Music and poetry from the Zweig Collection

Samuel West

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Bringing masterpieces from the collection to life with Samuel West

An evening of live music and readings, featuring actor and director Samuel West as Stefan Zweig, showcasing some of the ‘Sublime Figures’ - composers and writers – who are included in Stefan Zweig’s collection of manuscripts, now held at the British Library. The collection includes masterpieces by Mozart, Bellini, Keats, Goethe and Balzac. Join us as our curators select some of their favourite works and bring them to life.

Samuel West, best known for his role in the film Howards End and his work on stage, is joined by soprano Ilona Domnich, baritone Simon Wallfisch and pianist Simon Callaghan in a carefully curated programme that weaves diary extracts, poems and music together to tell the story of Stefan Zweig’s life.

Musical programme

Mozart, ‘Das Veilchen’ (words by Goethe)

Beethoven, ‘Der Kuss’, op. 128 (words by Christian Felix Weise)  

Schubert, ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ (words from Goethe’s Faust) and ‘An die Musik’, D 547 (words by Franz von Schober)

Mahler, ‘Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht’ and ‘Urlicht’ from Des knaben Wunderhorn 

Wolf, ‘Gesang Weylas’ from Mörike-Lieder, no. 46 (words by Eduard Mörike)

Strauss, ‘An die nacht’, op. 68 no. 1 (words by Clemens Brentano)

Krenek, ‘Die Zerstörung Magdeburgs’, from 5 Goethe Lieder

Strauss, ‘Beim Schlafengehen’ from Four Last Songs (words by Herman Hesse)


Ilona Domnich (soprano)

Ilona Domnich is a rising opera star described by critics as possessing a memorable voice of silken beauty with a luminous edge to the tone, a sensitive musician and an actress of magnetic presence. 

Her operatic roles include Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Melisande (Pellease et Melisande), Gilda (Rigoletto), Tatyana (Onegin), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Pamina (Die Zauberflöte), Mimi (La Boheme), and the Countess (Le Nozze di Figaro).  She has appeared with English National Opera, the BBC Concert Orchestra, Grange Park Opera, Buxton Opera Festival, and English Touring Opera.  Recent concerts include appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Westminster Cathedral, St. Johns’ Smith square, and St. Martin in the Fields and in Paris, Jerusalem, Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.  An operatic CD entitled 'Surrender' with the baritone Leo Nucci was released by Signum records in 2015.

Simon Wallfisch (baritone)

Born in London into a musical family, Simon Wallfisch is in international demand as opera and concert singer. Recent operatic appearances include Marcello (La Boheme), Pelleas (Pelleas et Melisande) and Escamillo (Carmen) with English Touring Opera, Teatro Verdi Casciana Terme (Pisa) and the National Reis Opera (Holland).  As a recitalist, Simon has performed in the Oxford Lieder Festival, the Purcell Room, Wigmore Hall, St Georges Brandon Hill Bristol, King's Place, the London Song Festival, International Wimbledon Festival, the Lieder Society of Victoria (Australia) and festivals in France, Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Australia, Canada, Switzerland and Liechtenstein.  His growing discography includes Songs of Geoffrey Bush on Lyrita Records and a disc of French Songs on Nimbus Records. 


Simon Callaghan (piano)

Steinway Artist Simon Callaghan’s recent tours have taken him throughout the UK, Asia and Europe, and to all of the UK’s major concert halls including Wigmore Hall, Royal Festival Hall and Birmingham Symphony Hall.  His interest in rarely-performed works has led to invitations to perform concertos by Françaix, Tippett and Medtner.  Simon’s discography includes music by Sterndale Bennett, Parry, Sacheverell Coke and two volumes of Delius with the pianist Hiro Takenouchi (on SOMM).  In 2017 he will release his debut CD in Hyperion’s Romantic Piano Concerto series: the first recordings of Sacheverell Coke’s Concertos with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Martyn Brabbins.  Callaghan is also Director of Music at Conway Hall, where he oversees the longest-running chamber music series in Europe.

Enjoy food and drink purchased from the Knowledge Centre Bar from 18.00 and after the event until the Bar closes at 22.00.

An accompanying free display Stefan Zweig: The Magic of Manuscripts (21 February – 11 June 2017) in the Treasures Gallery will showcase some of the treasures from Zweig’s collection.


Name: Music and poetry from the Zweig Collection
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546