On January 9, the Consulate General of Switzerland in Mumbai and the Poona Music Society will present an evening of opera, art song, and chamber music, titled ‘Monteverdi to Sondheim’, as a New Year’s gift to lovers of Western classical music in Pune.
The five performers – tenors Lars Fischer and Sandeep Gurrapadi; soprano Antonia Thwaites; violinist Martha-Maria Mitu and pianist Chiara Naldi – come from different countries, Switzerland, Italy, Romania, the US, the UK, and India.
“We are very excited to be here and to share our passion and love for this music with the audience,” says Lars Fischer. In an emailed interview, he speaks about the range of emotions that can be explored through the pieces during the performance and how mischievous and fun Western classical Masters could be. Excerpts from the interview:
Q. Western classical music is a niche segment in India. How did you design this concert for the Pune audience?
Fischer: A member of our group, Sandeep Gurrapadi, has done many concerts of Western classical music in India. From his experience, the audience was highly interested and excited by the music. However, names such as Beethoven and Mozart are not household names yet as there aren’t many live examples of what their music felt and sounded like. On the occasions when they are performed, it’s usually a very serious matter. So we’re hoping to showcase how mischievous and fun their compositions were.
Q. How did you decide on the pieces for the evening?
Fischer: Initially, we were leaning towards a deep dive into a more obscure repertoire that would have been artistically pushing a boundary. But, this then, would have only catered to an audience that was actively seeking out this sort of music. We, eventually, found a middle ground by having a mix of widely appealing pieces, along with some more overlooked 20th and 21st-century composers. We’re hoping to present a programme that has something for everyone to get immersed in.
Q. What is the spectrum of stories or emotions that the selection of pieces explores?
Fischer: The stories and emotions are manifold and reflect all aspects of human existence: joy, laughter, friendship, love, heartbreak, sadness, impending death, and even a little of what might be after. Though most of the music is several centuries old, the stories are relevant and relatable still today.
The event will be held at Mazda Hall, Pune, on January 9, 2023, from 7 pm onwards and at the Royal Opera House in Mumbai on January 13.