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Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, November 2008

Moses und Aron was another opera I respected more than I liked… Franz Grundheber is maniacally intense, Thomas Moser is a superb apologist, the chorus is outstanding, and Daniele Gatti conducts the opera with passion, even anger…

To read the complete review, please visit Fanfare online.

James L. Zychowicz
Opera Today, June 2008

While a number of fine recordings of Moses und Aron exist, this unique DVD of the opera makes a staging of the work accessible, with a variety of camera angle, including a judicious mixture of close—ups and longer shots of the stage. The recording is all the more remarkable for its origins in a live performance, since audience sounds are almost negligible in the DVD. It is an exemplary presentation that merits attention for conveying the opera well. With the stage details intact, and the wide—angle shots planned to make the best use of the stagecraft, the Nickler production, prepared for television by Claus Viller, is a fine example of filmed opera. The sound is quite fine and brings across the nuanced direction of Daniele Gatti, whose efforts join the ranks of other fine interpreters of this work, including Pierre Boulez and Georg Solti.

Since this is a torso, the performance itself ends where Schoenberg left the work, at the end of Act 2. This DVD includes a reading of the third act, which the composer had completed in libretto. Rendered by Grundheber, this portion of the work is not always available in audio recordings, even though it is an essential part of the legacy of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron as the basis for the concluding act. Beyond this addition, the DVD itself includes an exemplary booklet that augments the visual presentation, which includes subtitles in French, Spanish, Italian, and English. This production of Moses und Aron is outstanding, and it is fortunate to have it preserved in DVD so that those who may be familiar with the music alone through CDs or radio broadcasts can see an effective performance of the work on stage.

James H. North
Fanfare, November 2007

This is an elegant video of a stunning production of Moses und Aron. …Grundheber is a superb actor, as dramatic speaking Moses’s words as he has been singing Wozzeck’s. …The lesser roles are well sung and acted, and the chorus is eminently satisfactory, both vocally and dramatically—its members are required to move constantly, in tightly choreographed maneuvers. The stage direction, by Reto Nickler, is apt and potent at all times. © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

John Terauds
Toronto Star, May 2007

This unfinished opera by Arnold Schoenberg may need firm resolve to sit through. But the hard work pays off.

The recent Vienna State Opera presentation directed by Reto Nickler on this Arthaus DVD brings the Old Testament battle between Moses and Aaron into a current context. The Golden Calf, representing the Israelites’ misplaced faith becomes "Ich, " a worship of the self and descent into moral relativism.

In the first act, the drab people carry big suitcases in an eerie echo of Holocaust victims being marched toward death. Stark staging builds on a dissonant score built around a single 12—tone row. Moses, who represents the purity of the Word of God, declaims in a stylized speech known as Sprechstimme , while Aaron sings.

Thomas Moser and Franz Grundheber are wonderful as the biblical brothers. Daniele Gatti gets a muscular sound from the house orchestra. The chorus is the musical star, acting as God’s voice in the burning bush as well as representing the people of Israel .

Schoenberg never managed to finish it after fleeing Austria in 1933 and the opera didn’t get its premiere until 50 years ago next week. There are extra interviews and a thorough booklet.

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