A Song Cycle by Othmar Schoeck
with Oskar McCarthy

Saturday 17th October at 6:00 pm


Oskar McCarthy sings Schoeck's song cycle about a man who is buried alive.

Tickets £12 including a Hendrick's Gin Cocktail.

In 1927 Swiss composer Othmar Schoeck adapted the poetry of his fellow countryman Gottfried Keller to produce the song cycle "Lebendig Begraben" which tells the story of a man who awakes to find he has mistakenly been buried. Firstly he panics and hopes that his girlfriend or a friendly grave robber will come to his rescue; then he begins to reminisce in his coffin about his childhood, youth and first love, until finally he casts his soul into eternity in an acceptance of his fate. James Joyce heard "Buried Alive" performed when he was living in Zurich in 1935 and declared Schoeck better than Stravinsky. He immediately sent out for a German dictionary so that he could translate the libretto into English. The premise of the novel Joyce was about to begin work on at the time, Finnegans Wake, bears an uncanny similarity: a man is prematurely laid to rest and wakes up to find himself in his coffin. Could "Buried Alive" have inspired one of the most famous novels of the 20th Century? Oskar McCarthy studied English and Modern Languages at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, where he was a choral scholar. His operatic roles include Uberto (La serva padrona) and Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) for Pop-Up Opera, Falke (Die Fledermaus) for OperaUpClose, Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) and Secrecy (The Fairy Queen) for Barefoot Opera, Dottorre/Marchese (La traviata), Angelotti/Sciarrone (Tosca), Escamillo (CarMen) and Orest (Elektra) for Secret Opera, Angelotti (Tosca) and Bello (La fanciulla del west) for Midsummer Opera, Trinity Moses (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) for King's Opera, and Arsamenes (Serse) and Edmund Bertram (Jonathan Dove’s Mansfield Park) for Hampstead Garden Opera. Recent concert work includes the role of Zurga in Bizet’s Les pêcheurs de perles, Mozart and Duruflé's Requiems for the Brandenburg Choral Festival and Handel's Messiah for the National Portrait Gallery. Recital work includes Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder for the 2014 London Month of the Dead and the premiere of John Whittaker’s Shakespeare Songs for Opera Anywhere.