An die Ferne (2020)

7 July ’20 > 31 December ’20


In this short music film about Beethoven’s An die Ferne Geliebte song cycle, baritone and actor Michael Wilmering takes on the role of no fewer than seventeen different characters. These seventeen portraits (and a dog) portray everyday escapism and longing for the unattainable here and now.

How do we fill the emptiness in our lives? How do we know if we exist? What shapes our sense of time? The way out may require looking beyond our comfort zone…

Ludwig van Beethoven, whose 250th birthday we celebrate this year, wrote his only song cycle, An die Ferne Geliebte, about the pain futile longing for an unattainable lover produces. The intense and stormy desire is reflected in the lonely lover’s surrounding landscape.

Music theatre-makers Lisenka Heijboer Castañon and Hendrik Walther were interested in the song cycle’s various theatrical and cinematic possibilities. ‘The songs tell a universally relevant story. Beyond being a series of love songs about the object of desire, it is a portrait of human loneliness, longing and pain. This offers many forms of elaboration. As such, this film version portrays many different characters and stories in parallel and concludes by asking whether sharing our suffering with others helps lessen it.’

In An die Ferne Michael Wilmering is accompanied by pianist Daan Boertien. The music film can be seen at the foot of this page. The project will be further developed this autumn into a live performance. (Dates TBA)

An die Ferne is a production of Opera Zuid and Operafront.

Do you want to support those who made this project and help future-proof opera? Donate to Operafront:

New Dutch Operafront VAT no. NL850654865B01. BIC: INGBNL2A. Chamber of Commerce (KvK) no. 52898563. IBAN: NL24 INGB 0004 5502 46


Vocals & acting Michael Wilmering


Concept, direction & design Lisenka Heijboer Castañon & Hendrik Walther
Piano Daan Boertien
Dramaturgy Niels Nuijten
Sound recording Frerik de Jong
Vocal coach Olivier Lallouette
Production Anna Huizing
Hair & make-up Roxane Zandijk
Language coach Miriam Kaltenbrunner