Monday, December 23, 2013

Watching the Radio – Gösta Winberg (and others) on Ö1 Radio

Apropos Musik on Ö1 Radio remembers Swedish tenor Gösta Winbergh just a week before what would have been his seventieth birthday, in a program called: Not just a Mozart Tenor – Gösta Winbergh.  This may come as a bit of a surprise for those of us who do think of this Swedish tenor primarily as a Mozart singer who dabbled in Wagner (notably Lohengrin). In between, he sang music of Donizetti, Bizet, and Puccini (!), to name a few others. Sadly, he died of a heart attack at the early age of 58, right after a Vienna performance of Fidelio. See! Singing Beethoven is hazardous to your health.

In this hour-long program, we get to hear him in arias from Fidelio, Carmen, Tosca, and of course, Die Zauberflöte. The program also includes duets from Die Entfürhung aus dem Serail* with Edita Gruberova, L'elisir d'amore with Barbara Bonney (BB’s Adina is another pleasant surprise!), and The Pearl Fishers.

Speaking of Mozart tenors, on Ö1’s Matinee: Michael Schade, Magdalena Kozena, and Simon Keenlyside join Simon Rattle and the Wiener Philharmoniker for Janacek (the finale of The Cunning Little Vixen) and Mahler (Das Lied von der Erde). It’s a pretty good listen. The Janacek is as romantic sounding as you can imagine, and Mr. Keenlyside shines as the Forrester, with the other two in cameo roles. Das Lied von der Erde features our mezzo and tenor. 

Honestly, I prefer both Kozena and Schade in music that’s not Mahler (was that polite enough?). I’ve heard Herr Schade venture into Verdi and now Mahler, and I worry about him when he strays from the vocal safe haven of Mozart and Haydn. (Although I’m sure he doesn’t need my career advice, and he handles it much better than I expected!) For some reason, Ö1 split the Janacek and Mahler into two separate archived programs, and when I listened, the Janacek cut off a bit early. But that may have been my ISP acting up.

Both of these programs are available for about a week on Ö1 Radio’s archive 7 Tage Ö1. And on Christmas Day, Apropos Musik will feature excerpts from the latest La Scala La Traviata with Diana Damrau and Piotr Beczala.

*This Entfürhung recording also features some chick named Kathleen Battle, and the character tenor Heinz Zednik. It might not be characterized as a sparkling performance (did Sir Georg Solti ever really “sparkle”?) but it’s a beautifully sung one—I recommend checking out the whole performance when you have a chance.)

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