hun/ eng
my basket
Compassion is more important than ever


Compassion is more important than ever

Interview with Olivia Vermeulen

Olivia Vermeulen, a Dutch mezzo-soprano, will sing the soprano part of the St Matthew Passion at our Compassion concerts at Müpa Budapest on March 24–25–26.

Júlia Váradi: What are your thoughts on Iván Fischer's idea to insert other musical pieces into Bach's timeless masterpiece, the St. Matthew Passion?

Olivia Vermeulen: I have had only one rehearsal yet, so I don’t know at this moment, how it will sound, what is going to happen, but I have so much respect for Iván that I am sure, it is going to be amazing. This is why I wanted to be part of it. I was already engaged to a big tour with the St Matthew Passion, but when Iván Fischer asked me to join the project, I said to my agent, of course if Iván is doing it, I want to be part of it. Because I knew that for me, he is among the few musicians in the world, who really inspired me. If I am with him on stage, I feel like I can fly and I understand the real reason why I am singing.

J. V.: I learned that you have sung the St Matthew Passion several times. Is that because you like it so much?

O. V.: Yes, I have done it many times, it is for me the most precious music in the world, what I love to perform any time.

J. V.: For you who knows this wonderful music so well, doesn’t it cause any fear or uncertainty that your singing will be interrupted by some very different music? Or are you even more excited how it will sound?

O. V.: I am very excited, otherwise it wouldn’t make sense to take part in it. Of course, we all know that this is a kind of holy piece, so there will be probably people who think that it is not a good idea to divide it into parts. But as I said before, I trust Iván so much that I think this idea can even add something to it. And in these days, as we find ourselves trapped within repetitive routines, I think we must be open to the new ways of approaching music. I am really very interested in this new solution.

J. V.: You come from the Netherlands, and you live in Switzerland as far as I know. Although these two countries are fortunately not part of the dark side of the world where in these days people suffer so much because of wars, of killing, of crimes and of starving, as e.g. Ukraine and Izrael, but you are surely concerned about what is happening in the other parts of world. What do you think about the idea of compassion, what is also the title of the upcoming concert?

O. V.: I live in a country which is not threatened – thank God –therefore I feel very privileged. Nevertheless, I feel so helpless and so frustrated that the future looks darker and darker. With my profession I sometimes feel that I cannot contribute with anything to change it to the better. Of course, I know that by music I can give people some moments that they can enjoy, but in a more concrete way it is difficult for me to add something to their life what makes them feel better. Because I am not a doctor, not a politician, or an activist, who can directly help. But that’s why I have so much respect for Iván that with the Compassion concert we might be able to give something different, something new to the people who are so frustrated and polarized. I really think that to feel compassion is more important than ever.