Karl V : Dietrich Henschel, Moritz Führmann, Nicola Beller-Carbone, Wiener Symphoniker, L. Koenigs, dir. - Kehraus um St. Stephan : Roman Sadnik, Albert Pesendorfer, Andrea Bogner, Sebastian Holecek, Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg, John Axelrod, dir.
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Two very interesting operas of European historyAug. 9 2013
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This 2-DVD set has two works:Karl V, dealing with the reign of the 16th century Holy German emperor Charles V(also Charles I of Spain),presented in a series of memories (in flashbacks) at the end of his life,with his confessor Juan de Regla as witness.We see the different historical situations and characters he was related to,and his death at the monastery he chose to live his last days in,after he abdicated his crown.A very interesting opera, with a great work by the baritone Dietrich Henschel,ably backed by a solid supporting cast,with modern staging in context with the story(really,History).In the second DVD we have Kehraus um St. Stephan,that deals with the survival of different characters in Vienna,post-World War I (1922,to be exact).Begins with a failed suicide attempt and finishes with a happy ending ,but right after a succesful suicide attempt,what makes the end an anticlimax,but gives you the idea why Krenek called this opera a satire with music.We see the good,the bad, the ugly and even the comic people, portraying a very real image,however mocking, of the human behavior in the rubble of a broken world,where each survives but no one really exists,with the music changing accordingly,with a Straussian touch sometimes,operetta-like in others, but also with two moving pieces by,coincidentally, two of the good people of the story.A solid cast,with minimal staging,but closely related to that time and place.A real pleasure to see.Summing it up,if you like modern opera (Karl V is the first 12-tone opera)with his difficult music and vocals(if you never have heard it before),this set will make you appreciate Ernst Krenek.