Alban Berg Wozzeck opera to libretto by the composer after Woyzeck by Georg Büchner. Directed 2017 by Krzysztof Warlikowski at the Dutch National Opera. Stars Christopher Maltman (Wozzeck), Eva-Maria Westbroek (Marie), Frank van Aken (Drum Major), Marcel Beekman (Captain/Madman), Sir Willard White (Doctor), Jason Bridges (Andres), Ursula Hesse von den Steinen (Margret), Scott Wilde (First Apprentice), Morschi Franz (Second Apprentice), Jacob Jutte (Marie’s Son), and Richard Prada (A Soldier). Matt Albrecht conducts the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, the Chorus of the Dutch National Opera (Chorus Master Ching-Lien Wu), and the New Amsterdam Children’s Choir (Chorus Master Eline Welle). Set and costume design by Małgorzata Szczęśniak; lighting design by Felice Ross; video design by Denis Guéguin; choreography by Claude Bardouil; dramaturgy by Christian Longchamp. Directed for TV by François Roussillon. Sung in German. Released 2018, disc has 5.0 dts-HD Master Audio sound. Grade: NA
Below are two official clips from the Dutch National Opera. As always, it appears François Roussillon comes up with a splendid video even under low-light conditions. Peter Quantrill, writing in the February 2019 Gramophone at page 84 calls this “among the most beautifully played and sung accounts of record and film of Wozzeck “ which leaves behind the impression “not of cruelty but of compassion.” And Fred Cohn goes all out in praise of this production in the June 2019 Opera News at pages 56-57. We associate Maltman with tough-guy roles; it’s astonishing to think of him playing opera’s most pathetic basket-case character. But Cohn assures us that “Maltman’s beautifully expressive singing invests the character with a depth of emotion so profound it can lead to murder.” He declares that Westbroek was “born to play” Marie and also approves vigorously of the singing of the minor characters, Albrecht’s conducting, and Warlikowski’s directing. Cohn concludes: “ The bitter irony of Büchner’s — and Berg’s — conception has never been clearer to me.” Wow — this has to go on the buy list!