It’s true that the Elbphilharmonie is not an opera house. Nonetheless, opera can be enjoyed here in its purest form. After all, concert versions of operas have the advantage that the audience can concentrate exclusively on the music and the singing. The spectrum in this season ranges from Claudio Monteverdi’s »L’Orfeo« – one of the earliest operas in music history – with Ian Bostridge in the title role to Bernd Alois Zimmermann’s »Die Soldaten«, which is among the most important operas of the 20th century. The first performance was given at the Cologne Opera, and the Gürzenich Orchestra from that city now performs Zimmermann’s magnum opus in the Elbphilharmonie Grand Hall.
The series opens with Leoš Janáček’s original fairy-tale opera »The Cunning Little Vixen«, which the composer himself regarded as his best work. Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra are supported by the Hamburg-based Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach Choir.
Nature likewise plays a central role in »Der Freischütz« by Carl Maria von Weber, which is seen as »the first German national opera«. Accompanied by a thoroughly sumptuous, highly Romantic orchestral backdrop, the young huntsman Max struggles to win the heart of forester’s daughter Agathe, but finds himself involved with the Devil instead. With this concert, the superb Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the baton of René Jacobs makes an apt contribution to the Hamburg International Music Festival, whose motto this season is »Nature«.
Likewise part of the Hamburg International Music Festival: the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under Alan Gilbert presents Dvořák’s best-known opera »Rusalka«, which, like the German story »Undine«, is about water sprites and mermaids, and is based on Slav myths. The singers of the fabulous roles will be published online at a later time.