Magazine article Gramophone

Humperdinck's Met-Premiered Opera Live from Frankfurt and Montpellier

Magazine article Gramophone

Humperdinck's Met-Premiered Opera Live from Frankfurt and Montpellier

Article excerpt

Humperdinck  Konigskinder  Daniel Behle ten                       King's Son Amanda Majeski sop                     Goose Girl Nikolay Borchev bar                       Fiddler Julia Juon mez                              Witch Magnus Baldvinsson bass                Woodcutter Martin Mitterrutzner ten              Broom-maker Chiara Bauml sop           Broom-maker's Daughter 

Chorus of Frankfurt Opera; Frankfurt Opera and Museum Orchestra / Sebastian Weigle

Oehms [F] [3] OC943 (165' * DDD * S/T)

Recorded live, September & October 2012

 Humperdinck [R]  Konigskinder  Jonas Kaufmann ten                 King's Son Ofelia Sala sop                    Goose Girl Detlef Roth bar                       Fiddler Nora Gubisch mez                        Witch Jaco Huijpen bass                  Woodcutter Fabrice Mantegna ten              Broom-maker Nelly Lawson sngr      Broom-maker's Daughter 

Opera Junior Children's Chorus; Latvian Radio Choir; Montpellier Languedoc-Roussillon National Orchestra / Armin Jordan

Accord [B] [3] 480 4088 (165' * DDD)

Recorded live at the Festival de Radio France et Montpellier, July 2005. From 476 9151 (A/06)

Though still on the margins of the opera repertoire, Konigskinder has well-placed friends in the opera and recording world who are keen to bring this winning, fairy-tale-flavoured piece to a wider public. Tenor Jonas Kaufmann and conductor Ingo Metzmacher have performed it repeatedly. But these two newish releases (one starring Kaufmann) are the first to take the full measure of the opera--in this difficult-to-stage story of an isolated maiden whose best friends are geese, and who is wooed by a disguised king-in-training who dies with her amid the cruel winter cold.

The story behind the opera is actually more interesting. Hansel und Gretel was written after Humperdinck's extended creative crisis, followed by a less substantial melodrama version of what would become Konigskinder. Cosima Wagner (who knew Humperdinck from his having assisted Richard Wagner in the final stages of Parsifal) recommended that Konigskinder become not only an opera but a through-composed one, in contrast to the ballad-opera style of Hansel und Gretel.

The 1910 premiere at the Metropolitan Opera (yes, the company that broke Bayreuth's Parsifal embargo in 1903) was a short-lived success. …

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