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Michael Hofstetter & Chor und Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele Antonio Salieri: Les Danaïdes OC 909 2 CD
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Format2 Audio CD
Ordering NumberOC 909
Release date02/08/2007
Players/ContributorsMusicians Composer
  • Salieri, Antonio

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      Sophie Marin-Degor · Hans Christoph Begemann · Christoph Genz
      Kirsten Blaise · Wolfgang Frisch · Sven Jüttner
      Daniel Sütö · Jürgen Deppert
      Chor und Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
      Michael Hofstetter, conductor · Jan Hoffmann, chorus master

      The April 26, 1784 Paris Opera premiere of this work was still noted under the name of the composer actually commissioned to compose it, Ch.W. Gluck, but it soon came out that in reality, the 33-year-old assistant to Gluck (who had suffered a stroke), Antonio Salieri, had written the work “in tutto”. The sensation was perfect, and due to Salieri’s success, French opera underwent a significant development. For beginning with Gluck’s operatic style, Salieri managed with “Danaïdes” to make the transition from number opera to the dramatically more consequent through-composed scenic opera. The Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele production, recorded here under studio conditions, follows historical performance practice and presents the opera in nearly uncut form.

      Antonio Salieri
      Les Danaïdes
      Tragédie lyrique in Five Acts

      Text by François Bailli du Roullet (1716–1786) and Louis Théodore Baron de Tchudi (1734–1784) after Ranieri de’ Calzabigi (1714–1795)

      Dédiée à la Reine Marie Antoinette (dedicated to Queen Marie Antoinette)

      First performance: April 26, 1784
      Opéra, Paris

      Hypermnestre, eldest daughter of Danaüs     Sophie Marin-Degor
      Danaüs, king of Argos, brother of Égyptus     Hans Christoph Begemann
      Lyncée, son of Égyptus     Christoph Genz
      Plancippe, daughter of Danaüs     Kirsten Blaise
      Pélagus, head of the guards of Danaüs     Wolfgang Frisch
      First Officer      Sven Jüttner
      Second Officer     Daniel Sütö
      Third Officer     Jürgen Deppert

      Chor und Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
      Michael Hofstetter, conductor
      Jan Hoffmann, chorus master

      A Stroke Of Fortune That Lead To Success: Antonio Salieri And His Parisian Opera “Les Danaïdes”

      A sensational coup

      It was truly a first-time sensation in the exceptional history of the Paris Opera, which was already ripe with intrigue and scandal: the brilliant premiere of the five-act tragédie lyrique Les Danaïdes (The Danaides) on April 26, 1784 in Europe’s renowned opera house. The art-enthusiast Habsburg queen Marie Antoinette (wife of King Louis XVI) and many other prominent political and cultural figures were present in the audience that night. For months, regular opera-goers in the metropolis on the Seine and at the seriously in-debt Versailles court had waited in anticipation for this event, which was both a social and musical must. The reason: the opera directorship had appointed no one less than the great composer Christoph Willibald Gluck (1714–1787) to create the new musical tragedy.

      The Viennese “würkl. Kais. Königl. Hof Compositor“ („genuine k-and-k court composer“) had already celebrated triumphal successes with his Iphigénie en Aulide and Iphigénie en Tauride (which premiered 1774 and 1779 respectively) and successfully won in a major artistic confrontation with southern Italian star-composer Niccolò Piccinni (1728–1800), while additionally developing a high degree of personal regard for this certainly respectable rival. In short, the Viennese-by-choice Gluck was highly popular at the Seine, practically an institution in the French opera business.

      Who would have imagined that the Viennese master had long borne a grudge against French opera audiences and that he had even tersely written in a private letter dated March 31, 1780: “… but that I should travel again to Paris will not take place … it would take a great deal to convince me once again to become the object of criticism and praise of the French nation … – if that should happen, it would have to be very comfortable, for idleness is now my only pleasure … I am … now healthy; I no longer wish to spew venom in Paris.” It was true: for reasons that are hard to comprehend, Gluck’s enchanting last opera Echo et Narcisse (1779/80) had been accepted only with exceptional reserve by Parisians. But was not the Paris Opéra the site of Gluck’s greatest triumphs?

      Hardly anyone raised an eyebrow when the composer (in conformance with the artistic conventions of the day) named a replacement “just in case …” Such a person’s job was to take over at a moment’s notice and finish the score should the already 69-year-old master be prevented from completing it himself due to sudden illness. Certainly, the name of Gluck’s 33-year-old assistant, a certain “Maestro Antonio Salieri”, had been heard by only a very few in Paris. But was it not perfectly natural that the musical grand seigneur would look for help for his new Parisian opera project in his immediate environment, that is, in Vienna? And why should not this apparently extremely capable Monsieur Salieri (whose credentials ranged from being kapellmeister of Vienna’s Italian Opera to the authorship of numerous, thoroughly successful works for the stage) rehearse Gluck’s work and conduct it at the premiere? Could one honestly expect the aged Gluck to even begin the difficult journey to Paris? The very busy Viennese master had great difficulties after suffering his first stroke. Who could see any problem with him letting the highly talented Signor Salieri compose one or another recitative? If in the end Gluck only wrote the most important passages such as choruses, arias and ensembles – and of course, the overture (a genre, in which Gluck was an uncontested authority)? Was it not so that many highly reputable maestri of the time delegated parts of their new compositions to their most talented students?

      It was a gallant move of the genial Chevalier de Gluck that on the title page of the opera score to Les Danaïdes (which was printed immediately following the highly celebrated premiere, according to proper Parisian tradition), not only his own name appeared as creator of the greatly applauded music, but also the above-mentioned Monsieur Salieri, who had so fantastically conducted the orchestra of the Opéra – and who had possibly even added a few measures here and there to Danaïdes, or perhaps a short aria or two.

      In any case, according to witnesses of the premiere, the bulk of the score of Danaïdes clearly carried the artistic signature of the great opera reformer just as much as the masterpieces he composed in or for Paris – from the previously mentioned first Iphigénie to the psychologically subtle Iphigénie en Tauride, with its unique art of orchestral characterization and colossal choral tableaus. Did not the audience reencounter these aesthetic merits of Gluck’s last parisian tragedy, used to their greatest effect, in the brand-new opera Les Danaïdes? All reviewers concurred that the great Austrian composer, clearly marked by age and debilitating illness, had presented an uncommonly gripping work. After the premiere and the following completely sold-out performances, enthusiasm for Christoph Willibald Gluck and his music distinctly reached the boiling point.

      And then, out of thin air, the bomb dropped. To the complete and total astonishment of the capital city public, a statement by Gluck was printed in the Journal de Paris, the newspaper avidly read by France’s aristocrats and upper middle class (intentionally dated on the day of the opera’s premiere, but released only after its sixth performance). The content: “… the music of Danaïdes was completely composed by Monsieur Salieri and I have had no part in it other than providing suggestions that he was grateful to take from me, … my esteem for him has caused me to give him some of my experience.” Now, Antonio Salieri also stepped out of hiding. In an official statement of thanks that he also published in the Journal de Paris, Salieri confirmed Gluck’s testimony: “The declaration of Monsieur Chevalier Gluck, which I have just read in your newspaper, is a new proof of the goodwill I have received from this great man, whose friendship sheds a beam of his fame on me. It is true that I alone composed the music to the opera Les Danaïdes, but I wrote it completely under his supervision, guided by his light and illuminated by his genius …” Monsieur Salieri, who was born in Venice, and who Parisians had perceived until then only as an excellent kapellmeister and averagely talented Italian opera composer, revealed himself from one moment to the next to be the greatest success of the season. The artistic sensation was perfect.

      Literary feud

      But this was not everything – not by a long shot. Two respected Parisian literati claimed responsibility for the libretto of Les Danaïdes: Marius-François-Louis Gand Leblanc, Bailli du Roullet, and Jean Baptiste Louis Théodore Baron de Tschudi. The names of these writers, however, were not cited on the cover of the score – for good reason. Both authors (Tschudi had died, meanwhile, in the aftermath of an erysipelas infection) had fundamentally ransacked an Italian opera libretto – simply translating large parts of it into French. Gluck’s long-time friend and colleague Ranieri de’ Calzabigi – author of the texts of Gluck’s pioneering reform operas Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), Alceste (1767) and Paride ed Elena (1770) – had written it in 1778/79, presumably at the composer’s personal suggestion. As the title of the libretto Ipermestra ossia Le Danaidi (never set to music by Gluck) suggests, this is an extensive reworking of the often arranged libretto Ipermestra by Viennese k.u.k. court poet Pietro Trapassi, known as Metastasio (1698–1782), leading librettist of the older opera seria.

      His Ipermestra treats a gruesome antique myth based on the oldest known tragedy of the great Attic playwright Aeschylus (ca. 525 –456 B.C.). The legendary King Danaos of Argos is at war with his twin brother Aegyptus, who uses his military superiority to force Danaos to marry his fifty daughters to his own fifty sons. Danaos, however, secretly orders his daughters to murder their husbands (i.e. cousins) in the wedding night. 49 daughters obey the horrible instruction of their father; one refuses: Hypermestra (Ipermestra). Metastasio’s libretto concentrates on the title figure’s dramatic conflict, caught between her duties as a daughter and her loyalty to her husband, and gives her a number of highly emotional arias.

      Venetian composer Baldassare Galuppi (1706–1785) was among those Italians who wrote Ipermestra operas using Metastasio’s libretto. His Ipermestra premiered in 1758 in Milan. His successor as kapellmeister at Venice’s San Marco cathedral, Ferdinando Bertoni (1725–1813), had composed his own setting of Ipermestra ten years earlier (1748) for the Carneval season of the Teatro Falcone in Genoa. Other composers who used the same material were Giovanni Francesco de Majo (1732–1770, Naples 1768) as well as the Valencia- born Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806, Naples 1780). Giovanni Paisiello (1740–1816) – one of the most popular opera buffa composers of the galante era – also dedicated himself to the subject of the Danaides. Paisiello’s Ipermestra premiered in 1791 in Padua. But even this work was not the last Italian opera seria about Danaos and his murderous daughters. The opera Le Danaidi of Perugian-born Francesco Morlacchi (1784–1841), Carl Maria von Weber’s kapellmeister colleague in Dresden, premiered in 1810 in Rome. Christoph Willibald Gluck had also set Metastasio’s Ipermestra libretto in 1744. As is well known, the ingenious opera innovator had been one of the most brilliant musical representatives of a specifically Neapolitan opera seria before his fruitful and momentous cooperation with Ranieri de’ Calzabigi.

      The new version of the traditional Ipermestra drama that Calzabigi wrote for Gluck highlights a number of other facets than the composer himself had done when he set the “classical” Metastasio libretto. The conventional “arie di bravura” and “arie di agilità” of the tragic title heroine were eliminated. Her personal mental anguish was intensified and embedded in a constellation of many figures that concentrated in numerous choral scenes. These gave the musicians not only many opportunities for in-depth psychological treatment of this character but also for large-scale scenic complexes and imposing tableaus. It is hardly surprising that Calzabigi was highly pleased with the results of his reworking, that he appraised his own efforts as having great value and was extraordinarily outraged to discover that Gluck had simply handed over the Italian libretto – originally meant for Naples – to the above-mentioned Parisian authors without his knowledge.

      This was the beginning of a wild feud, carried out in the press and relished with glee by French readers. Calzabigi accused Gluck of fraud and Roullet of theft and plagiarism; he demanded complete restitution in sometimes extremely vehement language. Marius-François- Louis du Roullet, on the other hand, was never at a loss for a polemic, bawdy answer … To make a long story short: an opera scandal like this had never been seen. Never before had such a fresh, brilliant gesamtkunstwerk – characterized by perfect dramaturgy, virtuo sic interpretations and extravagantly rich decoration – received so much free publicity and advertising as the gigantic stage colossus Danaïdes. Half of Paris was speaking about the new opera, and Antonio Salieri’s name was on everyone’s lips – practically overnight.

      Many-sided maestro

      Antonio Salieri was by no means an unknown artist – either in his home city of Venice or his new Austrian home-of-choice. The son of a merchant was born on August 18, 1750 in Legnano, a small town in today’s province of Verona. Orphaned at a young age, the barely 16-year-old found an influential patron in 1766: the renowned Bohemian opera composer Florian Leopold Gassmann (1729–1774), who was the court kapellmeister of Emperor Joseph II from 1772 on. Gassmann took the young Salieri with him to Vienna and became his most important mentor, both personally and musically. After Gassmann’s death, Salieri was appointed by decree of the emperor to the position of court composer as well as conductor of the Vienna Hoftheater. On March 1, 1788, he also took over the post of k.u.k. court kapellmeister from Giuseppe Bonno (1711–1788), who had just retired.

      With his elegantly worked opere buffe, always rich in turbulent entanglements, Salieri soon established an excellent reputation as a composer. But it was his model Christoph Willibald Gluck who would become decisive for his artistic development, and whom Salieri would soon meet personally. Gluck arranged a prestigious commission for his young musician- colleague for the festive opening of Milan’s new La Scala – the commission for an opera which had originally been given to Gluck himself. With the resulting dramma serio L’Europa riconosciuta (premiere in Milan on August 3, 1778), Antonio Salieri appeared for the first time as a pupil of the great Gluck – though he had never taken formal composition lessons from him.

      Unquestionably, however, the true turning point in Salieri’s career as an opera composer was Les Danaïdes. Composed thoroughly in the Gluck tradition, though striving to surpass it stylistically, this work – the first of three composed for Paris – shows that Salieri had already completed the transition from numberopera to the dramaturgically and structurally innovative scenic opera. The older opera seria of Neapolitan origin had consisted of individual musical pieces, separated by recitatives and each with their own number in the score. In Les Danaïdes, however, Salieri combined dramatic recitatives accompanied by orchestra, short arias, choruses that were actively enmeshed in the action and brief ensembles into broadly painted scene-complexes.

      This technique of integrating vocal solos, duets and ensembles into larger scenes put Salieri squarely in the long tradition of Parisian music theater which had begun with Lully and Rameau. The dramatically compressed series of scenes from IV,2 to IV,5 in Les Danaïdes provides an impressive example of this: the vocal genres recitativo accompagnato, aria (including Hypermnestre’s dismal, desperate “Vous qui voyez l’excès de ma faiblesse” and Lyncée’s lyric-ecstatic “A peine aux autels d’Hyménée”), duettino (“Hélas! que ne puisje te suivre”), terzetto and “terror”-chorus (“Arrête, arrête, implacable furie”) alternate, resulting in rich contrast.

      In his next Parisian opera, Les Horaces (a tragédie lyrique that premiered in Versailles on December 2, 1786 and at the Paris Opéra five days later), Salieri took the palpable tendency found in Les Danaïdes of blurring the borders of conventional number opera and moving towards absolute dominance of open forms even further. Les Horaces promptly failed with audiences. “A very nice piece of work, but a little too austere for Paris,” commented celebrated dramatist Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais (1732–1799) on Salieri’s surprising failure. Following this, the Vienna maestro composed his certainly most important opera, using a text by Beaumarchais: Tarare, which premiered at the Opéra on June 8, 1787. Rigorously following Beaumarchais’ aesthetic postulate to the effect that “dramatic music” must always subordinate itself to the original literary work, Salieri composed an operatic form that disturbed not only a few of his contemporaries.

      Trendsetting success

      Les Danaïdes always retained its special attraction in Salieri’s extensive repertoire of works for the stage. In part, this is due to the bursts of late Neapolitan melody (e.g. the engaging wedding choruses in I,3 “Descends du ciel, douce Hyménée” and III,3 “L’Amour sourit au doux vainqueur”) that Salieri refused to give up (in contrast to Les Horaces and Tarare). “Those who expected to see a horrible play are amazed and surprised to find more celebration than horror,” approvingly noted a critic from the Paris newspaper Mercure de France after the premiere. The concise, one-movement overture, which opens with an Andante maestoso that anticipates the horrors of the murderous stage action, was also applauded. It stands “head and shoulders above the trivial symphonies that portray nothing, forebode nothing, that are poured into the typical form of the sonata, all miserably thrown together out of three or four pieces,” could be read in another article (May 22, 1784) in the Mercure de France. The composer maintained the principle of the one-movement overture in his later operas. By accelerating the tempo of the Danaïdes overture from Allegro assai to Più allegro to the final Presto, Salieri certainly intensified its expressiveness and gave it an additional dramaticism that seemed artistically adequate for the almost breathlessly uncoiling fatal opera plot.

      But Salieri’s contemporaries were most impressed by the solos of the protagonist Hypermnestre, caught between respect for her father Danaos and love for her betrothed Lyncée. Her moving aria in scene V,1, “Père barbare”, stylistically unites the “aria agitata” of the Neapolitan opera seria tradition with the freer, text-related declamation of the Parisian tragédie lyrique. Hypermnestre’s major scene in II,3, “Où suis-je? … Foudre céleste!”, on the other hand, is entirely indebted to the aesthetic ideals of French music theater. Accentuated by key and tempo changes, this scene is the prototype of the great solo scenes of the Paris grand opéra of the early 19th century. With Hypermnestre’s colorful and highly varied solo appearances in Les Danaïdes, Venetian composer Antonio Salieri left a lasting mark in the history of French (and thus, European) music theater.

      At the opera’s premiere, the famous soprano Antoinette Cécile Saint-Huberty sang the role of Hypermnestre, a role with historical importance concerning style. In the 19th century it became one of the standard roles of celebrated lyric-dramatic soprano Alexandrine Caroline Branchu. In his Mémoires as well as in the Soirées de l’Orchestre, Salieri’s admirer Hector Berlioz (1803–1869) describes the fascination that Branchu’s Hypermnestre portrayal had on him. Attendance at a number of performances of Les Danaïdes at the Paris Opera (1821) strengthened the convictions of the young medicine student Berlioz to become a musician instead.

      At the 2006 Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele, Antonio Salieri’s pathbreaking Parisian opera Les Danaïdes was performed with almost no cuts. These performances showed that the Viennese court kapellmeister – unjustly branded by some 19th century music journalists to be Mozart’s murderer – was more than capable of brewing together a masterful concoction of genuine Italian and French ingredients which still has an intoxicating effect on a modern auditorium.

      Martin Haag
      Translation: Elizabeth Gahbler


      1. Act
      The ocean shores. A temple. Preparations for the festival of peace. The sons of Égyptus descend from their ships.

      The wedding between the fifty daughters of King Danaüs and the fifty sons of his twin brother Égyptus is to end the long family feud between the two. At the altar of the goddess Juno, Danaüs and his nephew Lyncée swear to end the hatred. Danaüs’ eldest daughter Hypermnestre and Égyptus’ son Lyncée affirm their love and praise their happiness.

      2. Act
      Underground room in the palace dedicated to the goddess Nemesis. A statue of the goddess in the middle of the stage; the altar in the background.

      Danaüs is convinced that his brother Égyptus is insincere, that his desire for reconciliation is only pretense and that in reality, he wants to topple and murder him. To ward this off, Danaüs orders his daughters to murder their husbands in the wedding night. They swear obedience to their father in the temple of Nemesis – only Hypermnestre refuses to accept the terrible order.

      Danaüs curses his defiant daughter. Hypermnestre remains alone and quarrels with her fate: she must choose between her loyalty to her father and her love to Lyncée.

      3. Act
      Decorated garden dedicated to Bacchus and the wedding gods.

      The wedding of the Danaides with Égyptus’ sons is being celebrated. As Lyncée offers his bride the wedding goblet, Hypermnestre refuses to drink from it. Danaüs threatens her not to betray his grim plan. Hypermnestre sees no alternative and flees from the festivities. The confused Lyncée wants to follow her but is restrained by Danaüs. The freshly wed pairs are led to their wedding chambers accompanied by the jubilant songs of the chorus.

      4. Act
      Gallery with curtains to the wedding chambers. Hypermnestre begs her father for mercy.

      But Danaüs cannot be placated. He demands obedience from his daughter and leaves her alone. Hypermnestre waits for Lyncée and hopes that he will not come – in vain. She tries to get Lyncée to flee in order to save his own life. Lyncée misunderstands her request, however, interpreting it as a breach of faith and accusing her of betrayal. Hypermnestre almost reveals Danaüs’ dark plan. But she remains silent out of fear. Pélagus then comes to warn Lyncée. From outside, the screams of the murdered husbands can be heard. Hypermnestre urges Lyncée and Pélagus to flee. She remains and falls to the floor unconscious.

      5. Act

      As in Act IV – Hell. The shores of a sea of blood.

      Hypermnestre grieves for Lyncée, whom she believes to be dead. Only when Danaüs demands that she bring him Lyncée’s body as proof of her obedience does she realize that her beloved has succeeded in fleeing. Danaüs is furious that Hypermnestre has disobeyed his order. He has her put in chains and swears terrible revenge for her treason. To accomplish the will of their father, the Danaides go to hunt down Lyncée. In the meantime Lyncée and Pélagus have mobilized their troops and enter the king’s palace. Danaüs wants to execute Hypermnestre on the spot, but Pélagus throws himself between the two and kills Danaüs. The heavens darken, the earth quakes. Lyncée flees with Hypermnestre and his soldiers. Amidst thunder and lightning, the king’s palace is consumed by flames and swallowed up by the earth.

      In hell, Danaüs can be seen chained to a rock. A vulture rips his bloody entrails from his body. The Danaides, chained to one another, are tormented by demons, tortured by snakes and hunted by the Furies. They beg for mercy, but the demons are inexorable.


      Michael Hofstetter
      Michael Hofstetter has been principal conductor of the chorus and orchestra of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele since 2005. Born in Munich, he began his career at theaters in Wiesbaden (kapellmeister) and Giessen (GMD) and has established himself in recent years as one of the most sought-after young conductors. He has impressed critics and audiences alike as a specialist for baroque music and historically informed performance practice, especially with operas like Handel’s Alcina and Giulio Cesare in Egitto (together with director Herbert Wernicke). But Hofstetter has an even more extensive repertoire: after conducting the new production of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde in 2000 in Dortmund, he was nominated Conductor of the Year by a number of critics in the Opernwelt journal’s survey. His commitment to operetta was rewarded with the Robert-Stolz medal. Michael Hofstetter took on the direction of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra in fall 2006. He frequently guests at many major opera houses and festivals as well as with orchestras such as the Hamburg and Bavarian State Opera, Deutsche and Komische Oper Berlin, Norske Opera Oslo and Royal Opera Copenhagen, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Welsh National Opera in Cardiff and Basel Opera. He has appeared at the Salzburg Festival for years, where he conducted the Mozart trilogy Irrfahrten (Direction: Joachim Schlömer) in 2006. In the 2006/07 season he conducted the Stuttgart State Opera production of Actus tragicus and Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel at Dresden’s Semper Opera as well as the first scenic realization of Handel’s oratorio La resurrezione for the Handel Festival Karlsruhe. In 2008 Michael Hofstetter will conduct Béatrice et Bénédicte at the Houston Grand Opera.

      Sophie Marin-Degor
      French soprano Sophie Marin-Degor (Hypermnestre) started performing onstage in her youth after having begun her training at the music school of the French Radio Broadcasting Company, the Maîtrise de Radio- France. Following a two-year contract at the Comédie Française in Paris, she discovered her love of the classical repertoire when she appeared in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice at the Théâtre des Champs-Elysées. Under the baton of French conductor and baroque specialist Jean-Claude Malgoire, she began learning important baroque opera and oratorio repertoire as well as central roles in Mozart operas, including Pamina in the Zauberflöte, Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro or Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. In addition, the singer has worked with renowned conductors like Sir John Eliot Gardiner, William Christie, Michel Plasson and Nikolaus Harnoncourt. In addition to her appearances in baroque and Mozart operas, Sophie Marin-Degor dedicates herself intensively to Lied and contemporary music. The magazine Opernwelt nominated her as one of the three best singers of the year 2004 for her interpretation of Armide. In the season 2006/07 Sophie Marin-Degor was featured in Die lustige Witwe at the Opéra Comique in Paris and under Marc Minkowski as Michaëla in Bremen and as Mélisande in Moscow. Future projects are her interpretation of Rosalinde in Toulouse, Montecarlo and Lausanne.

      Hans Christoph Begemann
      Born in Hamburg, baritone Hans Christoph Begemann (Danaüs) studied with Ernst Haeflinger and Aldo Baldin, among others. After first appearances in Giessen and Wuppertal, he worked at the Darmstadt State Theater from 1997 to 2005, where he sang Germont in Verdi’s La Traviata, Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser and others. Furthermore, roles such as Figaro, Leporello and Papageno as well as Orest in Strauss’ Elektra and the three villains in Offenbach’s Les Contes d’Hoffmann are also part of the singer’s extensive repertoire. Hans Christoph Begemann has performed at renowned opera houses throughout the world. He was highly successful at the Finnish National Opera in Helsinki in 2004 when he sang the Troubadour in Kaija Saariaho’s opera L’Amour de loin. In the same year, he was part of a WDR project resulting in the release of the CD 60 Jahre Lieder aus Theresienstadt, which includes works of Viktor Ullmann and Pavel Haas as well as the first recording of Othmar Schoeck’s Erwin und Elmire. In May 2006, the baritone performed the role of Prospero in the premiere of Luca Lombardo’s eponymous opera at the Nuremberg State Opera. As a concert and Lied singer, Hans Christoph Begemann has made a name for himself with his repertoire of over 300 Schubert Lieder.

      Christoph Genz
      Born in Erfurt, tenor Christoph Genz (Lyncée) received his first musical instruction as a member of the famous Thomanerchor in Leipzig. He studied musicology at the King’s College in Cambridge and took voice lessons with Hans- Joachim Beyer at the Leipzig Conservatory and with Kammersängerin Elisabeth Schwarzkopf. The laureat of a number of international vocal competitions joined the Basel opera company in 1997. He has appeared at major opera houses such as the Theâtre des Champs-Elysées in Paris, the Opéra de Lausanne, Milan’s La Scala as well as the Semper Opera in Dresden, primarily with Mozart roles such as Tamino in Zauberflöte. He has worked with conductors such as Sir Simon Rattle, Philippe Herreweghe and Sir John Eliot Gardiner. In addition, Christoph Genz regularly performs at renowned festivals like the Lucerne Festival, the Schubertiade and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival. The tenor debuted at the Hamburg State Opera in 2000/01 as Ferrando in Mozart’s Così fan tutte and was subsequently invited to be a permanent member. He belonged to this ensemble until 2003/04, but guests regularly with it to this day. Numerous CDs (e.g. with Bach’s Johannespassion or Schubert Lieder) document the singer’s multifaceted work.

      Kirsten Blaise
      American soprano Kirsten Blaise (Plancippe) studied voice at the University of Indiana in Bloomington. She debuted in 1996 with Handel’s Israel in Egypt, performed with the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra. She has performed ever since with a wide range of repertoire, from Handel to Adams and from chamber music to opera, as well as in many important international music centers, including the Oregon Bach Festival and Carmel Bach Festival under Helmuth Rilling and Bruno Weil. In 2003, she celebrated her debut in the Concertgebouw Amsterdam with the Nederlands Radio Symfonie Orkest under Richard Hickox. She also sang the British Dancing Girl in the British premiere of John Adams’ The Death of Klinghoffer under Leonard Slatkin. She also interpreted this role in the exciting filming of the Adams opera, which was shown at renowned film festivals and honored with such international media prizes as the Prix Italia. The soprano has worked particularly closely with principle festival conductor Michael Hofstetter, singing under his direction at the Handel festivals in Karlsruhe and Halle. In 2005, she also appeared at the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele under Michael Hofstetter in Haydn’s Creation and Cimarosa’s Gli Orazi e i Curiazi. In fall 2006, she debuted at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival.

      Wolfgang Frisch
      Tenor Wolfgang Frisch (Pélagus) attended the musical secondary school of the Regensburg Domspatzen before continuing his training at the musical secondary school Auersperg in Passau. In 1994, he was accepted as a junior voice student at the renowned Salzburg Mozarteum, beginning his studies as a full student the subsequent year. His stage debut was in 1996 when he sang with the chorus of the Südostbayerischen Städtetheaters Passau. One year later, he transferred to the Augsburg-Nuremberg Academy of Music, complementing his training with private instruction from Ada Zapperi in Munich as well as numerous master classes, e.g. with Ulf Bästlein, Jeffrey Gall and James Taylor. In 2001/02, he took post-graduate coursework in Lied and oratorio with Thomas Kerbel at the Bruckner Conservatory in Linz. A number of guest appearances have taken the tenor to the Theater Augsburg, Scala Theater Basel and the Landestheater Linz. He was also awarded a scholarship to the International Handel Academy in Karlsruhe. In addition to his many opera appearances, Wolfgang Frisch is also in demand as a concert and oratorio singer. He focuses particularly on oratorios, passions and masses by Bach, Handel, Mozart and Haydn.

      Sven Jüttner
      The musical roots of the young bass Sven Jüttner lie in pop music. However, he settled for a classical singing career and studied voice at the Free Music Center Stuttgart. His first chorus experience was in opera and CD productions. Sven Jüttner has been a member of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele chorus since 2005. In addition, he takes on solo parts, primarily in the field of sacred music, and has recently joined the Stuttgart State Theater Extra- Chorus.

      Daniel Sütö
      Bass Daniel Sütö (Second officer) comes from Tirgu Mures in Romania. After studying music theory and choral conducting in the Romanian city of Brasov, he changed to the Academy of Music in Trossingen in 1995, studying in the class of Monika Moldenhauer. Since the successful completion of his diploma in March 2005, he has dedicated himself to further vocal studies. Daniel Sütö has already performed in numerous college stage productions in the title roles of Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro and Tchaikovsky’s Eugen Onegin. Since 2004, the bass has also given recitals with Lieder by Schubert, Loewe and Brahms, among others. For several years now he has been a member of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Chorus and also conducts his own choirs.

      Jürgen Deppert
      Baritone Jürgen Deppert (Third officer), born in Backnang, sang as a child and teenager in various choirs, where he was regularly given the opportunity to perfom solistically. After ten years of working as a product manager in textiles, he decided to pursue a career as a professional singer. He studied voice with Guy Ramon and Wayne Long at the State Academy for Music and Performing Arts in Stuttgart and attended various master classes by Sylvia Geszty and Thomas Quasthoff. He also sang in ensembles such as the Stuttgarter Choristen and in the chorus of the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele. Jürgen Deppert gave his opera debut in 2004 at the Heidenheim Opera Festival as Graf Ceprano in Verdi’s Rigoletto. In addition to various opera appearances, the singer has distinguished himself as a Lied and oratorio singer, e.g. in Heinrich Schütz’s Johannespassion and Fauré’s Requiem.

      Chor der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
      The Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Chorus developed out of the Süddeutscher Madrigalchor Stuttgart and can look back on a long, successful tradition with numerous tours and recordings. After over 40 years under the direction of Wolfgang Gönnenwein, the chorus has appeared since 2005 under its new principle conductor Michael Hofstetter in a slightly different form as a vocal ensemble of flexible size. Its repertoire ranges from intimate chamber works using only a few singers to large choral works, and from music of the Renaissance up to choral compositions from the 20th century. During the 2005 season, the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Chorus was highly acclaimed, particularly for its impressive performance of Berlioz’ Grande Messe des Morts. In 2006/07 it was present not only in Ludwigsburg, but at the Salzburg Festival and the Handel Festival Karlsruhe.

      Jan Hoffmann
      The chorus has rehearsed under the direction of Jan Hoffmann since the beginning of 2005. Jan Hoffmann gained his first experience as a choral conductor and vocal coach with the Bachensemble Mainz during his university study (school music with a major in voice). In 1996, Hoffmann taught choral conducting and vocal coaching at the Klassiksommer Hamm as well as at the International Choral Festival Mainz. In the same year, he was given a post for choral vocal coaching and ensemble conducting by the Collegium Musicum of the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. Hoffmann has been the choral conductor and kapellmeister of the Giessen City Theater since 1998 as well as artistic director of the Giessen Concert Association, the Singakademie Wetzlar and the Giessen Chamber Choir. In 2001 he founded the Amadeus Vocal Ensemble, which has performed at the Rheingau Music Festival and in Geneva, among other venues.

      Orchester der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele
      Founded by Wolfgang Gönnenwein in 1975, the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Orchestra continues essentially unchanged even after the retirement of its principle conductor of many years. The orchestra is comprised of members of leading Baden-Württemberg orchestras as well as university professors and graduates from that state’s institutions. Since Michael Hofstetter’s arrival in 2005, the orchestra has been complemented by young freelance musicians from the early music scene who have helped the ensemble move in a new artistic direction: developing a lively, authentic performance practice. The orchestra’s goal is to perform every work – from baroque to modern – using the instruments and techniques its composer had in mind: a challenge which the ensemble’s musicians meet with the greatest possible stylistic flexibility. With its new principle conductor, the Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Orchestra is increasingly present on the European market, e.g. as of 2006 in Götz Alsmann’s ZDF-Klassik show Eine große Nachtmusik and at the renowned Schubertiade in the Austrian venue Schwarzenberg.

      Chor der Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele Ludwigsburg Schlossfestspiele Chorus

      Sopran · Soprano
      Dagmar Bayon
      Christine Eisenschmid
      Sabine Fischer-Hennen
      Myriam Mayer
      Birgitt Nachfolger
      Saskia Paulsen
      Melanie Schlerf
      Isabell Schmitt
      Inga Spies
      Anja Stäbler
        Alt · Alto
      Johanna Sabine Albert
      Magda Cerna-Spanidis
      Christina Corderman
      Claudia Grimaldi
      Anke Haas
      Sibylle Henn
      Uljana Lauterbach
        Tenor · Tenor
      Michael Bootz
      Marc Hennen
      Stephan Hieke
      Alexander Illi
      Andreas Kalmbach
      Tobias Liebelt
      Peter Witte
        Bass · Bass
      Jürgen Deppert
      Frank Ellinger
      Eberhard Gauger
      Benedict Gründig
      Sven Jüttner
      Michael Kecker
      Gebhard Räcke
      Daniel Sütö

      Tracklist hide

      hide CD 1
      • Act 1
        • 1.Ouverture06:21
      • Scene 1 (Danaüs, Lyncée, Chorus, Plancippe)
        • 2.Recitative and Chorus (Danaüs): “Toi par qui, sans terreur”02:57
        • 3.Recitative and Chorus (Danaüs): “Approchez-vous, mes chers neveux”03:42
        • 4.Arioso and Chorus (Plancippe): “Loin de nous, jalousie affreuse”02:08
        • 5.Recitative and Aria (Danaüs): “Je vois, jeunes époux”04:06
      • Scene 2 (Lyncée, Hypermnestre, Chorus)
        • 6.Recitative (Lyncée): “Hypermnestre!”01:54
        • 7.Duet (Lyncée): “Oublions tous ces jours de peine”03:30
        • 8.Chorus: “Descends du ciel, douce Hyménée”02:56
      • ACT 2
        Scene 1 (Chorus of the Danaïdes, Danaüs, Hypermnestre, Plancippe)
        • 9.Chorus and Recitative (Les Danaïdes): “Où sommes-nous? ô ciel”.04:26
        • 10.Chorus (Les Danaïdes): ”Divinité, de sang avide”01:54
        • 11.Aria and Chorus (Danaüs): ”Je vous vois frémir de colère”.01:59
      • Scene 2 (Danaüs, Hypermnestre)
        • 12.Recitative (Danaüs): “Quand tes soeurs ont juré”03:01
        • 13.Aria (Hypermnestre): “Par les larmes dont votre fille”03:13
        • 14.Recitative (Danaüs): “Fille indigne de la lumière”01:28
      • Scene 3 (Hypermnestre)
        • 15.Recitative (Hypermnestre): “Où suis-je? où suis-je, ô ciel”01:58
        • 16.Aria (Hypermnestre): ”Foudre céleste! je t’appelle”03:04
      • ACT 3
        (Chorus, Chorus of the spouses, Danaüs, Lyncée, Hypermnestre, Chorus of the Danaïdes)
        • 17.Chorus: “Célébrons à l’envi cette heureuse alliance”02:01
        • 18.Allegretto01:43
        • 19.Chorus (The spouses): “Descends dans le sein d’Amphitrite”03:02
        • 20.Arioso (Danaüs): “Aux Dieux qui suivent l’Hyménée00:37
        • 21.Chorus: “L’Amour sourit au doux vainqueur du Gange”01:35
        • 22.Recitative (Lyncée): “Prends ce gage sacré”01:53
        • 23.Aria (Lyncée): “Rends-moi ton coeur, ta confiance”02:34
        • 24.Recitative and Aria (Hypermnestre): “Mon courage est à bout”02:29
        • 25.Recitative (Danaüs): ”Reprends tes esprits et tes sens”01:29
        • 26.Allegro Brillante02:21
        • 27.Chorus (The Danaïdes): “Pour nos devoirs montrons un même zèle”02:44
        • 28.Pantomime02:10
      • Total:01:13:15
      more CD 2
      • ACT 4
        Scene 1 (Hypermnestre, Danaüs)
        • 1.Recitative (Hypermnestre): “Ecoutez-moi, mon père”.02:15
      • Scene 2 (Hypermnestre)
        • 2.Recitative (Hypermnestre): “Le barbare, il me fuit”03:02
        • 3.Aria (Hypermnestre): “Vous qui voyez l’excès de ma faiblesse”02:38
      • Scene 3 (Lyncée, Hypermnestre)
        • 4.Recitative (Lyncée): “Lyncée, à tes genoux”02:36
        • 5.Aria (Lyncée): “A peine aux autels d’Hyménée02:51
        • 6.Recitative (Hypermnestre): “Ma force m’abandonne”01:57
        • 7.Duet (Hypermnestre): “Hélas! que ne puis-je te suivre”03:13
      • Scene 4 (Pélagus, Hypermestre, Lyncée, the spouses)
        • 8.Recitative and Chorus (Pélagus): “Suivez-moi, Prince, à l’instant même”01:45
      • ACT 5
        Scene 1 (Hypermnestre)
        • 9.Recitative (Hypermnestre): “Où suis-je? où vais-je?”02:49
        • 10.Aria (Hypermnestre): “Père barbare, arrache-moi”01:28
      • Scene 2, 3 (Danaüs, Hypermnestre)
        • 11.Recitative (Danaüs) “Ma vengeance est-elle remplie”02:16
      • Scene 4 (Chorus of the Danaïdes, Plancippe, Danaüs)
        • 12.Chorus (The Danaïdes): “Gloire!”02:29
      • Scene 5, 6 (Danaüs, the Danaïdes)
        • 13.Recitative and Chorus (Danaüs): “Mes filles”01:32
        • 14.Aria (Danaüs): “Dieux cruels!”01:01
      • Scene 7–9 (Officer 1–3, Danaüs, Hypermnestre)
        • 15.Recitative (1st Officer): “Seigneur, Lyncée, accourant du rivage”02:11
      • Scene 10–12 (Pélagus, Hypermnestre, Lyncée, Chorus, the Danaïdes, Demons)
        • 16.Recitative and Chorus (Pélagus): “Cruel! tiens, reçois”01:26
        • 17.Chorus (Lyncée, Chorus): “La terre tremble, le ciel gronde”03:06
      • Total:38:35