Austrian composer Alban Berg's first opera, Wozzeck, was based on the Georg Büchner play Woyzeck. Incomplete at the time of Büchner's death in 1837, it depicted the dehumanizing effects of the military on a young man's life. Berg began composing his opera in 1914, but was delayed by the start of World War I. It was only during leave from his regiment in 1917 and 1918 that he was able to devote time to finishing it. Berg's own experience of war had a profound impact on the music, as themes of militarism and social exploitation are brutally presented. This production from the 2017 Salzburg Festival was directed by William Kentridge and stars Matthias Goerne as Wozzeck and features Vladimir Jurowski leading the ViennaRead more Philharmonic.
Matthias Goerne immediately grabs our attention as Wozzeck, voice wrapped in anguish, eyes staring madly, humiliated right and left. Goerne’s thunder, however, is soon topped by the fiercely emotional Marie of Asmik Grigorian.
– The Times (UK)
The Vienna Philharmonic plays for Vladimir Jurowski with a lustrous clarity that some might find too sumptuous for such a bleak work. A different viewpoint (shared by me) would be that Berg, a true son of Vienna, grew up with this kind of orchestral sound, to which his score was a ground-breaking modernist tribute.
Wozzeck, Op. 7by Alban Berg Performer:
Gerhard Siegel (Tenor),
Asmik Grigorian (Soprano),
Matthias Goerne (Baritone),
Jens Larsen (Bass),
John Daszak (Tenor)
Vienna State Opera Chorus,
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century Written: 1917-1922; Austria