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Credit to the Deutsche Oper Berlin for allowing this release, warts and all. On the one hand it’s an obvious choice – the1987 world premiere of a major new piece by Wolfgang Rihm; on the other hand, the curtain calls show the director (and then Intendant) Götz Friedrich being vociferously booed. Whatever the reasons for Friedrich’s ordeal I can’t see that his production would particularly offend; the subject matter is hardly a walk in the park and his staging is concise and powerful, creating striking images and symbolism to match Rihm’s musical and philosophical vision. The music is arresting, the orchestra is generally confined to wind instruments, and there are some exquisite multi-layered choral effects and strong-lined solo writing for the singers to relish. The large cast does just that, with Andreas Schmidt giving an impressive performance in the title role, his baritone true and strong. Christof Perick marshals his forces with skill.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica


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