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William R. Braun
Opera News, April 2017

Fabio Luisi’s conducting is as elegant as we have come to expect from him. His tempos are so unfailingly apt that the listener doesn’t think about his contribution at all… Luisi has attuned the players of the Zurich Philharmonia to the things happening onstage; in particular, the solo viola, closely associated with Wozzeck in this staging, is a model of theatrical engagement. Luisi etches the passacaglia theme as if onto a copper plate, and the orchestration of the murder scene has never sounded so strange.

Gerhaher sings Wozzeck as beautifully as he sings his gorgeous Schubert recitals, along with some forceful (though still plush) outbursts at his male antagonists. His Marie receives nothing but tenderness, eerily and excessively so in the moment just before the murder. Marie is sung with nearly equal musicality by Gun-Brit Barkmin, whose voice nonetheless shows signs of hard use in heavier repertoire. The Captain, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke, shades his high notes away from harshness, and Brandon Jovanovich offers the most listenable Drum Major in memory. Lars Woldt’s Doctor is similarly inclined, and the men of the chorus are magnificent. © 2017 Opera News Read complete review



Tim Pfaff
Bay Area Reporter, February 2017

Christian Gerhaher—a baritone of such refinement that he might not seem a natural for the title role like, say, the more rugged, blunt Matthias Goerne is—digs as deeply into the part as did the similarly qualified Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in an earlier generation. He simply makes you forget the Gerhaher of the recital platform, as mesmerizing as that singer is—and that this is singing and acting of an established text and, most critically, that you are in the theater at all.

Physical acting of the caliber he delivers—leaping about the picture frames as if they were the uneven bars at the Olympics—would alone set a new standard in the role; but then there is the singing. More than in any Lieder performance I’ve heard from this consummate song specialist, the focus is all on the words hauntingly fused to tones, rightfully refusing to delineate singing from speech as though the two were opposed—“Spechstimme” of the truest, most penetrating sort.

It’s a dizzyingly great performance, but the singing is superb from everyone, not the least the Drum Major, San Francisco favorite Brandon Jovanovich. Homoki ensures credible interplay between him and Gun-Brit Barkmin’s Marie in their coarse yet clearly relished sex play—just the thing to send Wozzeck over the edge believably. In the other pit, that is, the orchestra’s, Fabio Luisi again demonstrates his flair for wringing the maximum drama out of a 12-tone score while articulating it precisely. © 2017 Bay Area Reporter Read complete review



Richard Sininger
American Record Guide, January 2017

Even though the singers are caught almost as if in a maze, the performance is always interesting. All the singing actors vividly project their characters, realistic or grotesque, while singing their roles as Berg specified. The excellent lieder singer Christian Gerhaher makes a frighteningly effective Wozzeck, and he is supported by an excellent cast, as well as the Zurich Philharmonic under Fabio Luisi, a conductor who seems tremendously versatile in all kinds of opera. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide




Remy Franck
Pizzicato, December 2016

Here we have a reference recording of Berg’s Wozzeck. The musical side is just outstanding with Gerhaher being the best Wozzeck of all times. The remarkable staging is no less inspiring, and the video recording is excellent too. There is a terrific intensity and concentration in this production, and I guess nobody who has seen it either at the opera or on video, will ever forget it. © 2016 Pizzicato




Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, December 2016

…perhaps the most rounded performance of the title role you’ll come across. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review




Neil Fisher
Gramophone, November 2016

BERG, A.: Wozzeck (Zürich Opera, 2005) (NTSC) ACC-20363
BERG, A.: Wozzeck (Zürich Opera, 2015) (Blu-ray, Full-HD) ACC-10363

Brandon Jovanovich’s muscular tenor gives real thrust to his priapic Drum Major, and Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke’s Captain sings with silky venom. The dramatic chiaroscuro comes from the orchestra. Fabio Luisi’s incisive conducting slices artfully between Berg’s fatty cuts of late Romanticism and his queasy dissonances and eerie number-games. The orchestra, rapier-sharp and cutting to the quick, offer much more than Swiss precision. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, October 2016

This is the best opera DVD I’ve seen this year, but it’s also the best Wozzeck to have come my way since Wächter and Silja for Dohnanyi in 1979. I’d even say that it’s now a first choice for the opera in any format. Gerhaher’s singing lifts it into a whole new level, better even than Wächter’s, and everyone around him gives of their best too, perhaps because of him. The production is so thoughtful that it’s infinitely preferable to the attempted realism of Abbado’s Vienna performance or the inescapably grim production for Barenboim in Berlin. In short, it’s a triumph: gripping, moving, indispensable. © 2016 MusicWeb International Read complete review





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