R e c o r d i n g s
Live Recording: Venus, Tannhäuser, Jennifer Arnold
Christophorus, Franz Schreker
FRANZ SCHREKER (1878-1934)
Christophorus oder "Die Vision einer Oper"
Opera in two acts with Prelude and Prolog
Ahrens, Bernhard, Sabrowski, Chafin, Klein, Gebhardt, Schöpflin, Pauly, Arnold, Kieler Opernchor, Kieler Philharmoniker, Ulrich Windfuhr (cond.)
cpo 999-903-2 [2CDs]
Kiel Opera Chorus (Jaume Miranda)
Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra/ Ulrich Windfuhr
CPO release the third in the line of Schreker operas with this world premiere recording of Christophorus, representing the last collaboration between CPO and the Kiel Opera during the Harms era.
Schreker, an Austrian composer who was renowned in his day for his progressiveness, composed Christophorus between 1924-7 towards the end of his composing life. During this period Schreker was facing increasing Nazi persecution for being a Jew, and it was largely due to this that Schreker’s reputation was destroyed and his works therefore not remembered. The opera on this disc suffered particularly badly as the planned 1931 premiere of Christophorus was cancelled because of the threat of Nazi demonstrations and the work subsequently wasn’t performed.
Having previously released Schreker’s operas Flammen and Das Spielwerk und die Prinzessen to great acclaim, CPO are now ensuring that this work isn’t neglected for any longer. Schreker’s works are always shaped by personal influence and this work is no exception. In fact it could be considered to be one of the most confessional of all his works with strong religious connotations throughout, concerned with art, self-realisation and ethics.
“It is the creative vision of a young, somewhat degenerate and weak, but very gifted artist, of a music student who has a great yearning for purely physical, brutal strength. His model is the grand, heroic figure of Christophorus (St. Christopher), the world adventurer whom the Saviour finally redeems in his old age.” Schreker on Christophorus
CPO 2cds 9999032
Cyrano de Bergerac, Franco Alfano
Manuela Uhl, Jennifer Arnold, Susanna Bernhard, Roman Sadnik, Wolfgang Newerla, Simon Pauly, Paul McNamara, Matthias Klein, Bernd Gebhardt, Konstantin Heintel;
Chorus of Kiel Opera;
Kiel Philharmonic Orchestra; Markus Frank, conductor CPO 5210620 [2CDs]
Although Alfano originally set the text in French, the premiere was sung in Italian, as were many early Italian productions. In recent years, most productions have returned to the original French text.
Contemporary commentary on the opera by Guido M. Gatti criticised the composer as fearing "to seem too melodramatic", and the opera for being "overdecorated and labored" and containing "difficult and tortuous vocal writing". However, the same analysis also mentioned that "the opera has moments of definite effectiveness and exquisite poetry".
(2002) CPO 5210620: