Austrian Mezzo Soprano, Angelika Kirchschlager, divides her time between recitals and opera in Europe, North America and the Far East. She is acclaimed as one of the foremost interpreters of the operas of Richard Strauss and Mozart. For the Wiener Staatsoper her roles include Dorabella (Mozart Cosi fan tutte), Octavian (Strauss Der Rosenkavalier) and Clairon (Strauss Capriccio). For the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden her roles include Mélisande (Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande), Sophie (Maw Sophie’s Choice), Hänsel (Humperdinck Hänsel und Gretel) and Octavian.
She has a wide discography on the Sony Masterworks label which have won numerous awards including a Grammy.
Highlights of the 2018/19 season include Mrs Lovett Sweeney Todd for Opernhaus Zurich; Mrs Muskat in Johanna Doderer’s Liliom for Staatstheater am Gärtnerplatz Munich; a performance of Winterreise at the Wiener Staatsoper with Julius Drake and other major European recital dates including the Opernhaus Zurich.
21:00 22 Aug 2018 Teatro Comunale Luigi Russolo, PORTOGRUARO More info
ROBERT SCHUMANN Frauenliebe und Leben, Op. 42 (8 songs)
ROBERT SCHUMANN Requiem, Op. 90, No. 7
ROBERT SCHUMANN Liederalbum für die Jugend, Op.79: 24. Er ist’s
ROBERT SCHUMANN Die Löwenbraut
ROBERT SCHUMANN Liederkreis, Op. 39 (Eichendorff): 12. Frühlingsnacht
ROBERT SCHUMANN Die Lotusblume
ROBERT SCHUMANN Liederkreis, Op. 39 (Eichendorff): 3. Waldesgespräch
JOHANNES BRAHMS 8 Lieder and Songs, Op.57 , No.8 Unbewegte laue Luft
JOHANNES BRAHMS 6 Lieder, Op.86: 1. Therese
JOHANNES BRAHMS 8 Lieder and Songs, Op.59: 8. Dein blaues Auge hält so still
JOHANNES BRAHMS 4 Songs Op. 43: 1. Von ewiger Liebe
FRANZ SCHUBERT Fischerweise D 881
FRANZ SCHUBERT Erlkönig D 328
FRANZ SCHUBERT Geheimes D 761
FRANZ SCHUBERT Versunken D 715
Piano: James Sherlock
19:00 11 Oct 2018 Wiener Staatsoper, VIENNA More info
FRANZ SCHUBERT Winterreise D911
Mezzo-soprano: Angelika Kirchschlager
Piano: Julius Drake
From The Green Room
LISZT Complete Songs, Vol 2
JOSEPH MARX Lieder
WOLF / STRAUSS
HUGO WOLF Lieder
WOMEN'S LIVES AND LOVES
WHEN NIGHT FALLS
BRITTEN: Rape of Lucretia
HEGGIE: The moon's a gong, hung in the wild
24 Jul 18 Winterreise with Julius Drake Temple Church, London Planet Hugill ★★★★★
“The Austrian mezzo-soprano Angelika Kirchschlager is the latest in a series of distinguished mezzos to take on the challenge of Schubert’s Winterreise. At a Temple Song recital at Temple Church on 24 July 2018 accompanied by pianist Julius Drake, Angelika Kirchschlager gave her first public performance of Winterreise.
Temple Church is perhaps not an ideal place for a lieder recital, but such was Angelika Kirchschlager’s identification with the work and her vivid projection of text and narrative, that we hardly noticed any lack of intimacy.
‘Gute Nacht’ started at quite a moving tempo with a sonorous accompaniment from the piano. Kirchschlager began with serious intent and a sense of long sustained phrases. There was something remarkably concentrated about her performance, and she used a wide range of colours in her voice, taking risks to make the text more expressive. Throughout the cycle her use of text was exemplary and you hardly needed recourse to the printed word sheets. This was allied to an extremely expressive physicality to her performance.
A vivid piano prelude opened ‘Die Wetterfahne’ with Kirchschlager fierce and intense. Already we sensed that her protagonist was not a comfortable person, they were someone already on edge. The sense of tense concentration continued with ‘Gefrorne Tränen’ leading to a powerful climax. ‘Erstarrung’ was fast, with long phrases under great tension, no relaxation here. ‘Der Lindenbaum’ was beautifully phrased, and highly sculptural, whilst ‘Wasserflut’ had a strong sense of gravity, along with vivid storytelling, becoming powerfully intense at the mention of the loved one’s house.
We were already getting a sense of a character under great tension, at odds with society, and throughout Kirchschlager’s attention to detail in the text was allied to a haunted quality in her tone. And Drake’s fine accompaniment complemented every detail.
‘Auf dem Flusse’ was quiet and intense, with something wild held down until let loose in the final verse. ‘Rückblick’ was vivid and fast, with the words spat out, whilst ‘Irrlicht’ gave us some brilliant story-telling, along with the sense that the poet is becoming divorced from reality. ‘Rast’ had a steadily unfolding line, with a steady trudge in the piano, pregnant with unstated meaning. ‘Frühlingstraum’ was beautiful, yet slightly disturbing with the second and fifth verses in vicious contrast. ‘Einsamkeit’ started intensely, conveying the sense the poet could see something that was not really there.
‘Die Post’ was joyful, but just for a moment, with a lovely spring in the piano and streaks of bitterness in the joy. ‘Der greise Kopf’ had a haunted feel, a sense of inner disturbance, whilst ‘Die Krähe’ was apparently rational yet with an unnerving feeling that everything was not quite right. A vivid and quiet ‘Letzte Hoffnung’ has a sense of wonder turning to anxiety whilst ‘Im Dorfe’ was sung as if each line was being forced or extruded out, with tense anger appearing in the middle verse. By now it is clear that our poet has a disturbing distance from reality. ‘Der stürmische Morgen’ was vivid with words spat out, the outer turmoil mirroring the poet’s inner feelings, and here Kirchschlager gave a very physical performance.
‘Täuschung’ was apparently delightful, though a sense that it was all delusion became clear, and ‘Der Wegweiser’ was bleak and sober, with a mesmerising inner intensity, as if the poet was looking into another world. ‘Das Wirtshaus’ was slow, soberly phrased and almost hymn-like but even here there was no consolation. ‘Mut!’ was tense with a disturbing intensity, whilst ‘Die Nebensohn’ was bleakly haunted. Finally the haunted, mesmerising ‘Der Leierman’ with Kirchschlager’s eyes staring into the distance.
This was a remarkable journey. Kirchschlager and Drake created an intense and disturbed soul, with the poet’s outer journey mirroring the inner one as the poet becomes more divorced from society, and perhaps from rationality.”
24 Jul 18 Winterreise with Julius Drake Temple Church, London Cross-Eyed Pianist
“Kirchschlager’s commitment to the piece was total, and I believe she portrayed the cyclic structure of the story as much through her body language as her voice. In the opening ‘Gute Nacht’ / ‘Good night’, she was still, transfixed, even to the point where I thought she was warming up in some way, not quite in full flow yet. Almost immediately, though, she opened out and began to move. Only in the final song, ‘Der Leiermann’ / ‘The organ-grinder’, when she withdrew back into herself, adopting the same pose, staring at some phantom far beyond the audience, did I realise – thoroughly moved and disquieted – that at the start we had seen her protagonist emerge, and now disappear.
Unafraid to sound harsh or broken when the context demanded, Kirchschlager could come across at times as if the acting were leading the singing. So effective was she in the cycle’s mood swings that the intensity felt a bit like listening to a 75-minute ‘Erlkönig’, a rollercoaster ghost-train ride that kept me riveted. But this didn’t prevent the emotional high-points of the sequence – in particular, the soaring anguish of the penultimate song ‘Die Nebensonnen’ / ‘Phantom suns’, Kirchschlager’s bright, glorious tone so tragically affecting – hitting home with a devastating beauty.”
24 Jul 18 Winterreise with Julius Drake Temple Church, London Opera Today
“…with such thoughts in mind, I settled into the pew at Temple Church and listened to the urgent but light tread of Julius Drake’s piano introduction to ‘Gute Nacht’, and was immediately struck by this traveller’s intensity: the fixity of Angelika Kirchschlager’s stare as she seemed to reach for a distant point, beyond the horizon, was riveting. There was steely purpose, here: ‘Was soll ich länger wellen/ Bis man mich treib’ hinaus?’ (Why should I wait longer for them to drive me out?) pushed forward, with defiant determination. There was tension and turbulence too – in the unruly trembling of Drake’s weathervane in the following song, and in the traveller’s heart – but in these opening songs it was restrained, almost repressed, occasionally retreating into numbness, or, as in the final stanza of ‘Gefrorne Tränen’, momentarily relaxing and finding warm release: ‘Als wolltet ihr zerschmelzen/Des ganzen Winters Eis’ (As if you would melt/All this winter’s ice).
Dreams of ‘Der Lindenbaum’ transported the traveller far from the present, but the tenderness of the vision only emphasised the vulnerability of the voyager. This was less a ‘narration’ than a drama, as Kirchschlager communicated emotion openly and directly. Though her artistry was ever evident, the mezzo-soprano seemed to render these art songs into pure feeling, almost folk-like in their honesty, often singing with little vibrato and using vocal heightening and nuance with care and thoughtfulness. Flashes of brightness – passion, anger, pain – were thus all the more telling. The slow tempo of ‘Wasserflut’ suggested the traveller’s ‘lostness’, though the heatedness of the burning tears reminded us of his anguish; Drake’s tip-toeing accompaniment in ‘Auf dem Flusse’ took us deeper into a dream-scape, before we were wrenched back to reality by the traveller’s agonized questioning as he gazes into the stream at the close of the song – ‘Ob’s unter seiner Rinde/ Wohl auch so reißend schwillt?’ (Is there such a raging torment beneath its surface too?) – the agitation spilling over into restless ‘Rückblick’ (A backward glance).
It was the lurch in Drake’s skittish accompaniment at the start of ‘Irrlicht’ (Will-o’-the-wisp) which signalled a shift to a darker, dangerous psychological landscape. Ironically, the terrible unfulfillment of the traveller’s searching was communicated by Kirchschlager’s beautifully warm lower range and her effortless transitions between registers. She seemed to physically inhabit the tiredness of ‘Rast’, though Drake’s steady accompaniment was cruelly impassive; the sudden freshness and vigour of ‘Frühlingstraum’ (Dream of Spring), was troubled by deep, unpredictable currents. Always the tension was kept in check, though the threat of disintegration seemed ever imminent, and contrasts between the lassitude of ‘Einsamkeit’ (Loneliness) and the frantic haste of ‘Die Post’ were disquieting. The delicacy of the close of ‘Der greise Kopf’ was frightening, and it was no surprise when it was shattered by the piano’s tormented circlings in ‘Die Krähe’ (The crow).
‘Letzte Hoffnung’ (Last hope) followed segue, another irrevocable staging-post on a journey into existential solitude. The final songs accrued a gripping dramatic force, which relaxed slightly as Kirchschlager lightened her voice to capture the hallucinations of ‘Täuschung’ (Delusion) but then exerted its grip as she hardened the sound to convey the traveller’s obsessive intensity in ‘Der Wegweiser’ (The signpost): ‘Eine Straße muß ich gehen,/ Die noch keener ging zurück.’ (One road I must travel, form which no man has ever returned.) The arrival at the inn (‘Das Wirthaus’) seemed to bring some comfort and relief, but the courage of ‘Mut’, as the vocal line flashed with fire, bordered on madness and the low piano bass in ‘Die Nebensonnen’ (Phantom suns) seemed to draw the traveller ever deeper into his own obsessions and fixations. The encounter with ‘Der Leiermann’ offered no solace: subdued, still, the music and the traveller seemed to slip away, elsewhere.
The sustained focus and intensity of this performance of Winterreise was astonishing and almost hypnotic. During our conversation, Angelika had been keen to point out that this is first time that she has performed Winterreise, and that her interpretation will undoubtedly develop. The next stop is the Vienna Staatsoper, where she and Julius Drake will perform the cycle in October. This is just the beginning of her own musical journey.”
26 May 18 Capriccio: A Win for the Words When Music Misses The Mark Vienna State Opera
“Angelika Kirchschlager was the original Clairon in the premiere ten years ago and is showing no sign of age or fatigue. In fact, the Salzburg-born mezzo seemed to relish the artful coquetry of the historical character Hippolyte Clairon and her calculated schmoozing with the Count was entirely convincing… Vocally Kirchschlager was consistently impressive and the long “Die Zeit älter wird” passage was beautifully phrased.”
04 Sep 15 HEGGIE CD: The moon's a gong, hung in the wild Maurice Lammerts van Bueren, piano
“This fantastic recording is one big feast”
Henriette Posthuma de Boer, “De Liedvriend”
CD of the month
Click link below for Opera Nederland 5 star review (in Dutch)
Opera Nederland, September 2015
23 Jul 14 Geschichten aus dem Wiener Wald Bregenz Festival
“Angelika Kirchschlager exuded humanity and vivacity as Valerie.”
Shirley Apthorp, Financial Times, 24 July 2014
01 Jul 13 Recital: 1 July 2013 Kulturhaus Eppan, Italy
02 Jun 13 Mozart & Haydn: 2 June 2013 Academy of Ancient Music, Kaisersaal Wurzburg
“Eigentliche Highlights waren indes die Konzert-Arien”
Frank Upke, Main Post, 3 June 2013
“Ein besonderes Erlebnis war die Begegnung mit der Mezzospranisten Angelika Kirchschlager.”
Klaus Linsenmeyer, FNweb, 4 June 2013
14 Mar 13 Stravinsky: Oedipus Rex, 13 March 2013 BBC Philharmonic Orchestra/Gruber, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
“the arrival of his wife/mother Jocasta in Act Two, in the form of the Austrian mezzo Angelika Kirchschlager in a sparkling gold gown, raised the stakes. She brought heightened drama with her singing, body language and stage presence.”
Philip Radcliffe, The Arts Desk, 14 March 2013
25 Feb 13 La voix humaine / February 2013 Theater an der Wien
“„La voix humaine“ von Francis Poulenc … Um hier die Spannung über eine Dreiviertelstunde zu halten, braucht es schon einen Emotions-Hydranten wie Angelika Kirchschlager. Eine Darstellerin, die Gesang nicht als reine Produktion von Schönklang betrachtet, sondern primär als Gefühlsvehikel; die den Mut zum fahlen, fast erstickten Piano ebenso hat wie zum hysterischen Ausbruch. Kurz, der die ganze Palette an Ausdrucksmitteln zu Gebote steht, um diesem Nervenbündel in seiner existenziellen Krise eine glaubwürdige Stimme geben zu können – alleine auf der Bühne, schutzlos diesen Emotionen und Poulencs hochexpressiver Musik ausgeliefert.”
Die Presse / 20 February 2013 / Helmar Dumbs
“Ein aufwühlender Monolog, den Angelika Kirchschlager zu gestalten versteht. Mit zurückgenommener Gestik, ohne Requisiten. Die „menschliche Stimme“ steht im Mittelpunkt.”
Kurier / 20 February 2013
04 Feb 13 Hugo Wolf: Spanisches Liederbuch - February 2013 Alice Tully Hall
“The Austrian mezzo-soprano obviously savours the poetry, focuses emotion with natural vigour, conveys whimsy, charm and pain with apt precision. Most important, perhaps, she avoids exaggeration at every quirky turn. And, yes, she sings beautifully.”
ft.com, Martin Bernheimer, 4 February 2013
Ian Bostridge and Angelika Kirchschlager sang beautifully on Sunday afternoon at Alice Tully Hall. … Both singers are big names who rarely appear on opera stages this side of the Atlantic, and the reputations of their voices – Mr. Bostridge’s cleareyed tenor, Ms. Kirchschlager’s richly hued mezzo – would have been sufficient to draw a capacity crowd to their recital of Hugo Wolf songs, presented as part of Lincoln Center’s Great Performers series.
But more important, they are just that: artists who in concert deliver performances so vivid that they create an impression of spontaneous communication with the audience. …
In Ms. Kirchschlager’s rendition of “Mühvoll Komm ich und Beladen” (“In Toil I Come, and Laden”), her downward sloping lines over dense harmonies gave physical weight to the text. On the word “beladen” she flattened her voice into a moan.
The texts of the secular songs that followed revisited the familiar topic of love’s power to cause ecstasy, agony and embarrassment. Here Ms. Kirchschlager and Mr. Bostridge, who alternated throughout the program, slipped into character even as they passed each other on their way to and from the piano. They exchanged sulking, I-dare-you glances; Ms. Kirchschlager flicked the skirt of her long, flowing dress as if she were a flamenco dancer.
The musicians seemed to be engaged in a three-way game of tease, where the piano most often had the last laugh. In “Trau Nicht der Liebe” (“Trust Not Love”), which Ms. Kirchschlager delivered with a wait-for-it elasticity of tempo, her final threat to make her beloved weep sounded dead serious, except for the mocking retort in the piano.
The encore finally brought Ms. Kirchschlager and Mr. Bostridge together in a duet, Schumann’s “Liebhabers Ständchen” (“Lover’s Serenade”), which fully exploited their scorching chemistry.
New York Times / 6 February 2013 / Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
01 Jan 13 Hugo Wolf: Spanisches Liederbuch - January 2013 Wigmore Hall
“Kirchschlager … began by summoning up the green sap of spring in a robust ramble through Mörike’s Auf eine Wanderung. Wolf soon turned to the poet’s shadowy side, bidding farewells to love in Lebe wohl and Das verlassne Magdlein, both heavy with a Wagnerian chromaticism in which both Kirchschlager and Drake revelled.
The trick — or one of them — with Wolf is to grasp the full expanse of the song’s grand design while cherishing the essential miniaturism of its detail. This was Kirchschlager’s great strength: she’d reveal the long hill-top view while also drawing us close to the wing-beat of a single bee.”
The Times, Hilary Finch, January 2013
“Hugo Wolf doesn’t get better than this. Part of Julius Drake’s ongoing exploration of the Goethe and Mörike Songbooks, the evening found two of the great Wolf interpreters, Dietrich Henschel and Angelika Kirchschlager, in a programme that reminded us of the composer’s interest in extreme emotions, even psychopathology. … Kirchschlager’s voice has grown in weight and opulence; at times, such as the suddenly violent climax of Das Verlassene Mädgelein, she let the sound out at full throttle to thrilling effect. Elsewhere, for example in Im Frühling, you were left spellbound by the sheer beauty of her sense of line.”
The Guardian, Tim Ashley, 8 January 2013
07 Jul 12 Concert: 07 July 2012 The English Concert, Wigmore Hall
‘Kirchschlager blended beautifully with the contrapuntal woodwind lines in the first aria, ‘The maidens come’, before her recitative-like prayer descended to a rich, contemplative warmth for the entreaty, “After ther liff grant them/ A place eternally to sing”. In the long central carol,‘Tomorrow shall be my dancing day’, players (flutes, oboes and cello) and singer mastered the intricate series of canonical devices and increasingly intense dissonances, with lucidity and precision, the at times unblended instrumental timbres underpinning Bostridge’s beautifully decorated cantilena lines.’
Claire Seymour, Opera Today, 11 July 2012
“(Il Combattimento di Tancredi) Yet the dominant mode of this madrigal is solemn rather than martial, and it was here that Angelika Kirchschlager, who shared the narration with Bostridge dominated with her rich and centred mezzo, giving a miniature masterclass in the expressive shading of words as Monteverdi’s drama reached its ever more poignant later pages.”
Martin Kettle, The Guardian, 7 July 2012
BRITTEN The Rape of Lucretia
Aldeburgh Festival Ensemble, Oliver Knussen (conductor)
“The most problematic of Britten’s operas seems all the more repellent the better it is performed. I have rarely been … as gripped and moved as by Angelika Kirchschlager …. In the concert hall, her sopranoish timbre seemed light, but here her Lucretia is a gripping portrait.”
Hugh Canning / Sunday Times Culture / 3 February 2013
“This is a remarkable recording. A powerful performance on record may make you feel as though you are in the theatre or even witnessing events, but very seldom do have the sensation of being physically situated amongst the cast … The performers are outstanding. … Angelika Kirchschlager is deeply moving as Lucretia: plus truly impeccable diction from all.”
Opera Now / Francis Muzzu / February 2013
“There are no weaknesses there, either. … the protagonists in the drama are presented in all their contradictions – from Angelika Kirchschlager’s Lucretia by turns sensuously honeyed and harrowingly moving … this performance is surely the best of recent times, redemptive in a way that the work itself can never be.”
The Guardian, January 2013
“A deeply affecting experience that ought to win the opera many new admirers. … The singers, too, are first rate. … Angelika Kirchschlager gives a subtle, wonderfully lyrical portrayal of the title role, encompassing Lucretia’s honest fidelity, vulnerability, torment and self-destructive anguish with moving conviction.”
BBC reviews, Graham Rogers, 6 February 2013
“Angelika Kirchschlager is a moving and noble Lucretia.”
Sinfinimusic, Warwick Thompson, February 2013
Complete Songs, Vol 2
Hyperion CDA 67934
“Anglika Kirchschlager’s live recitals have demonstrated her affinity for the songs of Franz Liszt and her ability to span the theatrical and meditative extremes of his artistic range. A studio recording inevitably lacks some of the freewheeling, spontaneous spirit of the mezzo’s work in the concert hall, but she compensates with polish and beauty of tone”
Opera News / November 2012
To read full review please click here
‘If the well-worn phrase ‘equally at home on the operatic and Lieder stages’ applies to anyone, it is surely to Kirchschlager. Her extraordinary dramatic gifts are displayed in the two longest songs here, Jeanne d’Arc au bucher and Die drei Zigeuner. Sung here is the last of Liszt’s three versions for voice and piano (1875) of Dumas’s depiction of St Joan’s final moments at the stake. Kirchschlager deftly protrays the pschological progression of the three verses from despair, through terror, to prayerful acceptance.’
Click here to read the full article
Patrick Rucker / International Record Review / July 2012
“Kirchschlager is exquisite and intensely dramatic by turns”
Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 13 July 2012
‘Kirchschlager’s rich resonant mezzo finds beauties everywhere on this disc, from heights of drama to intimacies of reflection, and at every turn Drake is with her… Liszt responds with true wonder to Goethe’s famous Uber allen Gipfeln and Kirchschlager is a match for them both with her control of line and verbal colouring.’
Roger Nichols / BBC Music Magazine / August 2012