Has Madonna ever visited Cardiff Wales

The somewhat different opera magazine. Passionate and independent.


Short opera stories rather than one Brief history of the opera in 35Imagesn are the second edition of Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich's opera guide that the author could no longer complete himself. Ten years ago the work was published under the title “Hohes C und tiefe Liebe”, did not have the desired and hoped for success and is now at least reworked, with additional chapters on Henze and Rihm and an illuminating epilogue by Wolfgang Molkow.

An opera is presented in each of the individual chapters, whereby the bel canto does not play a role, the 19th century is read quite quickly with only one Verdi and one Wagner opera, Slavic is more represented than Italian, the unknown is just as common as the overly known.

As an introduction, the author states that modern directors like von Neuenfels have freed the opera from the accusation that it does not occupy the mind adequately, that the Handel Renaissance only succeeded in the second attempt and that considerable progress was achieved through surtitles. Obviously his position is somewhere between profile neurotics and faithful Orthodox, he touches on the subject of homosexuals as an opera audience or the optics as a disguise for vocal deficiencies based on rock stone productions and the vocal performances of the soprano Anja Silja. The author has included his 35 favorite operas in the book, who in every line of his book proves to be passionate about the genre and who rightly emphasizes that his book cannot replace an opera guide and is not for the unprepared reader. And by no means should they hope that they can learn the history of the opera by looking at photos. There is not a single one.

Above the individual chapters, in addition to the title of the respective opera, there is either a brief expression of opinion, a reference to a current occasion or a certain event that is related to it, as an introduction.

After reading the first chapters it becomes clear that the focus of the considerations is less the music than the libretto, the genesis or reception history, in the case of Monteverdi's "L'incoronazione diPoppea“Even the genesis of the genus as such. Casting questions such as the examination of the formal elements and the role of the gods in the early works are presented in a vivid and entertaining way. At Glucks Orphée In general, the Orpheus myth, the term “reform opera” and questions of key characterization are in the foreground. Personal childhood experiences flow into the remarks on Magic Flute one of today's stumbling blocks such as misogyny and the N word was probably not yet condemned when the first edition appeared. Different directorial approaches play a role and references like the one on Mörikes Mozart upthe trip to Prague. Will the chapter be about Fidelio in praise of the simple libretto, so said about the Mastersinger to determine the fatality of the C major key. The statement on the final monologue of the Sachs is rather vague, since the author does not refuse to express general concerns without it being impossible today, more than ten years ago.

It becomes critical with the transition to Italian operas, which the author does not know as well as the rest of the repertoire, because otherwise the following errors could not have found their way into the book: Gilda im Rigoletto does not go in a "passive path of pain", but sacrifices himself very actively for the faithless Duca, the Messner in Tosca does not incite the acolytes against Cavaradossi, Musetta is not ladylike, Anna in Le Villi is not a saint and a whore, Liù does not allow himself to be slaughtered, but kills himself, Butterfly has not written many "glowing love letters" to Pinkerton, Sharpless is not "vague as his name", but takes several positions against Pinkerton, the marriage was not for 99 years old, but the lease, Pinkerton certainly has a first name, namely Benjamin Franklin, the child appears not just once, but twice. And that Kate Pinkerton is sterile should not be proven after such a short marriage. All of these may be small inaccuracies, but they reduce the reader's confidence in the text to the extent that he cannot verify its truthfulness.

Especially in the chapter about CarmeIt becomes clear that the author can rightly claim to be taken seriously as a scientist, but that his text also contains strong essayistic tendencies to the benefit of the entertainment-conscious reader. He stands at Nietzsche's side when he sees a contrast to Tristan and the Meistersinger in French opera, created “with great effort and hardworking”. And do Don José and Micaela come from the Basque Country? That would have been a long journey for the young girl, whose costume is clearly assigned to Navarre in the libretto.

Interesting are the explanations on why the Dialogues of theCarmelites have found a place in the repertoire to what extent operas from other times of horror could be a special way of "coping with the exudation syndrome", what comparisons there could be between Poulenc and Julien Green, both Catholic and homosexual. This chapter, too, is less about the music and more about the structure of the work.

Far more space is given to contemporary opera in the book than on the repertoire, as far as Henze is concerned, not just one, but the entire work. From the young lord until L’Upupa enough are the statements that see Henze as a composer who produced "young wine in old bottles". Here, too, the composer's librettist are more at the center than the music, the reflection of contemporary problems in the play of disguise and exposure.

According to the author, the composer Lachmann “grew into the aging of new music” and was subject to the “prohibition of repetition in modern times”. This chapter is very much about music, about the Andersen fairy tale as a metaphor for Gudrun Ensslin, and the author believes that as long as it is “Theater that works like this make a touchstone for themselves and their audience, opera culture is still alive. "

The afterword is very interesting, also because it is equally in agreement (dear Cornelius ‘ barber as for the 100th time of the Rossinis) as for doubt (Lohengrin and Tannhauser suspicious of kitsch) and because the much scolded Richard Strauss is taken under protection against Adorno. Incidentally, he is represented in the book with three works (Wolke Verlag 2021, 295 pages, 2nd expanded edition; ISBN 978 3 95593 254 1).Ingrid Vanya

This post was published in non-fiction by Geerd Heinsen on. Keywords: A short history of the opera in 35 pictures, Hans-Klaus Jungheinrich, Wolke Verlag.


“Constantly drinking, eating, knocking cards. Yes, they can while we toil. " With the complaint of the cook Bejlja, Ulrike Patow's German translation sets the tone for the palace revolution in the house of the rich madame. We down there, those up there. Even Nestroy had in his local farce On the ground floor and first floor poor swallower and millionaire faced each other while preparing for a ball. Scholem Alejchem's Yiddish one-act play Mazel Tov! from 1889, which found its way into the repertoire of Yiddish theaters in Moscow and Warsaw, concentrates on the servant perspective that Mieczyslaw Weinberg used in his eponymous German We congratulate!translated short two-act act with relish and with a lot of Yiddish music sprinkles and klezmer sounds. In contrast to his most famous operas, which premiered posthumously The passenger and the one that was only given in Mannheim in 2013 Idiot, came the 1975 chamber opera We congratulate! in 1983 during Weinberg's lifetime at the Moscow Chamber Opera for the world premiere. Generously presented on two CDs Oehms Classics now the 80-minute two-act recording of the German premiere in Henry Koch's version for chamber ensemble from the Berlin Konzerthaus from 2012 (2 CDs OC 990).

So Bejlja (the contralto Olivia Saragosa) complains about the past years and that she has no husband. The tone of noble prosody and the extremely skillful and artistic dressing are well known. Then the poor bookseller Reb Alter (the tenor Jeff Martin) appears, followed by Chaim, the servant from the neighboring house (the baritone Robert Elibay-Hartog), and Fradl, the maid of the Madame (the soprano) whom he adores Anna Gütter), a. The distribution of the couples is clear: while the Madame reminds the staff of her daughter's engagement, the servants stage their double wedding, "Whether we are poor or rich, honor is due to all!" about food and wine, wealth and literature are a bit leisurely and in the first act rambling, at the same time completely undramatic, and are only caught by Weinberg's pointed and repeatedly surprising instrumentation and the waltz, polka and hop-dance mosaics. He dedicated the score to Shostakovich. He reaches the pointed joke and the grotesque dimensions of his teacher, for example with the quotation from Chatschaturjan's Saber Dance, only in the second act, which ends with the clever vaudeville “Money no longer rules the world”. Vladimir Stoupel and the Kammerakademie Potsdam keep the piece, which is musically lagging behind in its time, in a transparent floating tone, which ensures high text clarity, and advantageously exhibit the solo instruments, the flute of the overture, the bassoon assigned to Reb Alter or a violin solo. The ensemble is sufficiently well set up, first and foremost Jeff Martin, who moves into the center of the performance with excellent diction and polished tenor in the funerary song on Scholem Alejchem or the petty song “At home we were ten boys”; only Katia Guedes, as a Madame, does not have enough stature to withstand hearty failures like “The plague on you!” or "Damn pack! Wretched! All misfortune about you! "to make the turn of the story believable.Rolf Fath.

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Opera. Keywords: Mieczyslaw Weinberg, Oehms Classics, Congratulations.


The English baritone BenjaminHewat craw,just 28 years young (he came to Germany at the age of 22), not only did his latest CD with Schuberts Winter trip and their unusual cover ARSan interesting splash. In conversation with Ruth Wiedwald, too, one has an interesting, thinking To do artists and people, who has also just chosen Germany as his permanent residence - a welcome post-Brexit import.


I.Your debut CD came out last autumn (2020): Schuberts Winter trip in duo with the pianist Yuhao Guo. After this feat of admission (and during the lockdown), how have you spent the past few months?We recorded the last week before the first lockdown. It was a close thing, but of course we were very happy to have finished the recording back then. After that we started talking to different labels and we are very happy that we decided on ARS Produktion. We feel very supported there and are already planning our next CD with the label. Yuhao and I had concerts when the lockdown wasn't that extreme. We performed in the Mönchengladbach Theater and in the DA Kunsthaus Kloster Gravenhorst, which was very special because we recorded the CD in that monastery. We have also prepared for competitions - the Hugo Wolf competition in Stuttgart and The song in Heidelberg. So despite the lockdown, we always had something to do!

Benjamin Hewat Craw and companion Yuhao Guo / Photo BHC

How did it come about that you, of all people, Schubert's for your debut Winter trip have chosen? We wanted to announce our arrival in the international song scene with a bang. That's why we chose that Winter tripdecided. On the one hand, I don't think there is a more iconic song cycle than Winterreise. On the other hand, we wanted to bring our youthful energy into the interpretation of the piece. We found it very exciting to show how different our perspective on the work might be.

Yuhao Guo and I had been making music together as a lied duo for three years and we were particularly concerned with the winter trip. We decided relatively early on to take a picture of it.

As a young person and singer, what is it about the pieces that particularly moves you?I think in their youth, people tend to be more extreme in everything they do. Life is less comfortable and you discover the limits of life in these lifetimes. In this piece the protagonist discovers his psychological and physical limits.

Sense of fun: Benjamin Hewat-Craw and Yuhao Guo / Photo BHC

I can only speak for myself, but I have always been able to identify strongly with this cycle. The musical exploration of the darker side of man has fascinated me since I was the Winter trip I heard it for the first time ten years ago.

Why would you recommend this to young people today Winter trip to listen?I recommend young people to listen to the cycle because it fits in very well with our age with its challenges. We live in a time when we spend a lot of time alone, not only because of the corona crisis, but also because of social media. In the cycle we experience how the protagonist deals with his loneliness. I believe that this can give a lot of young people courage and show that they are not alone, but that we are all alone together. Everyone who gets involved with the work will experience: It gives people what they really need. This music and poetry can convey something that is really important. We want to bring that directly to the people.

For the cover of your debut CD, you and Yuhao Guo wrapped themselves in fox skin and styled them in an extraordinary way. Actually very different from the romantic claim of the songs. Do you love the unconventional in the conventional?We want to appeal to young people our age who use Facebook and Instagram. The whole package has to be right. Many people buy by appearance - only to discover something beautiful in them! We think we can add something new and interesting to it. It is so important to convey the richness of classical music to the next generations. That's one of the reasons why we decided on a somewhat flashy cover design. The look arouses curiosity at first - but then comes the real surprise: Behind the hip packaging there is absolutely serious art that meets the highest demands, that is emotional and intense.

It is just as unusual that at the age of 22 you decided to leave your home UK and go to Germany. What made you do that? At that time I was taking lessons from a baritone who lived in Germany. I came to Germany to learn more from him and to work with him more intensively. In retrospect it was difficult to start a new life here, but at some point I was naive and interestingly that helped. It was easier back then to risk more with a move like this.

What do you like about Germany?I generally love the appreciation of the cultural scene. I know that the government has rightly received a lot of criticism in these corona times. Opera houses and concert halls are closed, and that's a shame. I understand the seriousness of the situation, but at least the workers in the theaters continue to receive financial support and there are generous subsidies from the government for the independent cultural scene. From an international perspective, Germany is at least a paradise for art compared to other countries in Europe. I am trying to rate everything here as positive, because the situation here is comparatively very good in general.

Serious: Benjamin Hewat-Craw / BHC

What are your future plans? Winter trip on tour (if it should be possible again) or do you already have new projects that you can tell us about?A Winter trip-Tour is definitely planned. Appearances in Berlin and Hamburg are being planned. Our next CD will be one with English songs. It will contain three cycles by Vaughan Williams, Butterworth and Gurney, all written in the ten years before the First World War. The title of the CD will be Never such innocence againsein, which in German means something like Never again such an innocence. It will be released in March 2022. The interview was conducted by Ruth Wiedwald for operalounge.de (allPhotos @Benjamin Hewat-Craw; https://www.benjaminhewatcraw.com/).

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Portraits / Interviews. Keywords: Benjamin Hewat-Craw, Yuhao Guo.


As is well known, after one comes two. The very gratifying recording of the first symphony by Johannes Brahms with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under its honorary conductor Herbert Blomstedt is now joined by the Symphony No. 2 D major op.73(Pentatone PTC 5186 851). A complete cycle is planned.

In fact, the Querstand label has already presented a recording of this work in the same combination from the year 2000. 19 years later (the new recording was made in October 2019 in the Gewandhaus in Leipzig) the tempos of the 92-year-old conductor at the time became a little brisk, admittedly never too hastily (21:04 - 9:37 - 5:04 - 9:06). The sound quality surpasses the already very good sounding predecessor; There are no disturbing background noises despite the explicitly mentioned live character.

This D major symphony went down in music history as the “Brahmsen's Pastorale” because of its life-affirming cheerfulness. Unlike its predecessor in C minor, from which it differs greatly, it was written in a short period of time in 1877. Its premiere in Vienna under Hans Richter was a triumph for the composer. Eduard Hanslick saw the work as proof that "one (of course not everyone) can still write symphonies after Beethoven".

Blomstedt succeeds in creating the great first movement, in the lyrical as well as in the dramatic passages, absolutely ideally typical, in the best sense of the word. A return to the basic mood of "Back to nature" of Beethoven's Pastoral can hardly be denied. The following Adagio, a mixture of song and sonata movement, can be considered one of the most compelling slow movements in Brahms' oeuvre. One can agree with Jörg Peter Urbach's opinion in the booklet that an unusually strong closeness to the antipode Anton Bruckner can be demonstrated here. In terms of its dimensions, the dance-like third movement has the lowest weight. In any case, Brahms did not intend a real Scherzo here. In the final movement, the main theme of the first movement is taken up again. This finale with all its artful variations can be seen as an absolute highlight in the late romantic symphonic, with applause as it were composed.

The new release is rounded off by a fiery ten-minute performanceAcademic festival overtureC minor, Op. 80which, despite its nominal key, became the epitome of a festive mood of jubilation and adequately complements the second symphony. Unlike her sister who Tragic overture, she is highly valued by the audience to this day. Especially the popular student song Gaudeamus igitur as a theatrical Maestoso degree certainly contributes a very considerable part. It was created in the summer of 1880, a year and a half after Brahms was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Breslau on March 11, 1879.

A very welcome continuation of this brand new cycle, which has already come halfway. Artistically and sonically excellent. We are looking forward to the outstanding symphonies No. 3 and 4. Daniel Hauser


Herbert Blomstedt, the humble American with Swedish roots, who is now 94 years old, is a phenomenon. Rightly the Nestor among today's conductors, he experiences his old age, not entirely dissimilar to Otto Klemperer Indian summer, although he has been somehow always present since the 1950s without ever striving for the status of a “star conductor”. Blomstedt is too respectable and serious for that. It is therefore practically obvious that the music of the North German Johannes Brahms is in good hands under his leadership. Nonetheless, he had to go over ninety before he could finally get an official recording of Brahms' great first symphony on the label, which is always a surprise Pentatones can submit (PTC 5186 850).

As the connoisseur knows, it is of course not a first encounter, as Blomstedt already dealt with Brahms ‘works decades ago and already during his time in San Francisco (1985-1995) presented the German Requiem, which was critically acclaimed, to Decca. Even before his appointment as Gewandhauskapellmeister in Leipzig, he recorded the fourth symphony in 1996, again for Decca. The Querstand label released a recording of the second symphony from 2000 and a live recording of the third symphony, recorded in 2007, was released in the Decca Concerts series, which is only available for online download. So the circle closes, so to speak, in that the first finally follows, which is at the beginning chronologically, but in a certain way represents the climax of Brahmsen's symphonic oeuvre.

Almost every high-ranking conductor has at some point in his career with the C minor symphony op. 68dealt with that Hans von Bülow as Beethoven's tithe ennobled. Hardly any symphony has had a more drawn-out process of creation than this work. A whopping fourteen years had to pass before it was finally ready for its premiere in 1876. There is an interesting parallel to Leopold Stokowski, who was also 90 years old at the time, who performed Brahms' First again in his spectacular return concert in London in 1972. Even if the type of conductor that Stokowski embodied could hardly be more different, it is, as it were, a connecting element to the aged Blomstedt. Brahms's First Symphony is by no means a work for beginners. And the age-wise access that Blomstedt gave to this Magnum opus can grow speaks for itself. With 50 minutes of playing time, he chooses the appropriate time measures that do not even ask about tempo. It sounds right from the first to the last bar. The monumental first movement, here 17 minutes long, with one of the most memorable preludes in the entire symphony, already points the way. No phrasing, no matter how small, is accidental, everything is well thought out and convincing in itself. Although the interpretation cannot be denied a North German seriousness, it is nonetheless by no means of a cool academic rigor that suppresses any feeling in the beginning. Blomstedt's Brahms is a deeply human, approachable one, which stands out especially in the dreamy, slow second movement. The lightness of the short third movement, which is not really a scherzo, forms the ideal contrast to the titanic finale. With a dark timbre, the excellent Gewandhaus Orchestra achieves the tone that is exemplary for Brahms. Blomstedt does not allow himself to be tempted to pick up the pace in the Adagio introduction. Only after almost exactly five minutes does the memorable hymn sound as the main motif and again the brilliant conductor keeps the reins firmly in his hand. The coda naturally reaches its climax, with the chorale theme clearly having Protestant-ascetic traits. The detailed work right up to the end, where the brass players who often drown here, can boast once again, is great. The justifiably praised acoustics of the Gewandhaus in Leipzig support this in a congenial way. As an addition, rounds off the Tragic overture D minor op.81the compact disc. It is wrongly overshadowed by the more famous Academic Festival Overture. In its dark, festive character, this piece is certainly closer to the first symphony than to the second, after which it was composed in 1880, so the combination chosen by Pentatone makes sense. In Blomstedt's interpretation, this overture, too, loses some of its gravity and sounds exemplary.(Further information on the CDs / DVDs in specialist shops, from all relevant mail order companies and fromwww.naxosdirekt.de.). Daniel Hauser


This entry was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Spiritual / Choral Music, Instrumentales. Keywords: Camilla Tilling, Herbert Blomstedt, Mariss Jansons, Pentatone, RCO.


Maria Kouba(genborene Strobl, historically Boshart, gdb February 2, 1922) Austrian soprano, died on May 15, 2021 after a short illness at the age of 100 in Voitsberg. From her extensive repertoire, she is remembered above all with her brilliant role - Richard Strauss' Salome. With this role she celebrated her stage debut in 1957 at the Graz Opera as well as successes on all major stages from Vienna to New York. Around 400 appearances as Salome including his own veil dance are rare in the history of this opera.

When Maria Sofie Strobl was born on February 2nd, 1922 in Altenmarkt / Styria, and was taught violin, cello and saxophone by her father at an early age, Maria and the family made their way as musicians in the war and post-war period. Maria financed her later singing training with Maria Salmar in Graz with her salary as the secretary of the health insurance company Voitsberg. In 1946 she married the Czech conductor Stefan Kouba and then lived for 8 years behind the Iron Curtain in what was then Czechoslovakia, where the couple worked at the opera houses in Ostrava and Bratislava as conductor and chorus.

In 1956 the couple managed to return to Austria. In 1957 she made her surprising stage debut as Salome in a new production by the Graz Opera. Maria Kouba stepped in at short notice during rehearsals and celebrated a sensational success. She received a contract with the Graz Opera, where she quickly became a crowd favorite. In the following three seasons she sang 16 different leading roles in 11 premieres on 133 evenings - most often the Saffi in “Gypsy Baron”, followed by Puccini's Butterfly and Verdi's “Troubadour Leonore” as well as many other roles. In 1960 she followed the call to the Städtische Bühnen Frankfurt, where she was a member of the ensemble for 23 years and was able to maintain a broad repertoire. But she also always enjoyed returning to the Graz Opera for guest performances.

Maria Kouba has also appeared in many of the world's major opera houses - from Vienna, Munich, Berlin, London, Paris to Sydney and New York. After her sensational debut at the Metropolitan Opera New York in 1965 as Salome (under Karl Böhm), ​​she was henceforth traded as the "sex bomb of the opera stage" in the USA and Canada. She embodied almost all the soprano roles by Verdi and Puccini - from Traviata to Tosca, from Mozart's Donna Anna to Wagner's Eva, Senta, Sieglinde and Ortrud - but also the "Fidelio" -Leonore, the belcanto part of "Maria Stuarda" and Roles in contemporary works such as the woman in Schönberg's “Expectation” or the Renata in Prokofiev's “Der Feurige Engel”. But until the mid-1970s, her all-out glamorous game was Salome! Opera fans still rave about it today.

In Maria Kouba one encountered an aesthetic stage appearance and singing actress of the first order. TV productions by “Salome”, “Jenufa” and “Cavalleria Rusticana” as well as numerous radio recordings document the artist's heyday in the 1960s. However, it is incomprehensible that there are no official recordings of this versatile singer.

Maria Kouba worked with conductors like Karl Böhm, Georg Solti, Carlos Kleiber, Lovro von Matacic, Josef Keilberth, Heinrich Hollreiser, Peter Schneider and directors like Rudolf Hartmann, Günter Rennert, Wieland Wagner and Otto Schenk to name but a few.

She was considered one of the most reliable singers - always perfectly prepared, she jumped in countless times for colleagues - she never canceled herself. Despite many awards and prizes - such as the first prize in the Austrian Radio Singing Competition and the “Belcanto Competition” in Brussels - both in 1957 - and the “Grand Prix des Nations” in Paris in 1963 as the best singer from 22 nations, she always remained modest. After all the hardships of the war and the difficult early years, Maria Kouba was always grateful to have fulfilled her lifelong dream as a singer.

After her stage farewell in 1982, she moved to Canada with her second husband, but returned to her Styrian homeland alone 10 years later. The family has always been her support. She spent the last few years in the old people's home in Voitsberg, always lovingly cared for by her nephew Reinhold Haring and his family. On May 15, 2021 she stepped down from the stage of life. (Source Otto Krcal; further information and photo above www.mariakouba.at)

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Wer war denn noch…. Keywords: Maria Kouba.


The problems of the composer Fritz drove Franz Schreker, who a few years after the premiere of The distant soundwas traded as the only legitimate descendant of Wagner, not around. It seems that he quickly found this sound, which remained true to him until he was forgotten due to the defamation of his works by the National Socialists and his expulsion from his offices in 1933. The composer Fritz breaks away from his lover Grete because "I have a tall, noble line in front of my eyes, but I have to be free". He won't find rest "Before I have it and keep it, the enigmatic, distant sound" and "Artist by the grace of God" am Then he wants to return to Grete. Grete, whose name is tellingly Graumann, escapes after her drunkard father lost her to the landlord in the game, who also has the crampedness of her parents' house and, seduced by a mysterious old woman, rises to be a luxury courier in a Venetian brothel. Ten years later, the unsuccessful Fritz meets her there again and pushes her away. Another five years later: Greta has degenerated into an ordinary prostitute and is attending the premiere of Fritz's latest opera The Harpwho leaves prematurely because of a faint attack. The opera fails. Fritz is given the opportunity to revise the last act, but feels too weak and, thinking of Grete, whom he recognized in the auditorium, understands that he has left her because of his ambition and why, he “cannot sing about happiness”. He hears the “distant sound” and feels strong enough to redesign his opera. Greta finds him and wants to stay with him. He dies in her arms.

Franz Schreker's first stage success, which was prominently cast and performed a lot in the 1910s and 20s, returned to the Frankfurt Opera in March 2019 (Oehms Classics 3 CDs OC 980/ Distribution NAXOS), where it had its world premiere in 1912. In the course of the Schreker renaissance that began in the 1970s, a fascinating staging at the location of the action, in Venice, in which I experienced the dazzling Sylvia Sass as the shining star of the Venetian demimonde, contributed significantly to the rediscovery of the Distant sound at. Sebastian Weigle and the Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra, which indicate why conductors such as Bruno Walter, Fritz Reiner, Otto Klemperer, Erich Kleiber and Alexander Zemlinsky were drawn to this music, circle the distant sound that all composers of the dawning century are looking for made, in oscillating, impressionistically permeable as well as late-romantic slowed down sounds, which in the bird concert interlude of the third act turn into a sensual mood. The fascination that the opera once exuded does not arise. The real main character of this artist and prostitute drama is not, as one might think, Fritz, but Greta. In the first act, Jennifer Holloway is a clever Greta without giving the character a face. In addition, despite the wounds that Nadine Secunde's soprano suffered, the old woman attracts more attention. On his European debut, the American shows Ian Koziara in the large, feverishly intensified scene in the second act “I stand before you, burdened with guilt and remorseful“A hard-wearing tenor with limited heights and, especially in the introspective moments of the third act, conveys the turmoil of Fritz, who failed in his search for musical originality. In the middle act, Holloway's soprano also gains warmth and color, she confidently exhausts the dimensions of the part, sings in the third act precisely and with strikingly clear text. Still, Greta doesn't seem to be the right match for her. Fritz's rival is the melancholy Count, with whom Greta sets out from Venice and whose ballad Gordon Bintner sings about the glowing crown with sincere emotion, while the song about the flower girl of Sorrento, effectively performed by Theo Lebow as a chevalier, is tenoral adornment for the tonally colorful assembled celebration in the Casa di Maschere is. The splendid baritone of Jurii Samoilov stands out as a smear actor from the broad ensemble, as well as the striking episodes of Dietrich Volle as Dr.Vigelius and Sebastian Geyer as Fritz ‘friend Rudolf.R..F.

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Opera. Keywords: The distant sound, Franz Schreker, Oehms Classics.


As world premieres CAPRICCIO on two CDs (C5425) sacred works by the unknown composer Anton Schweitzer, who was born in Coburg in 1735 and died in Gotha in 1787. He worked as a musician in the court orchestra of Duke Ernst Friedrich III, Carl von Sachsen-Hildburghausen, and composed for his opera theater. He later wrote for theater companies in Weimar and Gotha. The compositions presented here were found in the Thuringian archives and were recorded in the Upper Church of Arnstadt in July 2020. The Thuringian Bach Collegium makes music under its artistic director Gernot Süßmuth. The violinist, conductor and honorary professor at several music colleges specializes primarily in chamber music, which is reflected in the transparent sound of the recording. The soloist quartet is solid and homogeneous.

The oratorio sounds at the beginning The resurrection of Christwhose text was written by Schweitzer's employer from Sachsen-Hildburghausen himself. In addition to the central idea of ​​the resurrection, the Easter Oratorio also conveys time references - experiences of war, fear of death, apocalypse - and leads to confidence in life in the hereafter. Accordingly, the music portrays the rejoicing "Hallelujah" the entrance choir's horror, like Tempesta-Scenes and dramatic earthquakes to the end of the world. The soprano coincides with that Accompagnato“Now the hero haswon " the first solo too. Mirella Hagen sings it with a clear voice and energetic expression. Later she is particularly convincing with her intimacy AriaHow calm I getonce fell asleep ”. The first Aria of the work, "Like thunder's serious voice", the bass has to graduate. Tobias Berndt shapes them with courageous access. The tenor Stephan Scherpe, well versed in coloratura and declamation, completes the solo tenterzett with the Aria“O day of horror“, Later with "O Savior, don't leave me". All soloists, supplemented by the alto Henriette Gödde, combine their voices in the choirs and chorales that connect the solo numbers.

The program includes the short cantata for Thanksgiving for bass solo, four-part choir, orchestra and organ "Praise you servants of the master", which begins festively with the choir of the same name and with "Recognizes andenjoyed " ends in the same way. The soloist Tobias Berndt has a Recitativo and the Aria"So pure after a gentle rain" to sing and convinces again with clarity of words and sound.

The nine-part series concludes Missa brevis in C majorfor four-part choir and orchestra, written in 1780. Stylistic references to Haydn and Mozart can be seen here, and the variety of themes and harmonies is impressive. The singing of the soloist choir is transparent and balanced(Further information on the CDs / DVDs in specialist shops, from all relevant mail order companies and fromwww.naxosdirekt.de.). Bernd Hoppe

This entry was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Spiritual / Choral Music. Keywords: Anton Schweitzer, Capriccio.


The three Da Ponte operas in six weeks: again and with his Concentus Musicus Wien wanted Nikolaus Harnoncourt Perform the three Mozart operas in the Theater an der Wien according to his ideas and had again invited the ensemble, which was partially identical for all performances, as far as it fit, into his study with the beautiful tiled stove. Here he gave the singers his view of things, helped them to gain completely new insights into their roles and did not forget to mention how laborious living and working beyond the age of 80 can be.

The same scene was used for the performance as for Figaro: a back wall with the portraits of the participants, partly in everyday clothes, partly in role costumes, a few props, and for changing roles Don Giovanniand Leporello to the detriment of poor Donna Elvira, changing ties was enough (costumes Doris Maria Aigner). As with Figaro, Christine Schäfer (Donna Anna) had a sense of bitter taste and Zerlina, who came from a rather modest background, had a sense of elegance. A nice effect was that of the faces lit with flashlights on the otherwise dark stage (scenic arrangements Felix Breisach), the bloody hand of Giovanni after the murder of Commendatore, the shirt soaked in red wine as a sign of the journey into hell. A lot can be achieved with few resources and, above all, nothing is spoiled. The final sextet, with piano reductions in the hands of the singers, is a sparing and effective indication of distancing, whereas before that, everyone except Donna Elvira by Maite Beaumont could do without them.

In the musical implementation, the partially sung, partially spoken recitatives and the sometimes very unusual tempos, such as the very slow “Vedrai carino”, are again noticeable.

André Schuen's Figaro has now become a Don Giovanni, with appropriately more elegance in the voice guidance, impressive recitatives, a breathless champagne aria and a serenata in a finely sustained piano. Much more appropriate than Don Basilio is Don Ottavioa for the handsome tenor of Mauro Peter, who is very noble here and not at all as a pale idiot, as is usual today, "Dalla sua pace " sings sensitively and for “Il milliontesoro“Can have clean coloratura. A little more silvery sheen could give the timbre a little more seductive power. Christine Schäfer, then Contessa, now Donna Anna, could also be seen at Figaro. At the beginning one fears that the voice is too delicate, especially in the excited beginning of the opera, but “Or saichel’onore"Is sung very nicely, only now and then does the soprano sound exhausted,"crudele " is spoken with tender horror, in the wonderfully designed recitatives she is the most convincing advocate of the intentions of her conductor.

The Spaniard Maite Beaumont has a rounder, warmer mezzo voice, a beautiful vocal line and vocal composure even in the greatest excitement. She also wins the recitatives, so before "Mi tradi“A lot more than you are used to. Mari Eriksmoen's Zerlina, who was Susanna at Figaro, could have a little more vocal oomph. Mika Kares designed the Leporello very bulky and as a booming rumble head and with this tuning material she can put in a lot more honor as a commendatore. Ruben Drole sings the leporello in a darker, less noble and therefore role-covering manner and is thus the appropriate counterpart to his master. The Arnold Schoenberg Choir gives the happy Spanish wedding party. The orchestra with original instruments in the rather small Theater an der Wien allows the singers a slim, effortless sound, which was certainly the conductor's intention. Now is still missing So fan tutte, but certainly not for long (2 DVD Unitel 803908). Ingrid Vanya


The best comes at the end of the two DVDs with MozartLe Nozze di Figarowhen conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt brings his point of view to singers and spectators, partly in his home and partly during rehearsals. Within a month, all three Mozart Da Ponte operas were performed in the Theater an der Wien, and the recordings can be viewed as the master's legacy. The listener is touched when the conductor confesses that he has been dealing with the works for decades, “but I have not yet succeeded in what I want most of all”. The recitatives belong to this "id", in which the conductor is concerned with the pitch of the spoken word, not the rhythm; according to Harnoncourt, the conception and representation of the people can also be regarded as consistently contestable, apart from Antonio, who is the only one in Figaro without wrongdoing, while in Cherubino the later Don Giovanni can already be guessed. It is nice to see the great attention, even devotion, with which the singers, who are allowed to express themselves in a role suit from a picture frame, listen to the words of the master, even believe that Barberina does not mourn the lost needle, but that of her virginity, when she sings your aria in minor.

The performance itself does not benefit in that it is not limited to two CDs. The scenic arrangement by Felix Breisach positions the singers in front of three partition walls, in the recesses of which partly mirrors, partly portraits, such as Mozart's as he appears on the sweets named after him, or the singer in different costumes can certainly not only be seen from those of the piece are. Strangely enough, there is also a costume designer (Doris Maria Aigner), so that the singers' strange costumes cannot be blamed on their personal taste. It is strange when the Contessa appears in a long but simple black shirt dress, while Barberina appears in a sumptuous robe with plenty of glitter. One could not achieve uniformity either when the Conte moves playfully across the stage, while the Contessa holds the piano reduction in front of her face at every performance, and even the Basilio cannot do without it for his short performance in the first act. It is also strange that partners, even if they are the addressee of an aria, leave the stage. Even the camera work turns out to be not the happiest when they express a weakness for recordings of brass cleaning their instruments.

Maestro Harnoncourt has chosen singers for his Mozart Testament who could best correspond to his intentions and who therefore also appear to a large extent in the other two Da Ponte operas. The orchestra is of course the Concentus Musicus Wien, which he founded, with its original instruments, which the conductor encourages to tempi that are unfamiliar to the listener. The Arnold Schoenberg Choir under Erwin Ortner fulfills its tasks perfectly.

André Schuen is a cute Figaro, who increasingly sings freely and spiritedly dominates the action, and also lets a pleasant bass baritone be heard. Susanna is the pretty Mari Eriksmoen with a fine chirping voice, easy treble and a middle register that can still be expanded. Despite all the significance of the recording, Bo Skovhus is sovereign as a virile Conte, while Christine Schäfer is a flawless “Dove sono " sings, but in places also whispers and sometimes sacrifices intelligibility to the pleasure of being extremely ethereal. Christina Gansch is a graceful Barbarina with her delicious facial expressions and her quite colorful voice, which is childlike. Ildiko Raimondi sounds quite bright to Marzelline and knows how to make a lot of her part. Elisabeth Kulman is forced into an extremely fast tempo with her first aria as Cherubino, which makes it all the more beautiful and full-bodied.Voi che wallpaper ". Peter Kálmán is a rumbling baartolo, Mauro Peters tenor is almost too beautiful for the Basilio. (Unitel 803708/ Further information on CDs / DVDs is available from specialist retailers, from all relevant mail order companies and from www.naxosdirekt.de.). Ingrid Vanya

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Opera. Keywords: Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Unitel.


Albrecht Wenzel Eusebius von Waldstein called. Wallenstein(1583-1634) was one of the last heroes in world history. Again and again he was in the focus of composers' interest, if one thinks Bedřich Smetana's tone poem Wallenstein's camp from 1859 or Vincent d’Indy's symphonic triptych Wallenstein from 1871, both after Friedrich von Schiller, also the opera by Jaromir Weinberger (The recording at cpo under Cornelius Meister was discussed in operalounge.de).Another composer who took on the legendary general of the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648) was Josef Gabriel Rheinberger (1839-1901). Due to his long period of work in Munich, where he lived from 1851, he is now often mistakenly regarded as a German composer, but was actually a Liechtenstein native. Highly valued and decorated during his lifetime (ennobled to Knight of Rheinberger 1895 by the Bavarian Prince Regent Luitpold), he is now in the shadow of others. Active in practically all musical genres, he became particularly important in the field of sacred music (many masses, cantatas and motets, three requiems and countless organ works), but also wrote two operas and three singspiels.

The took place on the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Principality of Liechtenstein, which has existed in this form since 1719 Label Arsthe occasion that Symphonic tone painting in D minor, Op. 10 Wallensteinrecord for the first time (ARS38284). The Liechtenstein Symphony Orchestra operates under its former chief conductor Florian Krumpöck. It couldn't be more idiomatic. The only professional Liechtenstein ensemble, which was only launched in 1988, does not need to shy away from comparisons, which also applies to the recording made between January 28 and 30, 2019 in the SAL (Saal am Lindaplatz) in Schaan, which is a hybrid SACD in the DSD process is presented and meets the highest sound standards.

As with Smetana and d’Indy, for Rheinberger it was less the historical Wallenstein than Schiller's literary processing of the material on which his composition from 1866 was based. The names of the four sentences, which are divided into foreplay (a good 14 minutes), Thekla (a good 10 minutes), Wallenstein's camp (10 minutes) and Wallenstein's death (15 minutes), so together make a work of about 50 minutes. Rheinberger succeeded in winning over both the advocates of absolute music and the followers of the tone poems that were fashionable at the time. In its first performances, the piece was known as “a symphony in four movements” only to be passed through as a “symphonic tone painting” in the print edition. The first movement gives a colored portrait of the title character, while the slow, very internalized second movement is dedicated to Wallenstein's daughter Thekla (historically: Maria Elisabeth). The third movement, which can definitely be described as a Scherzo, comes across as march-like and hearty and, in its life-affirming lightness, describes the turbulent camp life in the field. In the gloomy finale, the inevitable fate of the hero is indicated early on, who ignores all warnings and ultimately falls victim to the famous conspiracy.

A really interesting excavation in the lesser known symphonic repertoire of Romanticism, which is of interest to music lovers, especially because of the historical background, even if the really big aha effect does not materialize. The enclosed, detailed German-English booklet is impeccable and makes you want more. We can hope for a continuation from Liechtenstein.Daniel Hauser

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Instrumentales. Keywords: Ars production, Josef Gabriel Rheinberger, Wallenstein.


Time and again, voices from the Slavic region surprise the opera world very pleasantly, such as those of the Belarusian Oksana Volkova, a mezzo-soprano who deals with opera arias mainly from the French and Slavic repertoire under the title Poison d’Amourat Delosintroduces. It begins with the final aria of the Sapho from Gounod's opera of the same name and lets the listener be delighted by the glow of the voice, which can keep it lean throughout, without denying its origin through slightly sharp highs. Parallel to the orchestra, the mezzo becomes increasingly heavy with tears before the voice falls silent. This is followed by the two arias of Dalila, to which she gives sensual velvety colors, the depth proves to be well connected to the voice, whose beautiful colors are used in large arcs, which always remains slim and, despite all the sultriness conjured up, never appears vulgar. Thomas' Mignon conjures the land where the lemons bloom with a slight emission of the voice, perhaps a little too startling for the tender, boyish creature. With heavy tears and full-bodied, Charlotte complains of her fate, Volkova's Carmen is certainly not one of those representatives of the role who are inclined to the chanson.

The aria from Belarusian opera, completely unknown in the West, stands out from the Slavic repertoire The Gray Legend by Dmitri Smolski, premiered in 2012 and completely committed to tonality, a bloodthirsty story with a pious ending, late romantic and endowed with Slavic pungency by the singer. Slavic melancholy spreads with Lyubava's aria Sadko, lighter, girlish tones leave Tchaikovsky's Virgin of orleans hear, a kind of mezzo-tatiana.With a threatening chest voice, fantastic intermittent leaps downwards that end in pale, the singer creates a sharp contrast to the mezzo-colored height, all united in the aria of Marfa Khovanshchina.

Two well-known arias from the Italian repertoire can be heard at the end of the CD: Santuzza's commitment to Mamma Lucia and Adriana's rival with her “Acerba voluttà". In both cases, the washed-out sounding Italian disturbs the overall impression, in Santuzza the weak one "Io piango", while the Principessa de Bouillon could make any battle-hardened Maurizio tremble.

A reliable companion is the Kaunas City Orchestra under Constantine Orbelian (Delos DE 3584). (Further information on the CDs / DVDs in specialist shops, from all relevant mail order companies and fromwww.naxosdirekt.de.) Ingrid Vanya

This post was published on by Geerd Heinsen in Recitals / Lieder. Keywords: Delos, Oksana Volkova, Poison d'amour.


"Vil bastarda di Bolena" - I will never make the appearance of Pauline Tinsley (March 27, 1928 - May 10, 2021) forgotten as Elisabetta at ENO London next to Janet Baker's Maria Stuarda: a deeply characterful face, the body, the tension, the gestures subject to expression at every minute. The voice itself is not particularly beautiful and perhaps a bit very sharp in the upper range, but what an aplomb, what power, what flexibility of diction and communication. This is the stuff great singers are made of. Tinsley was one of them, no doubt about it, even if in the continental public perception she was perhaps too focused on the big character roles like Elektra or Lady Macbeth. The latter at the ENO and the Scottish Opera in particular made a deep impression on me, and all I can think of is the attribute "fearless" a. Like the Scotto, the Tinsley was rampant with her pound, and like her Italian colleague, she cannot be judged in the categories of beautiful singing. A singing actress like Borkh, maybe like Lippert, with an enormous range of subjects from Monteverdi to Britten and Strauss. And she came around. East and West Berliners will take part in the guest performance of the Amsterdam Harry-Kupfer-Elektra(Premiere there 1977) remembering with her in the Komische Oper - like her colleague Barstow in the Salome at the State Opera they too will be unforgettable and indelibly emphatic. Now she died on May 10, 2021.