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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

the man is good

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The petition for peace is missing from the Mass in C minor KV 427, because Mozart no longer composed an “Agnus Dei”. Around 1783, after the marriage with Konstanze and the death of the two-month-old son Raimund Leopold, the work remained unfinished.

Instead, the “In Terra Pax” in the middle of the jubilant “Gloria” has a particular weight: with heavy and chromatically descending harmonies, Mozart expresses his skepticism about hominibus voluntatis, “people of good will”.

Zubin Mehta retired at short notice

Simone Young, taking over for Zubin Mehta on short notice, forms him with oppressive intensity with the well-trained Staatsopernchor Unter den Linden.

In general, the experienced opera director emphasizes the dramatic and emotionally gripping element of this liturgy, whose spiritual text, which is in any case not very understandable in the fluffy acoustics of the Paulus Hall, here acquires a general meaning.

The plucking of the “Qui tollis peccata Mundi” that comes like whiplashes, the compact harmonies of the thanksgiving “Gratias agimus tibi”, the desperately stoked coloratura of the “Benedictus” are overwhelming. And when, with “Cum sancto Spiritu,” a theme builds up to form a mighty fugue of big chorus basses, there is a sense of unsurpassed power that connects humans.

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Furthermore, Young’s high-precision playing, speaking of swinging rhythms, is also simply a songfest: Miah Persson sings the famous “Laudamus te”, cooing like doves in coloratura, as light as a feather.

The Staatskapelle plays beautifully

The oboe of the wonderfully transparent Staatskapelle comments on this very attractively. The soprano aria “Et incarnatus est” is also a love song, not an introspection that anticipates death on the cross, but a lullaby for the baby Jesus, lovingly sung by Siobhan Stagg.

When the two sopranos join in the praise of the merciful God, in which Mozart inscribed surprisingly tense tones, they mutually enhance each other’s beautiful expressiveness. Tenor Peter Sonn and bass David Oštrek, a bit careless with the female voices on this work, are also the best figure in this well-tuned solo quartet. Enthusiastic applause for all involved who work together so unanimously, even if the masks still dampen the bravos.

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