SZYMANOWSKI, K.: King Roger (Bregenz Festival, 2009)

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- (Disc 1)
Krol Roger (King Roger), Op. 46

Date of Production: 2009
Festival: Bregenz Festival
Playing Time: 01:28:34
Catalogue Number: A04001519
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"It's hard to believe that this Krol Roger had been neglected for so long!" The prestigious Opernwelt was not alone in welcoming the belated rediscovery of Polish composer Karol Szymanowski's (1882-1937) masterpiece of 1926, which resonates with echoes of Late-Romanticism and Expressionism, Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Presented at the Festival Hall of the Bregenz Festival in a production by festival director David Pountney, the musical rarity, a combination of opera, oratorio and mystery play, tells the story of 12th-century Sicilian King Roger, who is led astray by a mysterious shepherd who preaches a life of unrestrained hedonism.

Director David Pountney delivers an uncommonly riveting production by staging the clash of virtue and immorality in a simple, archaic, yet wondrously luminous set reminiscent of an ancient Greek theater. The coproduction with the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona is given musical shape by the Wiener Symphoniker, who "rise above themselves" (Opernwelt) under Sir Mark Elder. Scott Hendricks gives a powerful rendition of the title hero. Will Hartmann and Olga Pasichnyk shine as the shepherd and the king's wife.

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