“Büchner’s timeless, daring message of empathy and understanding along with Berg’s incredible music, emotional and precise, yielded perhaps the greatest opera of the twentieth century.
A world success, yes, but it still needs to be championed in all the places that have not yet had the chance to discover and to love it. The Houston Symphony’s performances show how it can be done in concert, staged lightly with great care and love – and with great impact.”
– Hans Graf, conductor
Alban BERG (1885–1935)
Libretto by Georg Büchner Roman Trekel, Wozzeck (Baritone)
Anne Schwanewilms, Marie (Soprano)
Marc Molomot, Captain (Tenor)
Nathan Berg, Doctor (Bass-Baritone)
Members of Houston Grand Opera Children’s Chorus
Karen Reeves, Chorusmaster
Chorus of Students and Alumni, Shepherd School of Music,
Houston Symphony Orchestra
Based on real events and playwright Georg Büchner’s starkly vehement text, Alban Berg’s tragic opera Wozzeck is an epoch-making work, in stark contrast to the previous high romantic ideals of the genre, that led Schoenberg to exclaim “now that’s what I call an opera!” Immensely powerful and heartbreakingly moving as a drama, Wozzeck explores the victimisation, despair and madness of a central character who has no place in society, its deeply humane message and sublimely innovative score firmly establishing it as a 20th-century masterpiece.
Listen to an excerpt from Act II: Was die Steine glänzen?
About the Artists
Hans Graf was appointed music director of the Houston Symphony in 2001 and concluded his tenure in May 2013, making him the orchestra’s longest serving music director. Prior to his appointment in Houston, he was the music director of the Calgary Philharmonic for eight seasons and held the same post with the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine for six years. He has been awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre de la Légion d’Honneur by the French government for championing French music around the world as well as the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold for Services to the Republic of Austria.
Roman Trekel received his musical education in Berlin. He started his career at the Berlin State Opera, where he has been a principal singer ever since. He has performed with the leading opera houses around Europe and Japan, including La Scala, Milan, Covent Garden, the Dresden, Hamburg and Munich State Operas, De Nederlandse Opera Amsterdam, the Zurich Opera House, the New National Theatre Tokyo, the Vienna State Opera and the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals.
German soprano Anne Schwanewilms performs to great acclaim at the world’s major opera houses and concert venues. Her extensive discography includes DVD recordings of Die Frau ohne Schatten, Der Rosenkavalier, Dialogues des Carmélites, an album of Strauss’s Four Last Songs and opera excerpts with Markus Stenz and the Gürzenich-Orchestra, plus numerous Lieder CDs. In 2002 Anne Schwanewilms was named Singer of the Year by Opernwelt.
Founded in 1913, the Houston Symphony Orchestra is one of the oldest performing arts organisations in Texas, offering a full complement of concert, community, education, touring and recording activities. As a cultural ambassador for the city and region, the Houston Symphony has toured extensively, with international appearances at concerts in Singapore, Moscow and Japan, in addition to European tours, with appearances in England, France, Holland, Germany and Austria.
More recordings by Hans Graf and the Houston Symphony