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Arlo Mckinnon
Opera News, December 2013

Zimmermann’s music, while solidly founded on the principles of serialism, encompasses elements and quotes of other musical styles, from the Dies Irae of Gregorian chant through early-’60s pop-jazz/cocktail-bar music of the type so railed against by Adorno and other aestheticists. Along the way, we encounter reminiscences of the brass ensembles of the time of Heinrich Schütz, Bach-like chorales and much more.

The performances in this opera are sensational, especially that of Laura Aikin, who appears as Marie. Aikin fully captures the nuances of Marie’s gradual but relentless descent from a secure, bourgeois life and engagement to a level of complete degradation. In contemporary music, Aikin’s rivals are few, and her equals are quite rare. Among her stellar peers in this cast, greatest praise belongs to Tomasz Konieczny, as Stolzius, Marie’s fiancée; to Daniel Brenna, as Desportes, the despicable cad who sets Marie’s tragedy in motion; to Alfred Muff, as Marie’s straitlaced, judgmental father; and to Gabriela Beňačková, as the Countess de la Roche, who tries to intercede in Marie’s plight. Under the sure and passionate direction of Ingo Metzmacher, the Vienna Philharmonic demonstrates yet again why it is one of the world’s greatest orchestras.

On all fronts, this production of Die Soldaten is worthy of the highest praise. This is a difficult work on all levels, but a very crucial one; this release preserves a marvelous rendition of it. © 2013 Opera News Read complete review

Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, November 2013

All of [the] singers throw themselves completely into their roles; the acting is superb.

The conductor Ingo Metzmacher presides over this huge undertaking. The Vienna Philharmonic plays this intricate score faultlessly. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Lynn René Bayley
Fanfare, November 2013

Director Alvis Hermanis does a simply outstanding job of staging this massive, difficult, and disturbing work. Using the full width, depth, and height of the stage area, Hermanis creates a virtual world of his own in which the denizens of Die Soldaten walk and interact and sing.

What makes Die Soldaten so good, and so powerful, is the music. Zimmermann virtually wrote a huge two-hour symphony for voices and orchestra…then wove it into a total theatrical experience including multi-media sets, lighting effects, and scenes in which two different events take place in two different times simultaneously. All of this is brought out powerfully by Hermanis’s production and, all things being equal, the cast does a magnificent job with this extremely difficult music.

I found this to be a fascinating…work…Recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Anne Shelley
Music Media Monthly, October 2013

The main character Marie…[is] exceptionally sung by American soprano Laura Aikin…The performances of this complex twelve-tone score are impressive all around; there is not a single weak cast member and the precision and agility of Ingo Metzmacher and the Vienna Philharmonic is astounding. Highly recommended. © 2013 Music Media Monthly Read complete review

Pamela Margles
The WholeNote, September 2013

The cast is stellar. But it’s Laura Aikin’s tour-de-force performance as Marie that ultimately grabs attention. It’s not just her fearless delivery of the treacherously jagged vocal lines. Her characterization of a naive young lady who is just trying to get ahead is utterly convincing…Right from the explosive opening chords, the Vienna Philharmonic under Ingo Metzmacher projects the vivid colours and textures that make this opera…sound thoroughly contemporary. © 2013 The WholeNote Read complete review

Mark Sealey
Classical Net, September 2013

From Euroarts this is a spectacular…DVD of the production (directed by the Latvian, Alvis Hermanis) at the Salzburg Festival in August 2012 of Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s…opera in four acts, Die Soldaten (“The Soldiers”).

This production of Die Soldaten does an excellent job of conveying this tension between a linear (perception of) time and—presumably—Marie’s opportunities to avoid her fate on the one hand; and multiple simultaneous human forces at work on the other. There’s a visual and kinetic unity to the production which support well the pessimism and acerbic nature of Zimmermann’s conception. The acting is compelling.

…it’s an honest, successful and persuasive video performance with excellent sound: a technically compelling experience. The singers—and of course the Vienna Philharmonic—are superb. The vocal roles are technically extremely demanding in terms of range in particular. The understanding that each character has of Zimmermann’s psychological insights is highly successful.

This is definitely a version to add to the prized discography of Zimmermann’s work. A success on every front. © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

Philip Clark
Sinfini Music, July 2013

ZIMMERMANN, B.A.: Soldaten (Die) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (NTSC) 2072588
ZIMMERMANN, B.A.: Soldaten (Die) (Salzburg Festival, 2012) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) 2072584

Die Soldaten is Zimmermann’s signature work, a two-hour opera seven years in the writing that took considerable powers of persuasion to get staged.

…the Vienna Philharmonic…[makes] such a powerful impact in music so far beyond their usual repertoire of waltzes and Classical era masterworks. © 2014 Sinfini Music Read complete review

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