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In Love’s Triangle: Wagner, Mahler, Wolf & Schiele
In Love’s Triangle: Wagner, Mahler, Wolf & Schiele

Tue, Jun 04

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New York

In Love’s Triangle: Wagner, Mahler, Wolf & Schiele

Time & Location

Jun 04, 2024, 6:30 PM – 10:00 PM

New York, 7 E 95th St, New York, NY 10128, USA

About The Event

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Perhaps, each of us, sooner or later in life, faces the fact that a ‘love triangle’ transcends a philosophical abstraction and becomes part of our real experience. For me, this theme is not just a theoretical concept but, fortunately or unfortunately, a part of my past

A love triangle is not just a social conflict or a plot for a soap opera. Exploring love triangles through the prism of the lives and creativity of such genius figures as Wagner, Mahler, Wolf, and Schiele, we can try to unravel the mystery of true love, honor, and dignity.  

Wagner found himself involved in a love triangle more than once. Initially, his feelings for Mathilde Wesendonck, the wife of his benefactor, remained platonic (at least, that is the belief), but then his relationship with Cosima von Bülow, the daughter of Franz Liszt and the wife of his friend Hans von Bülow, developed into a true passion and led to marriage. These relationships caused scandals, but for Wagner, they were an expression of true love and striving for harmony - both in music and in life. 

Gustav Mahler, in turn, who fully dedicated himself to music, essentially relegated his wife Alma to the background, limiting her creative ambitions. Alma, whose desire to express herself through music was suppressed, found consolation and self-realization in the arms of other men. Was this to be seen as her sacrifice in the name of art or an injustice that spawned even more passions?  

Hugo Wolf, having fallen in love with the wife of his benefactor, found himself in a complex emotional trap where his feelings collided with duty and gratitude. This secret affair, invisible on the surface but reflected in his music, raises questions about where the line between personal happiness and loyalty lies.  

Even more scandalous love triangle formed in the milieu of Viennese Modernism between Gustav Klimt (who also had a brief affair with Alma Mahler), his student Egon Schiele, and their common muse Wally Neuzil. The relationship between the teacher and the student, both of whom shared a passion for exploring human emotions (both were accused of promoting pornography!) and relationships through art, adds an extra layer of complexity to their creative and personal lives. Egon Schiele, in particular, left us portraits filled with emotion and tragedy, reflecting his deep contemplation of the dark side of love - both as erotically destructive and as a purifying and elevating force.  

These stories show how love triangles can be not only a source of personal drama but also a path to self-discovery, to understanding the eternal values of love, honor, and dignity. On this path to self-discovery, I will be aided by the delightful German-Austrian singer Ute Gfrerer, the magnificent artist and filmmaker Ilya Kalnitsky, and excerpts from the film by the outstanding Italian director Michelangelo Antonioni.  

Musically yours, 

Leon

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