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Winterreise Project Modernizes Schubert Classic in Time for Spring

Sunday, Feb. 3


Across the Treasure Valley, winter has blasted residents with snowfall, icy rain and frosty winds. Winter nights test not only warm clothing, but sometimes the soul itself. That's a sentiment at the core of Franz Schubert's Winterreise, a new Opera Idaho production debuting Friday, Feb. 1.

"Winterreise" translates to "winter journey," and while organized with operatic elements, The Winterreise Project isn't technically an opera. Instead, it's a song cycle penned by Schubert in the early 1800s as a setting for 24 poems written by Willhelm Muller. Through the lines of Muller's poetry, the tale of a young musician begins with the discovery that his lover has been unfaithful, unfolding into a harrowing emotional journey through a dark winter night.

Creators Jason Detwiler, a baritone with experience in a wide array of operas, and Lauren Edson, a dancer and choreographer formerly with Trey McIntyre Project, have added new elements to what is typically a two-person production comprised of pianist and singer. With The Winterreise Project, the pair incorporate dance and video to create a new interpretation.

"This will be sung in its original German," Detwiler reminds visitors on the Opera Idaho website, "But never fear, English supertitles are here! Just like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but without the fancy John Woo moves."

With this more modern take, organizers plan to incorporate vivid, fluid elements to reinvigorate the timeless production.