Michael Volle - A Portrait
Arias from works by Handel, Mozart, Schubert, Wagner, Verdi, Millöcker, Lehár
Michael Volle (baritone)
Münchner Rundfunkorchester/Ralf Weikert
rec. 24-27 September 2012 München, Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 1, Germany
No sung texts provided
Detailed track-listing at end of review
BR KLASSIK 900312 [70:58]
This attractive new BR Klassik CD offers a collection of arias sung
by German baritone Michael Volle. This is not to be confused with
the same label’s Great Singers Live compilation series
derived from the famous Munich Sunday Concerts and taken from the
archives of Bayerischer Rundfunk; the latter series featuring Mirella
Freni, Nicolai Ghiaurov, Elisabeth Grümmer, Margaret Price, Lucia
Popp and Hermann Prey. The present stand-alone release showcases Volle
in a set of seventeen songs from the pens of seven composers.
In the accompanying notes Volle points out that he has tried to achieve
a diverse selection. Variety is certainly on offer with opera arias
from Mozart, Wagner and Verdi, orchestral transcriptions of Schubert
lieder, Millöcker and Lehár operetta, Verdi’s Requiem
and Handel’s Messiah. Volle generously highlights the
significant role that one of his teachers, the Cologne-born baritone
Josef Metternich played in his career from the late 1980s until his
death in 2005. For those new to Volle: he made his debut at Mannheim
in 1990. From 1999 to 2007 he was on the roster of the Zurich Opera
House. Between 2007 and 2011 he was a member of the Bavarian State
Opera choral ensemble; there taking on a variety of roles. My pick
of Volle’s impressive and burgeoning operatic career includes
his Beckmesser in Katharina Wagner’s 2008 Bayreuth production
of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg and his Jochanaan at
the Royal Opera House in the 2008 David McVicar production of Salome.According
to the website of the New York Metropolitan Opera in April 2014 Volle
will make his Met debut singing Mandryka in a revival of Otto Schenk’s
production of Strauss’s Arabella.
I found every track in this Portrait both enjoyable and stimulating.
This collection demonstrates the versatility of a truly splendid baritone.
Rich and fluid with clear diction Volle’s interpretations are
characterful and reveal a high degree of warm perception. The orchestral
transcriptions of the three Schubert lieder are very much to my taste.
They are captivatingly sung and I enjoyed the purity of Volle’s
mid-to-high range. His interpretation of the wonderful Erlkönig,
D 328 as orchestrated by Liszt, is suitably dark and rather menacing.
Pretty successful too are the three Wagner contributions - the pick
of which is Wolfram’s O du mein holder Abendstern from
Tannhäuser. Impressively appealing Volle gives a moving
rendition with an abundance of character. From Don Carlo and
Falstaff the Verdi arias demonstrate the soloist’s durability
and flexibility with a lovely steady tone and a barely noticeable
vibrato. In addition Volle is most adept at darkening his timbre to
suit the required mood.
Under Austrian maestro Ralf Weikert the Münchner Rundfunkorchester
provide unfailing support. There is much beautiful and passionately
assured playing and this is especially noticeable in the Verdi and
Lehár pieces. The only negative is lack of sung texts with
translations. The sound is satisfying clear and well balanced.
Georg Friedrich HANDEL (1685-1759):
"Thus saith the Lord" aus "Messiah" [1:24]
"Vouchsafe, o Lord" aus dem "Dettinger Te Deum" [1:37]
Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791):
"Deh vieni alla finestra" aus "Don Giovanni" [2:01]
"Finch'han dal vino" aus "Don Giovanni" [1:26]
"Tutto è disposto ... Aprite un po' quegli occhi" aus "Le Nozze
di Figaro" [4:14]
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828):
An Silvia, D 891 (orch. Matthias Spindler) [2:57]
Gruppe aus dem Tartarus, D 583 (orch. Max Reger) [2:43]
Erlkönig, D 328 (orch. Franz Liszt) [4:01]
Richard WAGNER (1813-1883):
"Wie Todesahnung ... Oh, du mein holder Abendstern" aus "Tannhäuser"
"Nein! Lasst ihn unenthüllt!" aus "Parsifal" [9:31]
"Wahn! Wahn! Überall Wahn!" aus "Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg"
Giuseppe VERDI (1813-1901):
"Confutatis" aus dem Requiem [4:14]
"O Carlo, ascolta" aus "Don Carlo" [8:47]
"È sogno? O realtà?" aus "Falstaff" [4:36]
"Ehi! Paggio! ... L'onore! Ladri!" aus "Falstaff" [4:42]
Carl MILLÖCKER (1842-1899):
"Dunkelrote Rosen" aus "Gasparone" [2:30]
Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948):
"Da geh ich zu Maxim" aus "Die lustige Witwe" [2:30]