Michael Volle’s Schubert & Loewe Recital at the Munich Opera Festival

Liederabend, F. Schubert, C. Loewe: Michael Volle (baritone), Helmut Deutsch (pianist). Munich Prinzregenten Theatre. 20.07.2011. (JMI)

Picture courtesy Bavarian State Opera, © Wilfried Hösl

The Munich Opera Festival always offers recitals by locally and internationally renown singers. This year Soile Isokoski, Michael Volle, Christian Gerhaher, Jonas Kaufmann, and Pavol Breslik are on the program. In all cases the programs are dedicated to art songs—Lieder, showing that in Munich audiences are still attracted by this threatened genre, whereas in my country, Spain, it isn’t popular at all.

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C.Loewe, Songs & Ballads,
Florian Boesh, Roger Vignoles

Michael Volle is one of the finest German baritones. At 51 he is in full vocal and artistic maturity, with a wide and well-modulated voice, very homogeneous and keenly aware how to best express feelings with it.

I was slightly put off by Volle, sitting on a high chair, using scores throughout the Liederabend, including all the encores. It is rather difficult to understand that a singer goes to a concert with the score when he has chosen the program himself months in advance and I could not help to feel that both the public and the singer missed out on part of the needed expressiveness because of this. To me it looked more as a singing lecture than a Liederabend.

The program included in the first half songs by Franz Schubert based on poems by Goethe, while the second part was dedicated to songs and ballads by Carl Loewe. I found the program more interesting in the second half and a little monotonous the first one. Michael Volle proved to be the excellent baritone with good expressive skills he is and the audience lapped up the four encores he offered, where he displayed a smart sense of humor. He was accompanied on the piano by Helmut Deutsch, a real authority in this type of music.

José MªIrurzun