Choral Concert 3

Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble | Thomas Hengelbrock | soloists


Thu, 06.04. | 19.30 | No. 17107

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

Please book a wheelchair ticket under t +41 (0) 41 226 44 80 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

Easter Festival

01.04.-09.04. 2017




    Choral Concert 3

    Balthasar Neumann Choir and Ensemble | Thomas Hengelbrock | soloists

    Daniel Behle  Evangelist
    Johann Sebastian Bach (1685–1750)
    “St. John Passion,” BWV 245
    Second version from 1725

    You likely have not encountered this version of Bach’s St. John Passion – but there is no question that it is authentic Bach, from the first to the last note. Thomas Hengelbrock performs this oldest extant Passion setting by the Leipzig Thomas cantor, but instead of the version that is normally used, which is based on the original score of 1724, he turns to the second version produced in 1725. The latter does not begin with the well-known chorus “Herr, unser Herrscher,” nor does it end with the chorale “Ach Herr, lass dein lieb Engelein,” but instead replaces these pieces with other choral arrangements. What’s more, there are three additional arias. Why bother? Bach clearly did not want to offer his congregation the same work two years in a row and so decided to create an alternative version: a fascinating glimpse into the workshop of the composer. Which version is to be preferred? Judge for yourself! In any case, Hengelbrock, his wonderful ensembles, and the first-rate soloists will ensure a Bach experience second to none.

    Balthasar Neumann Choir and soloists

    The Balthasar Neumann Choir, whose repertoire ranges from the early Baroque to modern music, was founded in 1991 by Thomas Hengelbrock. Its members are professional singers who also appear as soloists in their performances. Their dramaturgically sophisticated productions combine rarities by such composers as Antonio Lotti and Jan Dismas Zelenka with well-known works of the repertoire. The Choir has also made a name for genre-crossing and staged productions: the singers have collaborated closely with the actors Klaus Maria Brandauer and Johanna Wokalek to create numerous musical-literary projects. The Balthasar Neumann Choir regularly performs on the opera stage in productions at the Schwetzingen Festival and the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Among the most successful works in its repertoire is Pina Bausch’s staging of Gluck’s Orpheus and Eurydice, which was premiered at the Opéra National de Paris in 2005 and was also shown in New York in 2012. The singers appeared at the Salzburg Festival in 2015 in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas, which was staged and conducted by Thomas Hengelbrock. The Choir opened the 2016-17 season with a focus on Felix Mendelssohn: together with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, it performed his oratorio Elijah and, during Advent, concerts with Christmas-related works by the composer. In February 2017 they gave six performances of Monteverdi’s Selva morale e spirituale in Spain under Pablo Heras-Casado. In April the ensemble will prepare a Schubert-Mozart program with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, and in June they will tour to the Dresden Music Festival with Beethoven’s Leonore under Ivor Bolton. The Balthasar Neumann Choir received the Culture Prize of the State of Baden-Württemberg in 2005.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 19 March 1997 in works by Antonio Lotti and Emanuele Rincon d’Astorga under Thomas Hengelbrock.

    February 2017


    Founded in 1995 by Thomas Hengelbrock, the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble is named after the epochal Baroque architect Balthasar Neumann (1687–1753), who effected a symbiotic combination of different disciplines in the interplay of painting, sculpture, architecture, and gardening. In keeping with this ideal, the musicians strive for a close interrelationship between the arts through musical-literary projects, staged concerts, and opera productions. The basis for their playing style is historically informed performance practice, but this is not confined to early music. Works from the early Baroque to Modernism are played on authentic instruments corresponding to the time in which they were written and to their historical background. The Ensemble regularly performs at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Konzerthaus in Dortmund, and the Salzburg Festival. Along with the projects that Hengelbrock and the Balthasar Neumann Choir play together, such conductors as Teodor Currentzis and Pablo Heras-Casado have also collaborated with the ensemble. Their most recent DVD releases include Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore with Rolando Villazón as director and doubling in the role of Nemorino, as well as Mozart’s Don Giovanni with Anna Netrebko and Erwin Schrott. For its 20th anniversary, the Ensemble presented Verdi’s La traviata in period style at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden and performed Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Salzburg Festival. Their most recent project is the century-spanning crossover program Himmel, Erde, Meer led by the Swedish conductor Olof Boman, in which the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble combines music from the early Baroque with Modernist works. 

    February 2017

    Thomas Hengelbrock

    Born in 1958 in Wilhelmshaven, Thomas Hengelbrock studied violin with Conrad von der Goltz and Rainer Kussmaul in Würzburg and Freiburg. In 1980 he became concertmaster of the Junge Deutsche Philharmonie; he also concertized with such ensembles as Concentus Musicus Wien. Hengelbrock become one of the co-founders of the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra in 1985; he established the Balthasar Neumann Choir in 1991 and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble in 1995. From 1995 to 1998 he served as Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, from 2000 to 2003 he was Music Director of the Vienna Volksoper, and in 2001 he founded the Feldkirch Festival, which he led until 2006. In 2011 Hengelbrock took over leadership of the NDR Symphony Orchestra, now known as the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, which he conducted in January 2017 in the prestigious opening of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie. Since the beginning of the 2016-17 season he has additionally been “Chef associé” with the Orchestre de Paris. As an opera conductor, Hengelbrock has appeared at the Bayreuth and Schwetzingen Festivals, the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Opéra National de Paris, the Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Royal Opera House in London. He has also served as a stage director: he staged and conducted Purcell’s King Arthur at the Ruhrtriennale and Mozart’s Il re pastore and Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Salzburg Festival. In the concert arena he has conducted such ensembles as the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Munich Philharmonic; in the 2015-16 season he made his debuts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam and the Vienna Philharmonic. Along with the historic repertoire he deals with contemporary music, which he studied intensively early on as an assistant to Witold Lutosławski and Mauricio Kagel. He was awarded the Karajan Music Prize in 2016.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on March 19, 1997, with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra and the Balthasar Neumann Choir in works by Emmanuele Rincon d’Astorga and Antonio Lotti.

    February 2017

    Daniel Behle

    The tenor Daniel Behle, who was born in 1974, initially studied school music, trombone, and composition. He then took up voice lessons with his mother, the soprano Renate Behle, and the tenor James Wagner. In 2003 he began his career as part of the Oldenburg Staatstheater ensemble, moving to the Vienna Volksoper in 2005 and Oper Frankfurt in 2007. Since 2010 Behle has been a freelance artist, singing at the Vienna, Munich, and Berlin Staatsoper companies; Opéra National de Paris; the Grand Théâtre de Genève; and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels. In 2014 he appeared as Matteo in Strauss’s Arabella at the Salzburg Easter Festival; he has also sung Belmonte in Mozart’s Entführung at the Festival of
    Aix-en-Provence. And it was in another Mozart role, Ferrando in Così fan tutte, that he made his debut at the Royal Opera House in London in the fall of 2016. Behle performed his first Wagner role in 2015, when he sang Erik in Der fliegende Holländer at Oper Frankfurt; in the summer of 2017 he will make his Bayreuth Festival debut as David in Die Meistersinger. He will also sing in Beethoven’s Missa solemnis with the Berlin Philharmonic in the fall of 2017. Daniel Behle is a sought-after lieder singer who has appeared at the Schubertiade, the Schwetzingen Festival, the Strauss Festival in Garmisch, and Wigmore Hall in London; he has also recorded several lieder CDs, including his own arrangement of Schubert’s Winterreise, which he recorded with the Schnyder Trio. It was with this ensemble that he released his most recent CD, Mein Hamburg, in October 2016: an homage to his native city featuring world-famous hits and his own songs. As a composer he has also published a cycle of lieder by Ringelnatz, which he has performed at the Beethoven House in Bonn.

    February 2017

    Markus Butter

    The Austrian baritone Markus Butter, who was born in 1973 in Bruck an der Mur, acquired his earliest musical training as a member of and soloist with the Vienna Boys’ Choir before studying voice at the Conservatory and, starting in 1994, at the Music University of Graz. He began his professional career as part of the Youth Ensemble at Bavarian Staatsoper and at Deutsche Oper am Rhein; from 2005 to 2015 he was a member of the ensemble at Dresden Semperoper, which awarded him the Christel Goltz Prize in 2009. At present he is a permanent member of Graz Opera, where he performs such roles as Escamillo in Bizet’s Carmen, Kurwenal in Wagner’s Tristan, and the prisoner in Dallapiccola’s Il prigioniero. Butter regularly appears at the Theater an der Wien, where he has performed in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Haydn’s Orlando paladino, Johann Strauss’s Fledermaus, and Weill’s Threepenny Opera. He has sung Ottokar in Weber’s Der Freischütz at the Salzburg Festival and has appeared at the Bregenz Festival in HK Gruber’s Tales from the Vienna Woods. His repertoire also extends to such Italian opera roles as Lescaut in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut and Marcello in La bohème and to Germont in Verdi’s La traviata. Markus Butter is additionally a sought-after concert singer. He performed with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Antonio Pappano in the world premiere of Peter Maxwell Davies’s Symphony No. 10, and he has concertized under Nikolaus Harnoncourt with the Berlin Philharmonic and at La Scala in Milan. Additional credits include with Daniel Harding and the Staatskapelle Dresden, Paavo Järvi and the Orchestre de Paris, Semyon Bychkov and the WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, and Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Markus Butter’s discography comprises Dvořák’s Stabat Mater and Bach’s St. John Passion.

    February 2017

    18.30 | Introduction (in German) by Susanne Stähr | Auditorium

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