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Home Classical Schubert Franz Schubert - Alfonso und Estrella (Harnoncourt) [2005]

Schubert - Alfonso und Estrella (Harnoncourt) [2005]

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Schubert - Alfonso und Estrella (Harnoncourt) [2005]

(01) Act 1
(02) Act 2
(03) Act 3

Dorothea Röschmann, soprano (Estrella)
Isabelle Vosskühler, soprano (Mädchen)
Christoph Leonhardt, tenor (Anführer der Leibwache)
Kurt Streit, tenor (Alfonso)
René Vosskühler, tenor (Jüngling)
Hanno Müller-Brachmann, bass-baritone (Adolfo)
Christian Gerhaher, bass (Troila)
Jochen Schmeckenbecher, bass (Mauregato)

Rundfunk Chor Berlin
Berliner Philharmoniker
Nikolaus Harnoncourt – conductor


Some might vote for Bizet’s Les Pecheurs de Perles, which has tunes so magnificent that they help to mitigate against a hopeless libretto, enticing companies to stage the opera from time to time. A somewhat more obscure candidate could be Howard Hanson’s Merry Mount - the suite from which sweetens the playlist of many a classical radio station. Naxos has released both the original Metropolitan Opera broadcast from the 1930s, in very poor sound, and a more recent concert recording, with Gerald Schwartz conducting. In both, the music engages while the drama distracts.

There is another possibility for that lamentable title: Franz Schubert’s Alfonso und Estrella, composed to a libretto by Franz von Schober. The score can’t be said to boast any of Schubert’s immortal melodies, but it has some fine ones nonetheless. Arias, duets, trios, ensembles - the score may be a crazy quilt of “pieces,” but each in itself is tuneful and evocative. Nikolaus Harnoncourt is not always the most stylish of conductors, but he has a flair for Schubert, especially the dramatic minor-key passages, as well as the more rhythmically exciting passages. He leads the Berliner Philharmoniker in an excellent performance.

Once seen, viewers may not be interested in returning to Alfonso und Estrella as a music drama. However, such are the pleasures of its score that this is well worth considering, if no other opportunity can be found for enjoying its music. ---Chris Mullins, operatoday.com

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Last Updated (Sunday, 27 April 2014 16:20)


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