it was compelling. Four actors told us the story of a quartet while the four members of the Flinders Quartet played their musical parts.
The piece was meant to give the audience an insight into the life of a quartet beyond the stage. It was a fly on the wall look at rehearsals, relationships and the marriage of four musicians and all of the trials that come with working in close quarters for long hours. There was an immediate tension to highlight the competing egos, opinions and agendas of four creative people trying to successfully perfect and perform as a quartet.
I found the work intriguing. I really wanted to know what happened next and how the musicians relationships would work out. As the musicians fictionally rehearsed small snippets of Schubert, I occasionally wanted to hear more. Every now and then I craved pure music – this wish was later granted.
While the end of the theatrical piece was a touch sentimental it was great to share in this story and see a new approach to the use of classical music, musicians and the creative process. Bravo to the actors whose performance was dynamic, well executed and believable, I have no doubt I will see in future productions.
After the intermission we were treated to the entire String Quartet No. 14 by Franz Schubert. I felt more familiar and better informed when listening to the music; I knew Schubert’s story better, could recongnise the tricky sections the musicians had fought over in Behind the Scenes and understood why the composer wrote this beautiful and moving piece.
As always, the Flinders Quartet gave so much of themselves in this performance and their interpretation of this piece left me wanting more.
It is great to see a new and interesting collaboration making its way onto the stage. Bravo to both groups for taking on such a momentous challenge. I look forward to more of this type of exciting collaborations in the future.
The Flinders Quartet
- Cameron Hill – guest violin
- Matthew Tomkins – violin
- Helen Ireland – viola
- Zoe Knighton – cello
Follow them on Twitter @flindersqtet
Red Stitch Actors Theatre
- Sarah Sutherland – Evelyn first violinist
- Tim Ross – Damien second violin
- Dion Mills – Stephen violist
- David Whiteley – James cellist
Follow them on Twitter @redstitch