Rising opera star, countertenor and recent finalist on NBC’s The Voice John Holiday — who recently made his debut with the Metropolitan Opera in Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice (December 16) and the New York Philharmonic in Handel’s Messiah at The Riverside Church (December 14 to 18) — stars in the film After/Glow by award-winning director Ryan McKinny.
A vibrant reimagining of Schumann’s iconic song cycle, Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love), the film embarks on a sensual cinematic journey, which fuses poetry, song and spoken word by acclaimed poet Marc Bamuthi Joseph. The film is available exclusively at Helio Arts, a new online platform at the nexus of film and the performing arts. After/Glow is the first project of Helio Arts and is co-executive produced with Drax Productions.
Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love) was composed in 1840, during a year which accounted for nearly half of Robert Schumann’s song output. It also marked the year he married pianist Clara Wieck, who provided the inspiration for the work and fueled the composer’s attraction to love lyrics. Featuring texts from Heinrich Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo (from his Buch der Lieder), the 16-song cycle was completed in the space of about a week.
“When John Holiday mentioned to me that he was looking at the ridiculously difficult task of both singing and playing Schumann’s Dichterliebe, I immediately knew we had to make it into a film. But not wanting to leave poor Heinrich Heine and Robert Schumann to do all the heavy lifting, I asked Marc Bamuthi Joseph to write new poems, inspired by the originals,” said McKinny, himself a lauded opera singer who also served as writer and editor for After/Glow. “A story of love and sex, despair and death started to form, and the end result takes Schumann’s beauty, Heine’s romanticism, Bamuthi’s visceral sensuality, Eboni Adams and DeMario Adams’ stunning screen presence along with John’s herculean musical performance and rolls them together into something truly special.”
After/Glow was developed with the generous support of arts and entertainment company Drax Productions and produced by Tonya McKinny. Cinematography is by Ryan McKinny and Tonya McKinny.To stream After/Glow, visit www.helioarts.com.