Marlis Petersen with the Sirius Quartet:
New World — Into Liberty


New World - Into Liberty by the Sirius Quartet and the soprano Marlis Petersen - the much-acclaimed Lulu in the 2015 Metropolitan Opera production of the Berg masterpiece - is exactly as advertised: a meeting of a classical soprano and a string quartet. And once you’re here, you’ll experience something altogether different, manifested in the genre-defying repertoire, the stylistic differences between each musician, and in their virtuosic performances. Artists, it has been said, can create visions of the future. The Sirius Quartet in its collaboration with Ms. Petersen is an exemplar of how folks from different artistic and cultural backgrounds can come together as one: Fung Chern Hwei (violin) from Malaysia, Gregor Huebner (violin) and Marlis Petersen (soprano) from Germany; Ron Lawrence (viola) from the United States; and Jeremy Harman (cello) from Canada. In this production, we have a soundtrack for not only a new world, but a better one. Their encounter with Ms. Petersen creates something unique by using familiar repertoire and arranging it in a different way, adding improvisation and reharmonization. The theme of all the chosen compositions is liberty, peace and making the world a better place.

For example: Beethoven’s prisoner chorus, arranged for string quartet, as well as his Leonore Aria; Henry Purcell’s “When I am laid in Earth”; Schubert’s Erlkönig or Elgar’s Lux Aeterna will be part of their repertoire next to original compositions by the members of the Sirius Quartet.

New World - Into Liberty features music of many worlds. The five members of this Ensemble come from different countries and cultures. Yet many of the same political and societal forces are bringing tumult and dislocation across the world. These incredible musicians are creating music that speaks passionately to the times in which we live, and by so doing, are challenging the rest of us to imagine and ultimately manifest more harmony in the world.

"With her effortless coloratura, Ms. Petersen suggests the young woman’s flighty, ungrounded nature. But when crises come Lulu’s vocal lines turn crazed, with zigzagging leaps and sky-high sustained tones that Ms. Petersen sings with frightening intensity. And in Lulu’s moments of pensiveness and quiet fear, Ms. Petersen sings with a tender vulnerability that catches you off guard."

Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Click on each picture below to download hi-res version:

“It is not Mr Kentridge’s… interjections which catalyze the performance, but rather the incredible voice and dramatic presence of Marlis Petersen as Lulu…. Ms Petersen stole the show with her vibrant presence.”

Rebecca Lentjes, Bachtrack


“Erlkönig” by Franz Schubert:

Henry Purcell’s “Music For A While”:

Gregor Huebner’s “Der Troll”: