Please note our box office phone number is currently unavailable Please email for all enquiries

10. Rapunzel: Emily Christina Loftus & George Ireland

23 April 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

Emily Christina Loftus and George Ireland have chosen Rapunzel as their tale around which to build their programme. They write:

Rapunzel is one of the most well known characters associated with fairytales today, with its origins tracing back to Persian poet Ferdowsi’s 10th century work Shahnameh. This was the first known story to feature a woman lowering her hair to allow someone to climb up and gain entry to her home – a strong parallel to Charlotte Rose de Caumont de La Force’s story Persinette (“Little Parsley”) of 1698. This tale was in turn popularised in the German­‐speaking world by the Brother’s Grimm in 1812, who made a few changes of their own.

Rapunzel is a dark tale of abduction, manipulation and abuse – with a sprinkling of star­‐crossed lovers to capture the imagination of children. It’s a story with many characters: the parents and narrator, the two “protagonists” Rapunzel and the Prince, and the “antagonist” the Witch (or Fairy, who isn’t quite so wicked in the original Persinette) – therefore there was much to sink our teeth into.

As for this recital, the repertoire was chosen largely by spontaneous response to moments in the story, either to the characters’ situations or to elevate their emotional state. By programming this way, we were able to combine our knowledge of differing and varied repertoire and programme works that without the story would be unlikely to fit together. As Phillip Pullman remarked, “there is no psychology in a fairy tale” – the characters have simple motivations and fairly black-­and­‐white mental goings on, therefore leaving gaps of suitable size for the personalities of both composers and performers. This allowed us to delve deep into 20th century English works, French melodies in homage to Mademoiselle de La Force and prolific German lieder in response to the Grimm’s version. There really is something for everyone!

Rapunzel has been further popularised in the 20th/21st century through references by Angela Carter (Book of Fairytales/The Bloody Chamber), Philip Pullmann (Grimm Tales for Young and Old) and of course, Walt Disney (Tangled).

  • Hugo Wolf (1860 - 1903)
  • Der Gärtner (1888) No.17 21–23.i.1851 from Mörike-Lieder
  • Clara Schumann (1819 - 1896)
  • Lorelei (1843)
  • Henri Duparc (1848 - 1933)
  • Extase (1874)
  • Richard Strauss (1864 - 1949)
  • Junghexenlied (1898) Op. 39 from Fünf Lieder

21 April 2023 | 11:55am

A Grimm Weekend of Song

Previous Event
9. Rumpelstiltskin: Jonathan Eyers & Joseph Beesley
22 April 2023, 7:30pm - 8:30pm
Next Event
11. The Girl with No Hands: Katy Thomson & Rustam Khanmurzin
23 April 2023, 2:30pm - 3:30pm

Help us with a Donation

We rely on the generosity of our supporters to help us continue to bring song to Oxford. Please consider making a donation today.

Make a Donation

Select Tickets