Gurre-Lieder

 

Schönberg Gurre-Lieder (or Gurrelieder) "opera" based on a medieval Danish legend. Directed (staged) 2014 by Pierre Audi at the Dutch National Opera. Stars Burkhard Fritz (Waldemar), Emily Magee (Tove), Anna Larsson (Waldtaube), Markus Marquardt (Bauer), Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke (Klaus Narr), and Sunnyi Melles (Narrator). Marc Albrecht conducts the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chorus of the Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Thomas Eitler), and Kammerchor des Chorforum Essen (Chorus Master Alexander Eberle). Set and costume design by Christof Hetzer; lighting design by Jean Kalman; video by Martin Eidenberger; dramaturgy by Klaus Bertisch; directed for the screen by Misjel Vermeiren. Released 2017, disc has 5.1 dts-HD Master Audio. Grade: NA

Gurre-Lieder is actually a cantata for massive forces. Here it appears the addition of staging by opera folks turns it into something closer to opera than to a concert.

Below is the official Opus Arte trailer. This doesn't look very appealing. But George Loomis, writing for the New York Times, says the Pierre Audi presentation is "revelatory." And Hugo Shirley on page 77 of the March 2017 Gramophone almost waxes ecstatic in praise of this and concludes, "A very impressive achievement all round." Finally, William R. Braun, writing in the August 2017 Opera News (page 47) states, "The video direction has no pointlessly gliding cameras, no jump-cutting every three seconds, and there are even some shots of the entire stage. These virtues, alas, can no longer be taken for granted." Probably this recording is in a class by itself in dealing with Gurre-Lieder.