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BUSSONI, George Fourie, Lilian Sukis, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino, Fernando Previtali

Die Brautwahl

Die Brautwahl image
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  • George Fourie - tenor
  • Lilian Sukis - soprano
  • Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino - orchestra
  • Fernando Previtali - conductor

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Kommissionsrat Voswinkel - George Fourie Albertine - Lilian Sukis Thusman - Gerald English Edmund Lehsen - Herbert Handt Leonhard - Sigmund Nimsgern Manasse - Raffaele Arie Baron Bensch - Ermanno Lorenzi A Servant - Bruno Andreas Orchestra and Chorus of RAI Turin Conductor: Fernando Previtali G.D. 4.0 out of 5 starsAn elusive but fascinating work April 20, 2013 Busoni wrote Die Brautwahl ("The Bridal Choice"), a "comic-fantastic" opera in three acts and an epilogue, in 1905 based on a short story by E.T.A. Hoffmann. It's a curious work, and I have to say it is the composer's most elusive stage works compared to Doktor Faust and his two one-act operas - stylistically, it is very recognizably Busoni, with its strange and personal admixture of late-romantic lushness and neo-classical, well, I cannot find a much better word than "austerity". There are plenty of magical moments, beautifully crafted scenes and ideas. Yet the music - as the symbolist story - seems to remain always slightly beyond the grasp of this listener; one can never quite predict or comprehend what, exactly, is happening and where the premises Busoni gives us are going to lead. It is never less than fascinating, however; the vocal lines are imaginative and compelling, and the scoring is glittering and magical, often giving way to almost otherworldly textures. It is therefore hard to tell whether it is just me, but I cannot help but suspect that Barenboim experienced similar problems with fully comprehending what is going on. The Staatskapelle Berlin plays well - brilliant details and beautiful textures - but the logic remains elusive and there is little narrative momentum (but once again, I am aware that it might be I who am missing it). The soloists are at least very good, with a particularly strong male line-up in Roman Trekel, Graham Clark and Vinson Cole. The recorded sound is good as well, though the absence of a libretto with this reissue certainly does not help illuminate what, exactly, is going. A challenge, but one that seems to be well worth facing.


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