9. Rumpelstiltskin: Jonathan Eyers & Joseph Beesley

22 April 2023, 7:30pm - 8:30pm

Jonathan Eyers and Joseph Beesley have chosen Rumpelstiltskin as their tale around which to build their programme. They write:

I have a childhood memory of a well-thumbed picture book of Rumpelstiltskin which I used to love. The Rumpelstiltskin portrayed in the illustrations was a gnarly, warty, conniving, and also magical creature that inspired revulsion alongside wonder. When asked to choose one of the Grimm tales, it seemed like an obvious choice for me as it was very familiar. While being a pithy story, it also had scope in its setting, descriptions, and characters. There seemed to be great potential in mining the ingredients of the story and finding clear representation of these through song, such as 'Gretchen am Spinnrade' for the spinning wheel, which is integral to the story.

It also seemed that it would be simple to connect the character of Rumpelstiltskin with the evil-magical-character trope that is seen frequently in German romantic Lieder, which we show in 'Der späte Gast' and 'Der Zwerg'. However, upon multiple readings of the text, it became apparent that there is much more complexity and depth to Rumpelstiltskin.

He isn't the clear-cut bad guy that I remember from my childhood picturebook. He is someone who is alone, rejected, maligned, and pushed to the fringes of society. The one thing he can have total ownership of, the thing that is his greatest prize, is his name, and shows that there is such power in knowing one's name and not being able to say it (as explored in the two Duparc songs, 'Soupir' and 'Élégie').

Having the opportunity to commission a new piece for this performance meant that, in wonderful collaboration with Emily Hazrati and Nazli Tabatabai-Khatambakhsh, we were able to explore the other sides to this man. Through our programming we are hoping to set the scene and to present stereotypes alongside fresh character assessments, to explore just how different stories can be depending on who is telling them.


  • Franz Schubert (1797 - 1828)
  • Der Zwerg (1822) D771 1822-1823

21 April 2023 | 11:55am

A Grimm Weekend of Song

Previous Event
22 April 2023, 6:15pm - 7:00pm
Next Event
10. Rapunzel: Emily Christina Loftus & George Ireland
23 April 2023, 12:00pm - 1:00pm

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