Diana Kantner (Conservatorium van Amsterdam, Classical Music - Voice) graduates with TROUBLED WOMEN, a recital with a total length of 1 hour and 20 minutes, within three parts. 

Within three parts, opera arias and songs of different epochs, style and language, center around a variety of moral questions from a female perspective. Each part is preceded by a soundscape, in which a female voice is being interviewed about the happening of events; the 3 parts talk about the events and the relationship in retrospective. The things being said in the interview stand representative for all of the relationships that the women in the pieces to follow face, borrowing sentences from their lines, combining them and letting the listener make their own associations. 

The first part (LOVE) describes the beginning of the relationship. It depicts innocent emotions around love, falling in love and testing the limits of faithfulness. 

The second part (SLIDE) describes the slow collapse of the relationship, different forms of manipulation and inner conflicts of female figures. The “sliding” stands for the German “ausrutschen”, which indicates a downfall as a result and symbolically stands for “going down the rabbit hole”.  

The last part (ATONE) stands for the necessity to atone one’s sins, which apparently are a woman’s desire to love whomever she pleases, be free, make her own choices, have doubts, be unfaithful and end a relationship.  

Diana Kantner: ‘The first time I listened to Britten’s cantata Phaedra, which was going to be the final piece of my performance, it was clear to me that injustice was being done. The young Phaedra, only 15 years old, marries the much older Theseus, hero and king of Athens. Theseus had once loved and used Phaedra’s older sister Ariadne, abandoned her at Naxos after she could not serve him any longer and went to abduct and marry Hippolyta, who bore their son Hippolytus. After she dies, Theseus abducted the nine-year-old Helena of Troy, to keep her hostage until she would be old enough to marry him. She could escape, so he married Phaedra instead, who at this moment is about the same age as his own son Hippolytus. Phaedra falls madly in love with her stepson, who rejects her and threatens to reveal her secret to Theseus. Out of guilt and despair, Phaedra sees no other option but to kill herself. This left me puzzled, and I asked myself: How can it be that this girl had to feel so much shame, guilt, and despair, which leave her with no other choice than suicide, while Theseus is free to kidnap, rape, marry, abandon and murder women as he pleases? How can it be that a woman is being held responsible for things a man doesn’t even have to justify himself for?  

This is not a problem of the past. In fact, the suppression of women happens today and tomorrow. Showing hair, legs, faces, eyes, not wanting children, having multiple sexual partners, being different and ‘crazy’: women are troubled, because society has told them for thousands of years that they have to live according to certain expectations. In my final performance, I revealed female figures who look for love and freedom, who try to fight for themselves, who fall into a trap or who have already given up. By telling their story, I aimed to create a point of contact and the possibility to relate to a modern audience, to push this matter forward in the arts but also in real life, as this subject is still so relevant. Opera houses and classical music struggle to keep a young audience entertained these days; with different forms of media, it is possible to rekindle their attention and interest for the master pieces of vocal music, which is my mission as a singer and performer.' 

‘How can it be that this girl had to feel so much shame, guilt, and despair, which leave her with no other choice than suicide?’


Arnold Marinissen, head of Classical Voice, and coordinator of the Master Profile Creative Performance Lab: 'In her final recital, Diana selected works that allowed her not only to present a great recital, but also to have a very direct exchange with the audience about aspects of behaviour and expectations, power relationships, injustice, inequality, and freedom in the relationship between women and men – in a historical and contemporary perspective. Diana achieved this by means of ‘voice-over’ excerpts throughout her recital, and through simple, but sublimely executed, theatrical aspects; all of this completely in conjunction with the sung works. In particular, the principle of ‘voice-over’ smashed the ‘fourth wall’ we know so well from the concert stage; it made the audience share very personal and relevant reflections and moods. A moving final recital, and a format that deserves to be continued and built upon in Diana's performance practice!'

Ria Marks, theatre maker (Orkater)/actrice/director: 'Diana has always shown incredible sensitivity for creative performance processes, the combination of different art forms such as voice, text, theatrical performance and movement. She manages to collect or compose material and finds unique and captivating ways of artistic interpretation and expression. She enjoys bringing characters to life and does so with a great sense of compassion and creativity. Diana constantly tries to find new layers of meaning, and spontaneously improvises with technical security and skill in her voice.'

A project of: Diana Kantner