Liederabend "Light and Darkness"
With this "Liederabend", an art-songs recital Mateja Potočnik, soprano and pianist Urška Štrekelj present their program "Light and Darkness".
“The eternal stars shine out as soon as it is dark enough.” (Thomas Carlyle)
Light and Darkness — as if one cannot be without the other. Either there are both or none of them; as if these eternal extremes were part of the Earth, its cyclical and thus human nature. Light and dark, hot and cold, war and peace, life and death, love and hate, hunger and gluttony, wealth and poverty, good and evil, heaven and hell, physical and spiritual, fidelity and adultery, trust and jealousy, justice and injustice — contrasts we keep reflecting on; states we would rather avoid; feelings we struggle to explain, but which have us project both the good (light) and the bad (dark) side of our being.
We are a thousand faces; as if carrying infinite experience, encounters, images, traits; as if each one of us were an entire humanity. We cannot even imagine the potential we hold inside: all that we are and what we are, in fact, capable of. It is in our nature to stay put and surround ourselves with what is familiar: Rather than stepping out of the “safe bubble” and our comfort zone, we play it safe and lead a humdrum life, always following the same path, sticking to the same old patterns, holding on to the same old relationships. When, however, faced with extreme situations, we are forced to leave the comfort zone and find ourselves in a place we have never experienced before, it is only then, I believe, a human being is capable of serving the highest good or committing the worst of deeds — the extreme ends of the scale most often depicted in Art.
Translation: Polona Potočnik.
Träume, Wesendonck Lieder, No.5 (Sanje)
Sole e amore (Sonce in ljubezen)
E l'uccellino (In ptiček)
Terra e mare (Kopno in morje)
Sogno d'or (Zlate sanje)
Liebestraum, No. 3
Koroške ljudske za glas in klavir (Slovenian Volksongs for Voice and Piano)
Nocoj pa oh nocoj
Sonce nizko je prsjalo
Roža tam v vrtu
Kaj ti je deklica
Pa j' upihnila luč
Mesec v izbi
Ganymed, D544 (Ganimed)
Allerseelen, Op. 10.No. 8 (Vsi sveti)
Zueignung, Op. 10 No.1 (Posvetilo)
Morgen!, Op. 27 No.4 (Jutri!)
Mateja Potočnik, Soprano
MATEJA POTOČNIK, a Slovenian-born lyric soprano, received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from the Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin in the class of Anna Samuil with the highest distinction.
In 2007, after eight years of piano study, she took her first singing lessons with Dušanka Simonović, while in 2009, her dreams of becoming a professional opera singer took her to the Kärntner Landeskonservatorium Klagenfurt in Austria where she graduated with the highest distinction in the class of Prof. Gabriel Lipuš.
Mateja Potočnik has made appearance around the world, her wide repertoire including operas, operettas, masses and art songs. Extensive collaborations have paired her with orchestras and conductors such as KSO Symphony Orchestra Klagenfurt under the baton of Amos Talmon and Wolfgang Czeipek, SFK – Symphony Orchestra and their conductor Ernest Hoetzl, Domorchester Klagenfurt with Thomas Wasserfaller, Celje String Orchestra and Nenad Firšt, Domzale–Kamnik Symphony Orchestra with Slaven Kulenovic, to name but a few.
She won the Prima la Musica 2010 competition in Austria while she successfully auditioned for the Young Soloists of 2011, making her debut at the Konzerthaus Klagenfurt with KSO Symphony Orchestra Klagenfurt. 2015 saw her debut at the Berliner Philharmonie Lunchtime Concert with excerpts from Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle. In 2017, she sang Mozart’s Krönungsmesse at the Musica Sacra music festival in Klagenfurt and was later invited to give a recital as part of the Young Virtuosi cycle at the Ljubljana Festival, Slovenia, where she debuted at the Križanke Theatre, accompanied by Sascha El Mouissi.
Ms. Potočnik made a successful role debut as Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan tutte, Marschallin in Strauss’ Der Rosenkavalier, and Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel as well as Ernestine in Offenbach's Salon Pitzelberger.
In addition to her studies, she has participated in masterclasses and workshops given by eminent opera singers KS Krassimira Stoyanova, KS Kurt Equiluz, KS Bernarda Fink, KS Thomas Quasthoff, Anne Schwanewilms, Martin Bruns, Helena Lazarska and Ronald Pries, while being mentored by Wolfram Rieger, Matthias Samuil, Byron Knutson and Karola Theill.
Ms. Potočnik was granted a scholarship of the Slovenian Ministry of Culture while being the recipient of the ZOIS Scholarship for Exceptionally Gifted Students.
Urška Štrekelj, Piano
The pianist URŠKA ŠTREKELJ graduated with honours at the Zurich University of the Arts (Züricher Hochschüle der Künste) in the class of Eckart Heiligers.
Zürich has also become her home town, because she works there as a pianist and a piano teacher.In 2019, she obtained her MA in the class of Prof. Karl-Andreas Kolly at the same University.After completing her primary music education under Alenka Mori, Urška Štrekelj started her professional music career at the Art Grammar School in Maribor, with her teacher Milena Sever.
In 2012, she finished her BA at the University of Ljubljana Academy of Music, where she also obtained her MA in 2014.Her BA and MA courses were both done under the tutelage of Prof. Vladimir Mlinarić.During her studies, she gained a wealth of experience taking part in musical competitions across the world.
In 2006, Ms. Štrekelj and fellow pianist Zala Čuček received the silver award at the TEMSIG competition, and in 2016, Ms. Štrekelj received the gold award at the international piano competition in Koroška.
Before going abroad, she worked at the Conservatory of Music and Ballet Ljubljana as an accompanying pianist for ballet, collaborated with the "Glasbeni atelje Tartini" private music school, and she also worked as a teacher at the private music school "Amarilis".
Her concerts often feature the compositions of international (Johannes Brahms, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Alexander Scriabin, Franz Schubert, Frédéric Chopin) and Slovenian composers (Lojze Lebič, Andrej Mison, Vilko Ukmar, Lucija Marijan Škrjanec). She also enjoys performing with chamber ensembles,and so she, among other performances, performed Brahms' Liebesliederwalzer at the "Mladi mladim" cycle at the Slovenian Philharmonic in 2010, took part in the Allegro Giovanissimo festivals (concieved by Marina Horak), the "Koroško kulturno poletje" festival, and the summer academy for young talents (mentored by Saša Gerželj-Donaldson).In 2012, she had a solo performance in the Red Hall at Ljubljana Town Hall, as part of the celebrations commemorating a Brasillian national holiday.
Despite her long years of studying, Urška Štrekelj often goes to seminars with prominent pedagogues, e. g. Konstantin Bogino, Oliver Kern, Marina Horak, Sonja Pahor, Ruben Dalibaltayan, Saša Gerželj-Donaldson, Nikos Zafranas, Djordje Milojkovic, Eckart Heiligers, etc.)
The recipient of the Zois scholarship, the Von Tobel Foundation, and the Beyeler Foundation says that her goal of, "being musician of breadth and a wealth of experience in various fields," is an important driving force in her life as an artist.