Berg's 'Wozzeck' from Lyric Opera

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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Tomasz Konieczny and Angela Denoke star in the Lyric Opera's production of 'Wozzeck.' Tomasz Konieczny and Angela Denoke star in the Lyric Opera's production of 'Wozzeck.' (Cory Weaver/Lyric Opera)

Saturday at 1 pm, tune in to hear Alban Berg's gripping opera, Wozzeck, presented by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. The new David McVicar production stars Polish bass-baritone Tomasz Konieczny in the title role with soprano Angela Denoke as his common-law wife, Marie. Andrew Davis conducts.

Based on the German play by Georg Büchner, the opera follows the destitute solider, Wozzeck, who is routinely embarrassed, mocked, cuckolded and eventually driven to madness and murder. Too poor to be virtuous, he submits himself to demeaning experiments for extra money to support Marie and their child. However, Marie's affair with a drum major leads Wozzeck to murder her, as well as his own eventual death. 

In reviewing the production, the Chicago Tribune said, "A superb ensemble cast and orchestra bring out all the unsettling beauty of Berg's great score ...".


Wozzeck: Tomasz Konieczny
Marie: Angela Denoke
Captain: Gerhard Siegel
Drum Major: Stefan Vinke
Doctor: Brindley Sherratt
Andres: David Portillo
Margret: Jill Grove
Idiot: Brenton Ryan
1st Apprentice: Bradley Smoak
2nd Apprentice: Anthony Clark Evans
Soldier: Alec Carlson

Conductor: Sir Anthony Davis

Comments [3]

Adele F (aka AF) from Nassau County, Long Island

I agree completely with Theodore Cerame, only I make no apologies for my distaste for this "opera." It's probably great as drama, even like Greek drama, but not as music, to my ears anyway.

Jun. 04 2016 02:46 PM
Theodore Cerame from Perris, CA

After 40 years listening to all kinds of opera and after at least ten times listening to this so called opera for the life of me I cannot understand why it is performed. It is not only depressing but it hurts my ears. Please excuse me. I know that I am ignorant and I am sorry but I just can't get it. It is anything but beautiful. It is anything besides uplifting of the human spirit. It is an unmusical nightmare. Either, as a life long Opera buff I am not getting it or it has nothing musically worthy to get.
Forgive me. Though I will sit through this performance in one more effort to discover it's quality so far I find it an abysmal failure as a work of uplifting art.

Jun. 04 2016 01:52 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

An opera worthy of being included in the highest of ancient Greek drama, it's an operatic "Mount Everest" as regards supreme musicianship on the part of all the singers, chorus and orchestra. Berg's use of the 12-tone technique also includes moments with key signatures --- "traditional" writing --- such as Variation 5, Marie reading from the Bible, f minor, the cathartic orchestral peroration after Wozzeck drowns himself, d minor, and the chilling quiet ending, if it can be called that, in G major. Without understanding German or a libretto or score, it can be hard-going, but it's worth the stretch. Stokowski first performed it in the U.S.A. with the Philadelphia Opera Company with Nelson Eddy. The New York Philharmonic pension fund concert in 1951 was recorded with Mack Harrell and Mitropoulos conducting --- a gem of a performance --- and the Metropolitan Opera premiere was in 1959 with Hermann Uhde in the title role and Karl Bo"hm conducting. I look forward to this Lyric Opera of Chicago performance eagerly.

Jun. 04 2016 06:58 AM

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