Marking the 100th anniversary of Gustav Mahler’s single session with Sigmund Freud, which transpired during a four-hour walk in Holland in the summer of 1910, Analyze This: Mahler and Freud© written and directed by Didi Balle is a tightly-scripted 90-minute symphonic stage show blending musical excerpts of Mahler’s symphonies and lieder with live theatre, psychoanalysis and visual art imagery.
Using the lens of this compelling incident in which the 50-year old Mahler sought Freud’s help in dealing with the discovery that 30-year-old Alma, his wife of eight years, was having an affair with the young architect, Walter Gropius, shadow aspects of Mahler’s creative and personal life are probed and revealed.
The subject moves beyond marital betrayal, delving into Mahler’s fears of death, his identification with Beethoven, his creative struggles as a composer and conductor, childhood memories, personal demons and restless ambition.
The astonishing results of this single-session with Freud transformed Mahler’s marriage and gave new meaning to his struggles. The respite from his demons and marital woes, however, was brief; within a year of their meeting, Mahler, at the height of his artistry and fame, died.
Freud later remarked that no person had so quickly grasped the complexities of psychoanalysis than Mahler. Mahler’s inexhaustible creative genius and relentless striving to express “the entire world in a symphony” is brought to life and celebrated in Analyze This: Mahler and Freud©.
For a first hand report on the making of Analyze This: Mahler and Freud© check out Bret McCabe’s fun and fascinating Q&A with writer-director Didi Balle published in the Baltimore Paper.
Read Author Didi Balle engaging NPR essay “A Composer On The Couch: Mahler Meets Freud” depicting the events that led the celebrated conductor and composer to seek help from Vienna’s own shrink to the stars: Dr. Sigmund Freud.