In Schönberg’s Pierrot Lunaire Marianne Pousseur is cruel and repulsive; her singing is like balsam, like honey to the ears. She is simply a genius.” Télérama
Having completed her education at the Conservatory in Liège, where she studied singing and chamber music, Marianne Pousseur began to perform with Philippe Herreweghe’s Collegium Vocale and La Chapelle Royale. Working at the same time for the Théâtre du Ciel noir, managed by Isabelle Pousseur, she performed in a stage adaptation of Pierrot Lunaire by Arnold Schoenberg – a performance which became the starting point for the film with Ensemble Musique Oblique, directed by Philippe Herreweghe and recorded for the Harmonia Mundi label. She has been regularly invited to perform with the Schoenberg Ensemble of Hague, Die Reihe (Vienna), Remix (Porto), Risognanze (Mediolan), ASKO (Amsterdam) and the Ensemble Intercontemporain, founded by Pierre Boulez. Pousseur achieved fame through performances of 20th century repertoire and roles in music theatre. Together with Enrico Bagnoli, she has co-authored many stage works, including John Cage’s Song Books, Le Chant des ténèbres based on songs by Hanns Eisler and Bertold Brecht, Francis Poulenc’s The Story of Babar and Maurice Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges. She was also the narrator in concert performances of many renowned works of symphonic music such as César Franck’s Psyché and Grieg’s Peer Gynt, performed by Orchestre National de France and the London Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Kurt Masur. It was with her in mind that Georges Aperghis composed the Dark Side in the year 2004 (staged in Athens with Ensemble Intercontemporain) and then Ismène, inspired by a poem by Yannis Ritsos and transformed into an opera for solo voice and staged in autumn of 2008.
Marianne Pousseur is currently professor of voice at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels.
Thanks to its avant-garde character combined with a modern sound, Pierrot Lunaire has provided worldwide fame for Schönberg. In the 20th century it has also inspired such works as Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Boulez’ Le marteau sans maître (The Hammer Without a Master). The work achieved instant success. It has since been considered a masterpiece and Roland Manuel has thus expressed his admiration: “The incomparable colour of the music in Pierrot Lunaire, an expressive image of a nightmare unfolds before us, a rending cruelty which switches instantly from irony to sobs, from terror to tenderness, a source of exquisite beauty […].”