Richard Strauss

Metamorphosen. Study for 23 solo strings

Henry Purcell

Dido and Aeneas

Alexander Liebreich
Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin
Choir of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation
Marie-Claude Chappuis
Robin Johannsen
Matthias Winckhler
Katharina Magiera

2018‘s Richard Strauss Festival starts with an absolute highlight, combining a work by Richard Strauss with baroque music. Richard Strauss' last major orchestral work, the „Metamorphoses for 23 solo strings“, and Henry Purcell's opera „Dido and Aeneas“ are performed by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin under the direction of Alexander Liebreich. The human and artistic devastations left by World War II prompted Richard Strauss to create this intense, expressive work, which also symbolizes his withdrawal from his work as a composer. Dido, Queen of Carthage, also bids farewell when after all the phases of happiness and hope her beloved Aeneas leaves her. For her grief and death, Henry Purcell composed music of timeless beauty and incredibly depth of emotions. For the special role of the choir in Purcell's opera, the excellent choir of Bayerischer Rundfunk could be won. Marie-Claude Chappuis sings the part of Dido, Matthias Winckhler the part of Aeneas. Robin Johanssen as Belinda and Katharina Magiera as sorceress are part of this high-end cast.

Alexander Liebreich

Alexander Liebreichbecame Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in September 2018. He also took over as Artistic Director of the Richard Strauss Festival in Garmisch-Partenkirchen in 2018 which led to him being elected head of the Richard-Strauss-Society, following Wolfgang Sawallisch and Brigitte Fassbaender in this position.

Alexander held the position of Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Munich Chamber Orchestra from 2006 – 2016. Their first collaborative CD, featuring works by Joseph Haydn and Isang Yun, was released to great critical acclaim in January 2008. The recent release “Requiem“ by Tigran Mansurian, with RIAS Kammerchor on the label ECM Classics received nominations for the Grammy Award 2018 and the ICMA Award 2018 in the category “Contemporary Music”.

As a guest conductor, Alexander has worked with many prestigious orchestras including the Concertgebouw Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra Berlin, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Yomiuri Nippon Symphony Orchestra, NHK Symphony Orchestra and Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich. Recent and future engagements include debuts with the Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Singapore Symphony Orchestra, Orquesta de Valencia and Mahler Chamber Orchestra.

He regularly performs with distinguished soloists such as Lisa Batiashvili, Krystian Zimerman, Frank Peter Zimmermann, Alban Gerhardt, Leila Josefowicz, and Isabelle Faust.

Akademie für Alte Musik © Uwe Arens
Akademie für Alte Musik © Uwe Arens

Akademie für Alte Musik BerlinFounded in Berlin in 1982 and recognized today as one of the world’s leading chamber orchestras, the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, or Akamus, enjoys an unprecedented history of success. The ensemble, which performs regularly in Europe’s leading musical centers, has toured Asia, North America, and South America. Concert tours will take the orchestra in 2016 to Buenos Aires and to Japan, in 2017 to the USA.
Ever since the reopening of the Berlin Konzerthaus in 1984, the ensemble has enjoyed its own concert series in Germany’s capital, and since 1994 has been a regular guest at the Berlin Staatsoper. Starting with the 2012-13 season Akamus also has an own concert series at Munich’s Prinzregententheater. Each year Akamus gives circa 100 concerts, ranging from small chamber works to large-scale symphonic pieces, and performs under the artistic leadership of its concertmasters Stephan Mai, Bernhard Forck, and Georg Kallweit.

The close partnership with René Jacobs has produced many celebrated opera and oratorio productions. The latest interpretations of Mozart’s operas The abduction from the seraglio and The Magic Flute, as well as J. S. Bach’s St. John and St. Matthew Passion, has been highly praised by critics and audience.
The ensemble has also worked regularly with conductors such as Marcus Creed, Daniel Reuss and Hans-Christoph Rademann. The orchestra will be led by Emmanuelle Haïm, Bernard Labadie, Paul Agnew and Rinaldo Alessandrini in the upcoming seasons.
Most notable is the congenial cooperation with the RIAS Chamber Choir, whose quality is recognized by numerous award-winning recordings. Akamus works regularly with internationally renowned soloists like Isabelle Faust, Andreas Staier, Alexander Melnikov, Anna Prohaska, Werner Güra and Bejun Mehta. Moreover, Akamus has extended its artistic boundaries to work together with the modern dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests for innovative productions like Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas and Medea (music by P. Dusapin).
The international success of the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin is highlighted by well over a million recordings sold to the public. Recording exclusively for harmonia mundi France since 1994, the ensemble’s CDs have earned many international prizes, including the Grammy Award, the Diapason d’Or, the Cannes Classical Award, the Gramophone Award, the Edison Award, the German Record Critics’ Award, the MIDEM Classical Award 2010 and the Choc de l’Année. The latest additions to the orchestra’s discography are CDs devoted to Handel’s Water Music, Bach’s St. John Passion conducted by René Jacobs and Mendelssohn’s Elias conducted by Hans-Christoph Rademann.
The orchestra has been honoured with the Telemann-Preis Magdeburg and in 2014 with the Bach Medaille Leipzig and the ECHO Klassik.

Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks © Astrid Ackermann
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks © Astrid Ackermann

Choir of the Bavarian Broadcasting CorporationDue to its special sonic homogeneity and stylistic versatility, which encompasses all areas of choral singing from the medieval motet to contemporary works, from oratorio to opera, the choir of the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation enjoys the highest prestige all over the world.
Guest performances have taken him to Japan as well as to the festivals in Lucerne and Salzburg. European top orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker and the Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden, but also original-sound-ensembles such as Concerto Köln or the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin appreciate the collaboration with the BR Choir. Recently, the choir has performed with conductors such as Andris Nelsons, Bernard Haitink, Daniel Harding, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Riccardo Muti, Riccardo Chailly, Thomas Hengelbrock, Robin Ticciati and Christian Thielemann.
Founded in 1946, the choir’s artistic development was closely linked to the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Mariss Janson has been the chief conductor of both orchestras since 2003. In summer 2016 Howard Arman was appointed artistic director of the choir. Like its predecessor Peter Dijkstra, the English conductor cultivates the choir’s wide artistic range and also intensifies it in the special fields of ancient and modern music.
In the series musica viva (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks) and Paradisi gloria (Münchner Rundfunkorchester) as well as in its own subscription concerts, the choir regularly distinguishes itself with world premieres. For his CD recordings he has received numerous high-ranking awards, including the ECHO Klassik. The DVD edition of Bach’s St. John Passion was included in the German Record Critics’ Award’s Best List 2/2017.

Translated with

Marie-Claude Chappuis

Marie-Claude Chappuis„What a voice! She exposes a full-bodied, resonant voice with warmth and softness, however simultaneously remaining flexible, graceful and elegant. More seductive a voice cannot sound!” A music-magazine of the German radio network SWR (“SWR2 Cluster”) recently summarized Marie-Claude Chappuis’ performance enthusiastically this way. Above all it is her cheerful just as unreserved commitment to music which makes her artistry unique and outstanding. An artist of international recognition.
The Mezzo-soprano from Freiburg (Switzerland) pursued her vocal studies at the music-conservatory of her hometown and the Mozarteum University in Salzburg where she was awarded a special prize for her virtuosity. Having first been a steady member of the Innsbruck Opera ensemble – led by Brigitte Fassbaender that time – she succeeded to attain the leading musical venues throughout Europe and very soon Asia too.
The milestones of her career so far included Idomeneo (Idamante) staged and conducted by Nikolaus Harnoncourt in Graz and Zürich, L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottavia) with René Jacobs conducting in Berlin and Brussels, L’Etoile (Lazuli) under John Eliot Gardiner in Zürich and Geneva, Carmen directed by Brigitte Fassbaender in Innsbruck, Cosi fan tutte (Dorabella) at the Salzburg Festival, La Clemenza di Tito (Sesto) under Alain Altinoglu’s baton in Baden-Baden and Luxemburg, Il Matrimonio Inaspettato (Contessa), a rare opera by Paisiello, under Riccardo Muti at Salzburg Festival, in Ravenna and Piacenza, Die Fledermaus (Prince Orlofsky) at the Grand Théâtre in Geneva as well as La Damnation de Faust (Marguerite) under Sir Roger Norrington in Leipzig.

Within the last years she joined productions such as Cavalieri’s Rappresentazione di Anima et Corpo (Anima) under René Jacobs at the Berlin State Opera, Schubert’s Fierrabras (Maragond) staged by Peter Stein at the Salzburg Festival (to be revived at Milan’s La Scala in 2018) and in La finta giardiniera (Ramiro) under Emmanuelle Haïm in Lille und Dijon. In 2016/17 she was performing in the new-production of The fairy Queen staged by Mariame Clément and conducted by Christophe Rousset at the Theater an der Wien and in a touring-production of Il ritorno d’Ulisse in Patria under René Jacobs.
On concert-stage she has recently sung with Il Giardino Armonico and Giovanni Antonini (Haydn’s Arianna a Naxos), the Gewandhaus Orchestra and Riccardo Chailly (Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion), the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra and Ivor Bolton (Mozart’s c-minor-Mass) and the New Japan Philharmonic and Ingo Metzmacher (Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis).
Marie-Claude Chappuis sings frequently recitals accompanied by the lute player Luca Pianca and the pianists Malcolm Martineau, Cédric Pescia, Christian Chamorel and Michael Gees.
Her already extensive discography includes Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion with Riccardo Chailly (Decca), La Clemenza di Tito (Annio) with René Jacobs (nominated for a Grammy Awards and released by Harmonia Mundi), Idomeneo (Idamante) with Nikolaus Harnoncourt (Styriarte Festival DVD Edition) and the Telemann’s Brockes-Passion (Prix du Midem 2009).

Robin Johannsen © Uwe Arens
Robin Johannsen © Uwe Arens

Robin JohannsenAmerican soprano Robin Johannsen came to Europe as a young artist with the Deutsche Oper Berlin and joined the company soon after as a soloist. Her roles there included Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Norina (Don Pasquale), Oscar (Un ballo in maschera), and Soeur Constance (Les dialogues des Carmélites). After two more years with Oper Leipzig (Gretel, Marzelline, Blonde, Susanna, and Pamina), she began her freelance career in 2008 with a special affinity for the Baroque and Classical repertoires.
In the 2017/2018 season, Robin Johannsen will make her debut at Theater an der Wien, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, and Athens’ Megaron in a new production of Beethoven’s Leonore (Marzelline) with René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester. Further performances will take her to Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, the Philharmonies of Paris and Cologne, and the Centre for Fine Arts ~ BOZAR in Brussels. She will sing Bach’s B Minor Mass with the Windsbacher Knabenchor and the FBO on tour in Germany and Norway, and will make her debut in Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie in Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations with Tabea Zimmermann and Ensemble Resonanz. Further highlights of the coming season include the Telemann opera Miriways at NDR Hamburg’s Telemann-Festival under Bernard Labadie, a new production of Entführung aus dem Serail (René Jacobs, conductor; Andrea Moses, director) at Salzburg’s Mozarteum with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, and a revival of Purcell’s King Arthur at the Staatsoper Berlin. Additionally, she will perform with La Cetra Basel, Pygmalion, the Academy of Ancient Music, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, and B’Rock Belgium.

The 2016/2017 season began with Robin Johannsen singing Rameau arias on tour with Teodor Currentzis and his orchestra MusicAeterna. She then recorded three new albums: Telemann cantatas with Concerto Melante, the title role in Vinci’s Didone with the Lautten Compagney, and Handel’s Parnasso in festa with Andrea Marcon and La Cetra Basel. Her season continued with Purcell’s King Arthur at the Berliner Staatsoper followed by her debut as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte on tour in Germany, Spain, and Asia with René Jacobs and the Freiburger Barockorchester. The soprano then made her debut in France singing Telemann’s Brockes Passion with Raphaël Pichon and his orchestra, Pygmalion, at the Paris Philharmonie and in five other French cities. In addition, she sang concerts with leading Baroque orchestras such as Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Concerto Köln, and the Freiburger Barockorchester. She was awarded an Edison Classical Music Award for her performance as Konstanze in the CD of Entführung aus dem Serail (René Jacobs, harmonia mundi).
Highlights of Robin Johannsen’s recent seasons include her acclaimed debut in the title role of Telemann’s Emma und Eginhard under René Jacobs at the Berliner Staatsoper; Venere/Giuturna in Amor vien dal destino also at the Berliner Staatsoper; her debut with Musikfest Bremen as Konstanze under Jérémie Rhorer and Le Cercle de l’Harmonie; the title role in Almira at the Hamburgische Staatsoper; and debuts at Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Gassmann’s L’Opera seria and at Teatro Regio Torino in Haydn’s Schöpfung under Antonello Manacorda. She sang Konstanze on international tour and recorded the role with Jacobs for harmonia mundi. In 2015, she debuted the role of Adina in L’elisir d’amore with the Hamburgische Staatsoper and appeared at the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music in Jommeli’s Don Trastullo under Alessandro De Marchi. Additionally, she sang Pamina on tour with the Lautten Compagney and Amital in a staged production of Mozart’s Betulia liberata with the Kammerakademie Potsdam. In May 2014, Sony Classical (dhm) released Robin’s first solo CD, In dolce amore, a world premiere recording of baroque arias and cantatas by Antonio Caldara conducted by Alessandro De Marchi.
Robin Johannsen has been a frequent guest with the Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alte Musik, the Internationale Bachakademie Stuttgart, Academia Montis Regalis, and Belgium’s B’Rock. She has collaborated with conductors such as: René Jacobs, Alessandro De Marchi, Andrea Marcon, Antonello Manacorda, Attilio Cremonesi, Christopher Moulds, Helmuth Rilling, Ottavio Dantone, Howard Griffiths, Celso Antunes, Lukasz Borowicz, Christian Thielemann, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, Marin Alsop, and Robert Page. Engagements have included performances with the Deutsche Oper Berlin, Berliner Staatsoper, Komische Oper Berlin, Oper Leipzig, Staatsoper Stuttgart, Oper Frankfurt, Vlaamse Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, OSESP São Paolo, Bayreuth Festival, Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin, RIAS Kammerchor, Dresden Philharmonic, Freiburger Barockorchester, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Academia Montis Regalis, Café Zimmermann, Concerto Köln, NDR Hannover, Helsinki Philharmonic, Danish National Chamber Orchestra, Singapore Symphony, Pittsburgh Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and the Dallas Symphony. She has also performed at Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Rheingau Musik Festival, Gasteig Munich, Essen Philharmonie, Berliner Philharmonie, Konzerthaus Berlin, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Bremen’s Glocke, Lucerne Festival, the Vatican, Conservatorio Torino, Auditorium del Lignotto – Torino, Grattacielo del San Paolo – Torino; Conservatorio di Milano; Tonhalle Zürich, and the Oregon Bach Festival.

Matthias Winckhler © Shirley Suarez
Matthias Winckhler © Shirley Suarez

Matthias WinckhlerBorn in 1990 in Munich, baritone Matthias Winckhler took his first singing lessons from Hartmut Elbert at the Bavarian Vocal Academy. In 2009 he finished secondary school at the Munich Pestalozzi Gymnasium.
From 2010 to 2015 he studied voice in the classes of Andreas Macco (vocal training) and Wolfgang Holzmair (Lied and oratorio interpretation) at the Salzburg Mozarteum University of the Arts. Mr Winckhler also actively participated in masterclasses imparted by Graham Johnson, Rudolf Piernay, Peter Schreier, Matthias Goerne, Markus Hinterhäuser, Christa Ludwig, Michele Pertusi and Breda Zakotnik. He was a bursary of the Walter & Charlotte Hamel Foundation and received support for his studies through the cultural office of Fürstenfeldbruck, his home town. In 2014 he was a selected as a scholarship holder for a Lied residency at Aix-en-Provence Festival, then in 2015 in the Salzburg Festival Young Singers Project.
In 2014, at the Salzburg International Mozart Competition, Matthias Winckhler won first Prize, as well as the Mozarteum Foundation Special Prize. He had also won the Second Advancement Prize at the National Junior Voice Competition in Berlin in 2010. He was one of the Bach Prize recipients at the 18th International Bach Competition in Leipzig in 2012; in Dortmund, in 2013, he was awarded the German Schubert Society Special Prize at the Schubert-Lied Competition for voice and piano.
On the opera stage, Matthias Winckhler has covered the roles of Belcore (“L’elisir d’amore”), Don Giovanni, Guglielmo (“Così fan tutte”), Almaviva (“Nozze di Figaro”) and Ruggiero (Vivaldi, “Orlando furioso”). He is now one of the soloists engaged as a member of the ensemble of Hanover Opera from the 2015/16 season on.

Matthias Winckhler’s concert repertoire ranges from the passions, cantatas and oratorios of J. S. Bach and other Baroque composers, a number of Classical and Romantic oratorios, all the way to contemporary music and works by living composers. He has collaborated with conductors of the likes of Reinhard Goebel, Hans Graf, Matthew Halls, Günter Jena, Gianandrea Noseda, Helmuth Rilling, Jordi Savall, Masaaki Suzuki, Jos van Veldhoven and with outstanding ensembles such as the Salzburg Camerata, the Salzburg Mozarteum Orchestra, the Netherlands Bach Society, Brandenburg State Orchestra, the Leipzig Baroque Orchestra, the Hamburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the instrumental ensembles “Les Cornets Noirs” and “La Banda”. Furthermore, he has worked in close collaboration with composers such as Friedrich Cerha, Gerhard Wimberger, Manfred Trojahn, Benedikt Burghardt and Nikolaus Brass.
Lied is another one of Winckhler’s strengths as a performer, and he makes frequent artsong appearances with the Viennese pianist Bernadette Bartos. In 2013, Mr Winckhler guested in Vienna at a Schubert matinee, and in 2014 he sang Lied repertoire in an appearance at Strasbourg Opéra National du Rhin. At the 2014 Leipzig Bachfest he presented a series of Lieder and odes by C. P. E. Bach, Mozart and Beethoven. Then, at the Kissingen Summer Festival in 2015, Winckhler gave his début performance accompanied by Jan Philip Schulze at the piano.
His broad range of repertoire and styles is well-documented on CD releases by Bavarian Radio (BR) and Oehms Classics, and on DVD’s of “Le Nozze di Figaro”, “Don Giovanni” (at the Salzburg Mozarteum), “L’elisir d’amore” and a release entitled “Death and the Maiden – a Schubertiade in Late Autumn”.

Katharina Magiera © Barbara Aumüller
Katharina Magiera © Barbara Aumüller

Katharina MagieraDuring her studies as a Piano major in Mannheim, Katherina Magiera decided to switch to be a Voice Major studying with Professor Vera U.G. Scherr. From there she went to study with Professor Hedwig Fassbender in Frankfurt am Main, and Professor Rudolf Piernay in Mannheim, where she earned a Konzert Diploma.
Ms. Magiera received the scholarship “Villa Musica” from the German state Rheinland Pfalz, the Yehudi Menuhin Foundation scholarship “Live Music now”, the foundation the German people scholarship, and in 2009 won the Mendelssohn competition.
Her concert repertory includes the Passions and many Cantatas of J.S. Bach, the Requiems of Duruflé, A. Dvořák, G. Verdi, A. Schnittke and W.A. Mozart, as well as the Oratories of Händel, Mendelssohn and Honegger. These works were conducted by, G. Garrido, H-Chr. Rademann, P. Cao, P. Carignani, S. Kuijken, M. Beuerle, W. Toll und H. Rilling.

On the Opera Stage, Katharina Magiera has performed in the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Opéra du Rhin in Strasbourg, and in the Oper Frankfurt, where she has been a full time ensemble member since the fall of 2009. There Ms. Magiera has been seen as, Sphinx (Oedipe), Bradamante (Orlando furioso), Rosalia (Tiefland), Alisa (Lucia di Lammermoor), Tisbe (La Cenerentola), Untos Wife (Sallinens Kullervo), Stallmagd (Königskinder), Cornelia (Giulio Cesare in Egitto), the High priestess in Schoecks Penthesilea and as Flosshilde / Schwertleite (Ring), Ježibaba (Rusalka), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Dryade (Ariadne auf Naxos), Filosofia (LʼOrontea),Marzelline (Figaros Hochzeit), and in the Frankfurt Opera premiere of three one Act operas by Bohuslav Martinů, as Wanja (Iwan Sussanin) and Nancy (Martha).
In 2015 Ms. Magiera debuted with the Opéra Bastille Paris, as the Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte), and in the same year with the National Symphony of Poland Radio Orchestra under the baton of A. Liebreich, debuted at the Salzburg Festival under the direction of A. Orozco Estrada, and with MDR Symphony Orchestra conducted by K. Järvi. Future engagements for Katharina Magiera include the Salzburg Festival in 2017 as Schwertleite conducted by Christian Thielemann, and at the Vienna State Opera as the Third Lady in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte under René Jacobs.