Busoni: Doktor Faust

Arthaus Musik: 101284

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Busoni: Doktor Faust

Catalogue No:

(101 284)



Release date:

5th Jan 2009







Summer Opera Sale

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Busoni: Doktor Faust

Live Recording from The Zurich Opera House 2006

Thomas Hampson (Doktor Faust), Gregory Kunde (Mephistopheles), Sandra Trattnigg (Die Herzogin von Parma), Reinaldo Macias (Der Herzog von Parma/ Des Mädchens Bruder/Soldat), Günther Groissboeck (Wagner), Martin Zysset (Ein Leutnant)

Chorus and Orchestra of The Zurich Opera House, Philippe Jordan

Recording Date: 2006
Place of recording: Opernhaus Zürich
Running Time: 172 min
Picture Format: 16:9
Sound Format: PCM Stereo, dts-HD Master Audio 7.1
Blue Ray Disc, 50 GB (Double Layer)
Subtitle Languages: IT, GB, D, F, ES
Menu Language: GB


Normally: $33.75

Special: $27.00

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Directed by Klaus Michael Grueber / Ellen Hammer, Set Design by Eduardo Arroyo, Costumes by Eva Dessecker & Lighting by Jürgen Hoffmann.

“Procure me the unconditional fulfi lment of my every wish for the rest of my life, let me embrace the world – the East and the South, which call out to me –, let me understand completely man’s actions and extend them in unheard-of ways; give me genius, and give me also his suffering, so that I may be happy like no other.” (Ferruccio Busoni)

Doktor Faust remained a fragment at the time of the composer’s death. Busoni died in 1924, unable to complete what he himself described as his “state masterpiece” – an opera to which he had a deep personal attachment. The missing scenes from the score – the appearance of Helen and Faust’s closing monologue – were completed by his pupil, Philipp Jarnach, whom Busoni had become acquainted with during his period in exile in Zürich. In this form the opera was given its fi rst performance in Dresden in 1925. Then in the 1980s the conductor Anthony Beaumont came across previously undiscovered sketches by Busoni and produced a new version of Doktor Faust, which was premiered in Bologna in 1985. The current recording uses the Jarnach score.

Special Feature: 43 Min Interview with Thomas Hampson and Philippe Jordan

“[Thomas Hampson possesses] all the physical and vocal energy one could wish for…..flourishes and ornaments leap out of his melodic lines….the gestures [are] also natural, his phrasing and pitch sure. Mr. Hampson, as his career justifi ably grows, has preserved an unmannered charm.” (The New York Times)

BBC Music Magazine

February 2008


“the musical values here are high. Philippe Jordan directs his superb orchestra with a real sense of the score's uncanny atmospheres, its aching lyricism and sombre rapture. Thomas Hampson, though often wooden in his acting, sings with immense feeling.”

Gramophone Classical Music Guide


“Presented here is Philipp Jarnach's version (completed for the premiere, unaware of the composer's notes for its unfinished sections, realised only by Antony Beaumont 60 years later) which Philippe Jordan prefers on musical grounds, 'whether it really fits with the rest of the work or not'. He approves of Jarnach's use of Wagnerian leitmotif and darker conclusion, finding it 'simply overwhelming' and Beaumont's more positive finale 'drier'. Jarnach's version is – unavoidably – a misrepresentation of Busoni's vision and stylistically jars the moment it starts. Beaumont's may be a musicologist's rather than composer's edition but it gives us more of Busoni's intentions. That aside, this production has many strengths. Hampson, after seeming ill-at-ease in the first Prelude, audibly grows into the role. Trattnigg is beguiling as the Duchess and Macias shines as the Soldier (Gretchen's griefstricken brother) and pompous Duke. The show is stolen, however, by Gregory Kunde's Mephistopheles, a portrayal vocally superb throughout and brilliantly acted. The Zurich Opera House Chorus are excellent. Some of Jordan's tempi are a tad measured but the orchestra's playing is assured. There are minor annoyances: for instance in Prelude 1, why do the Students not bring Faust the book, key and paper they sing about? A major omission is the Students' serenade to Wagner (Faust's former familius) at the start of the final scene. Wagner's replacement of Faust as Rector is included in the sung text and meaningless without its representation onstage. Musically, the cut section provides vital contrast between the defiance of the second scene's close and the denouement. Felix Breisach's video direction is commendably unfussy, catching both the scale of the production's biggest moments as well as Kunde's mischievous expressions. The Devil is truly in the detail.”

New York Times

“[Thomas Hampson possesses] all the physical and vocal energy one could wish for…..flourishes and ornaments leap out of his melodic lines….the gestures [are] also natural, his phrasing and pitch sure. Mr. Hampson, as his career justifiably grows, has preserved an unmannered charm.”

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