Berg: Wozzeck

Reviewed on Mon 08 Oct, 2018

Recorded live at Frankfurt Opera in 2016, this often surprisingly subtle account boasts rich, atmosphere-drenched playing from the house orchestra led with detailed discretion by Sebastian Weigle.

Norwegian baritone Audun Iversen’s first outing as Berg’s put-upon prole rebelling against the world and himself with murderous violence adds a fine, nuanced interpretation to the growing number of Wozzecks on disc. Recorded live at Frankfurt Opera in 2016, this often surprisingly subtle account boasts rich, atmosphere-drenched playing from the house orchestra led with detailed discretion by Sebastian Weigle. Iversen’s Wozzeck has something of Walter Berry’s ordinariness (CBS), Fischer-Dieskau’s emotional intelligence (DG) and Grundheber’s unhinged volatility (DG) but his satisfyingly introspective and intense portrayal remains solidly, movingly, his own. Claudia Mahnke’s slow-burning but incendiary Marie is less poignant but just as excoriatingly honest as Hildegard Behrens (DG). Strong support from Peter Bronder’s grotesque Captain, Alfred Reiter’s cynically dyspeptic Doctor, the brutal machismo of Vincent Wolfsteiner’s Drum Major and Katharina Magiera’s giddy Margret. A word, too, for Frankfurt’s choruses (children and adults) who add innocence and angst to proceedings, with a minor cavil about the slightly recessed recorded sound.
–Michael Quinn