Boston Symphony Orchestra
Berg’s Wozzeck (concert performance)
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons, Music Director and Conductor
Bo Skovhus, Wozzeck
Christine Goerke, Marie
Renée Tatum, Margret
Christopher Ventris, Drum Major
Mauro Peter, Andres
Franz Hawlata, Doctor
Additional soloist to be announced
BERG Wozzeck (concert performance)
Event DurationThe program will last approximately 90 minutes with no intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating.
This concert performance is generously underwritten by Robert L. Turner.
At a Glance
Austrian composer Alban Berg began his opera Wozzeck on the eve of World War I and finished it in its aftermath. The opera is based on the play by German playwright Georg Büchner, left incomplete at his early death in 1837. The opera’s poor, uneducated antihero is a soldier in the Hessian army. His strange ways have made him a figure of fun to his superiors, the Doctor and the Captain; he makes scarcely enough money to support his common-law wife, Marie, and their illegitimate son. Wozzeck’s nature and circumstances lead to his madness and to the work’s tragic and strange conclusion. The score is dedicated to Alma Mahler.
Berg was still a relatively untried composer with few real successes when he completed Wozzeck, though he was known for his association with his teacher Arnold Schoenberg. A successful performance of two of his Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6, and a copy of the opera’s vocal score convinced conductor Erich Kleiber to stage the work at the Berlin State Opera. A critical success, this intensely expressionistic and poetic work was slowly taken up by other companies in Europe; its American premiere was given by the Philadelphia Opera Company and Leopold Stokowski in 1931, and it has since become a standard work in the major opera houses of the world. Until the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s concert performances of Wozzeck in Boston last week, the only previous BSO performances of the complete opera were under Seiji Ozawa’s direction in April 1987, with Benjamin Luxon singing the title role.
The 2021–2022 season is Andris Nelsons’s eighth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s (BSO) Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. The 15th music director in the BSO’s history, Mr. Nelsons made his debut with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his Symphony Hall debut in January 2013. He has led the orchestra on three European tours and one of Japan. In the pandemic-affected 2020–2021 season, Mr. Nelsons led the BSO in six of the 15 programs streamed as part of the orchestra’s BSO NOW virtual season recorded in Symphony Hall. His BSO repertoire in the 2021–2022 season ranges from favorites by Rachmaninoff and Sibelius to world and US premieres of commissioned works by HK Gruber, Jörg Widmann, Kaija Saariaho, Julia Adolphe, and Fazil Say. Mr. Nelsons is also Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra (GHO), bringing the orchestras together in a unique alliance of mutual artistic cooperation. In fall 2019, Mr. Nelsons and the BSO hosted the Gewandhaus Orchestra in historic concerts at Symphony Hall that included performances by the GHO as well as concerts featuring the orchestras combined. His project with the BSO and GHO to record major works of Richard Strauss for Deutsche Grammophon culminates in the May 2022 release of a seven-CD set featuring both orchestras. Mr. Nelsons’s ongoing series of Shostakovich symphonies with the BSO for Deutsche Grammophon has earned four Grammy Awards. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, he has recorded the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and is recording the Bruckner symphonies with the GHO. Mr. Nelsons leads such orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and appears with such opera companies as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and at the Bayreuth Festival. Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Mr. Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany; and music director of the Latvian National Opera.
Born in Ikast, Denmark, baritone Bo Skovhus studied at the Royal Academy of Music in Aarhus, the Royal Opera Academy in Copenhagen, and in New York. His career began in 1988 at the Volksoper in Vienna with a brilliant Don Giovanni. In 1997, he was awarded the title of Austrian Kammersänger. In February 2019, he gave highly acclaimed performances as the lead in Krenek’s Karl V. at Munich’s Bavarian State Opera. Other milestones of the recent past include overwhelming successes as Kusmitsch Kowaljow in Shostakovich’s The Nose at the Hamburg State Opera in 2019; as Titus in the 2018 world premiere of Michael Jarrell’s Berenice at Opéra national de Paris, conducted by Philippe Jordan; as Wozzeck at Deutsche Oper am Rhein in 2017; and as the title role in Aribert Reimann’s Lear at Opéra national de Paris in 2016 and at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in 2019, both conducted by Fabio Luisi. Among the highlights of his future engagements, this summer Mr. Skovhus sings the role of Werner Albrecht in Bluthaus—one of three operas by composer Georg Friedrich Haas with playwright Händl Klaus as librettist—at Bavarian State Opera’s new Ja, Mai festival. Besides performing in the major opera houses in Europe, the US, and Japan, Mr. Skovhus devotes himself intensively to singing Lieder. As a concert singer, he has appeared with outstanding orchestras throughout Europe, the US, and Japan. His extensive repertoire focuses on works of Gustav Mahler and of Scandinavian composers, as well as pieces such as Frank Martin’s Six Monologues from Everyman and Zemlinsky’s Lyric Symphony. Mr. Skovhus has recorded many of the central roles of his opera and concert repertoire on CD and DVD, as well as a series of recital albums.
Soprano Christine Goerke appears in the major opera houses of the world, including the Metropolitan Opera; San Francisco Opera; Houston Grand Opera; Glimmerglass Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Opéra national de Paris; Deutsche Oper Berlin; Teatro alla Scala; Maggio Musicale Fiorentino; Teatro Real; and the Saito Kinen Festival. She has sung much of the great soprano repertoire, starting with the Mozart and Handel heroines and now earning acclaim in the major Strauss and Wagner dramatic roles as well as Puccini’s Turandot, Beethoven’s Leonore, and Ellen Orford in Britten’s Peter Grimes. Ms. Goerke has appeared in concert with such ensembles as the Cleveland and Hallé orchestras; the Los Angeles and New York philharmonics; and the BBC, Boston, Chicago, Sydney, and New Zealand symphony orchestras, working with conductors who include Sir Mark Elder, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, David Robertson, Robert Shaw, Christian Thielemann, Michael Tilson Thomas, and Edo de Waart. This season, Ms. Goerke tours Europe with the Bayreuth Festival; returns to the Metropolitan Opera in Turandot, Houston Grand Opera in Dialogues des Carmélites, and Opéra national de Paris in Elektra; and appears in concert with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the Orchestre symphonique de Montréal. Her recording of Vaughan Williams’s A Sea Symphony with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra won the 2003 Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording and Best Choral Performance. Other recordings include Brahms’s Liebeslieder Walzer; the Stabat Maters of Poulenc, Szymanowski, and Dvořák; and Britten’s War Requiem. Recently named associate artistic director of Michigan Opera Theater, Ms. Goerke is the recipient of the 2001 Richard Tucker Award, the 2015 Musical America Vocalist of the Year Award, and the 2017 Opera News Award.
Mezzo-soprano Renée Tatum is rapidly gaining critical acclaim on the most prestigious opera stages in the United States. This season, she sings Cornelia in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with The Atlanta Opera and conductor Gary Thor Wedow, Fricka in Das Rheingold with Nashville Opera and Dean Williamson, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Krzysztof Urbański; in addition, she performs in recital with pianist Douglas Sumi for the Needham Concert Society. Other recent performances include her return to the Metropolitan Opera for Nico Muhly’s Marnie; Waltraute and Flosshilde in Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Met and with San Francisco Opera; a Flower Maiden in Parsifal at the Met with Yannick Nézet-Séguin; Mahler’s Symphony No. 2, “Resurrection,” with the Savannah Philharmonic; Brahms’s Alto Rhapsody with The Cecilia Chorus of New York City; Francisca in Bernstein’s West Side Story at the Grand Teton Music Festival with Donald Runnicles; Jenny in Brecht/Weill’s Threepenny Opera with Boston Lyric Opera; Wagner’s Das Rheingold in concert with the New York Philharmonic; and Das Rheingold and Strauss’s Salome with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Andris Nelsons.
Christopher Ventris is one of the world’s leading heldentenors, enjoying an unparalleled reputation as the preeminent Siegmund and Parsifal of his generation. Following his acclaimed Bayreuth Festival debut as Parsifal with Daniele Gatti conducting, he appeared in the role with such companies as the Vienna State Opera; Bavarian State Opera; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Opéra national de Paris; Zurich Opera House; and San Francisco Opera. As Siegmund in Wagner’s Die Walküre, he has appeared at the Vienna State Opera, Bayreuth Festival, Semperoper Dresden, Washington National Opera, and Dutch National Opera. He has worked with such conductors as Marc Albrecht, Philippe Auguin, Semyon Bychkov, Bernard Haitink, Hartmut Haenchen, Marek Janowski, Kent Nagano, Sir Simon Rattle, Donald Runnicles, Christian Thielemann, and Franz Welser-Möst. Other Wagner roles have included Rienzi, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, and his acclaimed role debut as Tristan at Théâtre de la Monnaie under Alain Altinoglu in 2019. Mr. Ventris has sung Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Zurich Opera House and Deutsche Oper Berlin; Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio at Washington National Opera; Sergei in Shostakovich’s Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District in Geneva, Madrid, London, and Brussels; and Jimmy Mahoney in Weill’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny at the Berlin State Opera, Zurich Opera House, and Vienna State Opera. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Števa in Janáček’s Jenůfa and his Teatro alla Scala debut as Max in Weber’s Der Freischütz. He returned to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2019–2020 season for his role debut as the Drum Major in William Kentridge’s production of Wozzeck under Yannick Nézet-Séguin.
An honors graduate and choral scholar from New College, Oxford, tenor Toby Spence studied at the Opera School of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. He was the winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2011 Singer of the Year award. Mr. Spence has sung with such orchestras as the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London and Bavarian Radio symphony orchestras, San Francisco Symphony, and The Cleveland Orchestra, and has appeared as soloist at the Salzburg Easter Festival and Edinburgh International Festival. He has worked with conductors who include Christoph von Dohnányi, Sir Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, Sir Antonio Pappano, Valery Gergiev, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Gustavo Dudamel, Roger Norrington, and Charles Mackerras. As a recitalist, he has sung for BBC Radio 3 and at London’s Wigmore Hall, LSO St Luke’s, Janáček Brno Festival, and Aldeburgh Festival. He has made recordings for Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, BMG, Philips, Collins, Linn Records, Hyperion, and EMI. Mr. Spence’s 2021–2022 season includes role debuts as Wagner’s Parsifal for Opera North and Alwa in Berg’s Lulu for La Monnaie, concert performances of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde with Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto Casa da Música and conductor Stefan Blunier, Jack in Tippett’s The Midsummer Marriage with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Edward Gardner, Mozart’s Requiem with the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra and Lawrence Renes, and Elgar’s The Kingdom with the Kraków Philharmonic and Paul Goodwin. Recent opera roles include Aschenbach in Britten’s Death in Venice, Florestan in Beethoven’s Fidelio, Gandhi in Glass’s Satyagraha, Lensky in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, the title role in Gounod’s Faust, Captain Vere in Britten’s Billy Budd, Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, and Antonio in Thomas Adès’s The Tempest.
In the 2021–2022 season, Swiss tenor Mauro Peter joins the Munich Philharmonic in Mozart’s Requiem, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Bach’s St. John Passion and Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia in Debussy’s cantata L’enfant prodigue, and sings Tamino in The Magic Flute at Semperoper Dresden and at the Salzburg Festival with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. He gives recitals at Schubertiade Hohenems with pianist Kit Armstrong and Schubertiade Schwarzenberg with pianist Helmut Deutsch. He is celebrated internationally for his Mozart roles, which include Belmonte, Ferrando, Don Ottavio, and Tamino, with such houses as the Canadian Opera Company, Bavarian State Opera, Opéra National de Lyon, Opéra national de Paris, Teatro alla Scala, Theater an der Wien, Zurich Opera House, and Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Since 2013, he has been a permanent member of the Zurich Opera House, where he has enjoyed success with Hans Zender’s Schuberts Winterreise and the title role of Handel’s Belshazzar. Since participating in the Salzburg Festival’s Young Singers Project while studying at the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich and the August Everding Theater Academy, Mr. Peter has appeared at the festival in productions of Così fan tutte, as Andres in Wozzeck, and as Tamino in The Magic Flute. In concert, he has worked with conductors who include Ivor Bolton, Constantinos Carydis, Teodor Currentzis, Gustavo Dudamel, Ádám Fischer, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Daniel Hope, Vladimir Jurowski, Ton Koopman, Fabio Luisi, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Minasi, Jonathan Nott, Trevor Pinnock, and Andrés Orozco-Estrada. Also dedicated to song, Mr. Peter performs frequently with pianist Helmut Deutsch at Europe’s most prestigious halls and festivals.
Highly sought-after in opera as well as in concert and lieder, bass Franz Hawlata performs in great halls throughout the world. Mr. Hawlata was born in Eichstätt in Bavaria, Germany, and studied musicology there before entering the University of Music and Performing Arts Munich, where he studied with Ernst Häfliger, Hans Hotter, and Erik Werba. In 1986, he made his debut with the Gärtnerplatztheater in Munich. In 1992, he started his international career with productions of Busoni’s Turandot in Lyon and Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro in Pretoria. Mr. Hawlata has given more than 200 performances at the Vienna State Opera in such roles as Rocco in Beethoven’s Fidelio; the title role of Berg’s Wozzeck; Mozart’s Leporello in Don Giovanni, Papageno and Sarastro in The Magic Flute, Osmin in The Abduction from the Seraglio, and Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro; Strauss’s Baron Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier, Orest in Elektra, and Sir Morosus in Die schweigsame Frau; Wagner’s Daland in Der fliegende Holländer and Pogner in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg; and Caspar in Weber’s Der Freischütz. Mr. Hawlata made his Metropolitan Opera debut as Baron Ochs and was highly acclaimed as Leporello at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He made his role debut as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg at the Bayreuth Festival. Among his numerous recordings are lieder by Carl Loewe, Spohr’s Faust, Loewe’s The Three Wishes, Marschner’s Der Vampyr, Nicolai’s Merry Wives of Windsor, and Dvořák’s Rusalka. Recent and upcoming engagements include Sir Morosus in Die schweigsame Frau at the Bavarian State Opera and Don Pinto de Fonseca in Weber’s Die drei Pintos in Leipzig.
Bass-baritone Zachary Altman is gaining notice in wide-ranging repertoire in major theaters across Europe and the United States. His 2021–2022 engagements include Bottom in Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle with Malmö Opera, Leporello in Mozart’s Don Giovanni for his Scottish Opera debut, and his Opera Tampa debut as the Four Villains in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann. Mr. Altman performs with such companies as Opéra National de Lyon, Teatro La Fenice, Hamburg State Opera, Theater Basel, Opera San José (where he was a principal resident artist from 2012 to 2014), Virginia Opera, Opera Philadelphia, and Royal Danish Opera. He gave the world premiere of Simon Sargon’s Out of the Depths—a piece expressly written for him—with Voices of Change in Dallas. He has also been a young artist with both Fort Worth Opera and Sarasota Opera, and received awards from the Marilyn Horne Foundation and the Metropolitan Opera National Council District Auditions. He received both his graduate and undergraduate degrees from the Manhattan School of Music, where his performance as Joe Harland in John Musto’s Later the Same Evening was recorded and released on Albany Records.
Acclaimed baritone David Kravitz’s recent opera engagements include leading roles at Washington National Opera (Davis Miller in the world premiere of D. J. Sparr’s Approaching Ali), Chautauqua Opera (Captain Balstrode in Britten’s Peter Grimes), Skylight Music Theatre (Scarpia in Puccini’s Tosca), Opera Santa Barbara (the Forester in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen), Boston Lyric Opera (Abraham in James MacMillan’s Clemency), Emmanuel Music (Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Nick Carraway in John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby), and New England Philharmonic (the title role of Berg’s Wozzeck). He created the lead role of De Sade in Nicola Moro’s Love Hurts at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan and Symphony Space in New York. In concert, he has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore and Virginia symphony orchestras, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Boston Baroque. In the 2021–2022 season, he performs with Opera Las Vegas reprising Davis Miller in Approaching Ali, sings Duke Bluebeard in Bluebeard’s Castle with the MIT Symphony Orchestra, and performs Mozart’s Requiem with the Lexington Symphony under Jonathan McPhee. Mr. Kravitz has recorded for the Naxos, BIS, Sono Luminus, Koch International Classics, BMOP/sound, Albany Records, and New World labels. His distinguished legal career has included clerkships with The Honorable Sandra Day O’Connor and The Honorable Stephen Breyer.
Tenor Alex Richardson returns to the Metropolitan Opera in the 2021–2022 season to cover the role of Laertes in Brett Dean’s Hamlet and joins Santa Fe Symphony as a soloist in Handel’s Messiah. Mr. Richardson has appeared at the Metropolitan Opera as the Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde under Sir Simon Rattle and the Fourth Jew in Salome under Johannes Debus, and has covered Loge in Das Rheingold, the First Knight in Parsifal, Lucas in Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel, and Alwa in Lulu. He sang Mario in Daniel Catán’s Il postino, Cavaradossi in Tosca at Opera Southwest, Don José in Carmen with the Fort Wayne Symphony, and Alfredo in La traviata at the Northern Lights Music Festival. At Santa Fe Opera he was Soldier Ruiz Alonzo in Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, directed by Peter Sellars, and he subsequently performed the role of the Bullfighter in Ainadamar in his debuts with the Atlanta and Chicago symphony orchestras and at the Ojai and Ravinia festivals. Originally from Las Cruces, New Mexico, Mr. Richardson holds degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder and Manhattan School of Music. He has been honored by competitions that include the Licia Albanese–Puccini Foundation, the Laureen Butler Competition of El Paso Opera (first place), and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (two-time regional winner).
Linus Schafer Goulthorpe
Praised for the remarkable purity of his voice, 13-year-old Linus Schafer Goulthorpe enjoys performing modern opera, Baroque oratorio, and art song. His professional stage debut was as the title role in NEMPAC Opera Project’s 2019 production of Rachel Portman’s The Little Prince. Mr. Schafer Goulthorpe has performed the role of Miles in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw with the Boston Conservatory’s master of opera program twice and with Enigma Chamber Opera. Other organizations he sings with include the San Francisco Opera Guild, the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir, and the National Children’s Chorus. Mr. Schafer Goulthorpe studies voice with Carley DeFranco. He spends his spare time playing piano, soccer, and chess; sailing; reading; and visiting his grandparents in New Orleans and England.