Schubert: Abendstern

Written by Miles Mykkanen


In category: Song of the Day

Published May 23, 2016

To start off my week of blogs, I wanted to feature the first song I ever sang for Maestro Blier. This somber poem by Johann Mayrhofer asks the prettiest star in the sky why it stays secluded, not joining the other stars around him. The star replies that it is because all the other stars don’t want the kind of love he has to offer and, no matter how hard he tries, they will never accept him.

I’ll never forget that first coaching with Steve when he opened my eyes to the depth of this song when it is projected next to Schubert’s personal life. Schubert was beloved by Vienna’s elite for his Schubertiaden (house gatherings which often centered around performances of the composer’s music.) Of course the gay, twenty-seven year old Schubert––who, despite his social popularity, couldn’t find anyone to unconditionally share his love––saw himself as the lonely star in Mayrhofer’s poem.

Here is a video of Matthias Goerne and Helmut Deutsch performing Abendstern:

Why do you linger alone in the sky,
o beautiful star? and you are so mild;
why does the sparkling crowd
of your brothers shun your sight?
“I am the star of true love,
and they keep far away from Love.”

So you should go to them,
if you are love; do not delay!
Who could then withstand you,
you sweet but stubborn light?
“I sow, but see no shoot,
and so I remain here, mournful and still.”

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An alumnus of NYFOS’s Emerging Artist program, Miles Mykkanen is gaining recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times). Fred Cohn of Opera News wrote of his performance in Eugene Onegin, “Mykkanen was a knockout as Lensky.  The lyric intensity of his singing made each moment count, and the duel-scene aria was a stretch of sheer vocal gold.”  Hear him this June in Ariadne auf Naxos at the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis.


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