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The Birds by Walter Braunfels at the Opéra national du Rhin

Walter Braunfels – Braunfels / after Aristophone (free adaptation),

Die Vögel (The Birds), op 30

Opera in two acts created on November 30, 1920 at the National Theater in Munich. French premiere on January 19, 2022 at the Opéra national du Rhin, in Strasbourg.

Performance recorded by France Musique on January 27, 2022 atRhine National Opera, European Opera in Strasbourg. New production.

Distribution :

Aziz Shokhakimov: Musical direction

Ted Huffman: Direction

Marie-Eve Munger: The Nightingale, Soprano
Tuomas Katajala: Good Hope, Tenor
Cody Quattlebaum: Fidèlami, bass-baritone
Josef Wagner: Prometheus, bass-baritone
Christoph Pohl: La Huppe, Baritone
Julie Goussot: The Wren, Soprano*
Antoin Herrera-López Kessel: The Eagle, bass-baritone
Young-Min Suk: Zeus, Bass**
Daniel Dropulja: The Raven, Bass-baritone**
Namdeuk Lee: The Flamingo, Tenor**
Simonetta Cavalli: One of the two thrushes, Soprano**
Nathalie GAUDEFROY: One of the two thrushes, Soprano**
Dilan Ayata: One of the Three Swallows, Soprano**
Tatiana Zolotikova: One of the Three Swallows, Soprano**
Aline Gozlan: One of the Three Swallows, Soprano**

Dancers:
Vladimir Hugot, Toon Lobach, Caroline Roques, Jocelyn Tardieu, Gautier Trischler

Chorus of the Opéra national du Rhin
Alessandro Zuppardo: Choir conductor
Strasbourg Philharmonic Orchestra

Andrew lieberman: Sets
Doey Lüthi: Costumes
Bernd Purkrabek: Lights
Pim Veulings: Choreography

*Former artist of the OnR Opera Studio
**Artists of the OnR Choir

The video :

The Birds by Walter Braunfels on Arte.TV
video available until February 4, 2023.

Braunfels, The Birds – Dir Aziz Shokhakimov, Ms Ted Huffman: Cody Quattlebaum and Tuomas Katajala
Braunfels, The Birds – Dir Aziz Shokhakimov, Ms Ted Huffman: Cody Quattlebaum and Tuomas Katajala

– © Photo by Klara Beck / Opéra national du Rhin 2021-2022

Braunfels, The Birds –Directed by Ted Huffman: Julie Goussot, Christoph Pohl and Tuomas Katajala
Braunfels, The Birds –Directed by Ted Huffman: Julie Goussot, Christoph Pohl and Tuomas Katajala

– © Photo by Klara Beck / Opéra national du Rhin 2021-2022

Braunfels, The Birds – Dir Aziz Shokhakimov, Ms Ted Huffman: Christoph Pohl and Julie Goussot
Braunfels, The Birds – Dir Aziz Shokhakimov, Ms Ted Huffman: Christoph Pohl and Julie Goussot

– © Photo by Klara Beck / Opéra national du Rhin 2021-2022

Walter Braunfels, The Birds – Musical direction Aziz Shokhakimov, Director Ted Huffman
Walter Braunfels, The Birds – Musical direction Aziz Shokhakimov, Director Ted Huffman

– © Photo by Klara Beck / Opéra national du Rhin 2021-2022

Summary:

Prologue. Le Rossignol welcomes the public to the kingdom of birds. There, each hour smiles on the blessed and all worries are lightened. However, the Nightingale admits that his song overflows with an inexplicable nostalgia.

Act I. Two townspeople decide to leave town in order to find happiness in the kingdom of birds. Fidèlami wants to escape the decline of art, while Bonespoir wants to forget his love disappointments. On their way, they meet the Wren, servant of King Huppe. This one, who was once a man, teaches them that birds do not have their own kingdom. An idea comes to Fidèlami: the birds only have to erect a fortified city between sky and earth; if they prevent the smoke of the sacrifices from rising towards the gods, they will be able to starve them and thus take power. Enchanted by this project, King Huppe must consult his fellows whom he has summoned by the Nightingale. All claws out, the birds throw themselves on the two men, but the king enjoins them to listen to Fidèlami’s plan. Enthused by the idea of ​​being the masters of the sky and the earth, the birds immediately launch into construction.

Act II. Bonespoir sleeps in the light of the moon. Hearing the song of the Nightingale, he wakes up and pulls the bird into his arms, speaking to it of love. But the Nightingale urges her to open her heart to the spells of nature instead and he kisses her on the forehead. Suddenly, Bonespoir is intoxicated by the smells and sounds that surround him and falls inanimate. At dawn, the Nightingale flies away.

The city built by the birds shines brightly in the morning sun. The nuptials of two doves are exuberantly celebrated. Then comes Prometheus, the titan who once defied the gods. He urges the birds not to rise against Olympus, as he once did, and warns them against the wrath of Zeus. But they proudly ignore his recommendations and arm themselves for war. Dark clouds are gathering. We hear the voice of Zeus summoning the winds. A dreadful storm destroys the aerial city. Shocked by the spectacle of nature and gnawed by remorse, the birds pay homage to the almighty Zeus then fly off into the distance.

The two men decide to return to the city. Fidèlami is not sorry to find the comfort of his little domestic life. But Bonespoir, who lingers, understands that the song of the Nightingale has changed him. As he hears her enchanting call one last time, he leaves, holding back his tears.

Synopsis reproduced with the kind permission of the Opéra national du Rhin.

Reference book :

Front Stage Opera: The Birds of Braunfels
No. 325 – ISBN: 978-2-84385-383-8

Avant-Scène Opera No. 325: The Birds of Braunfels
Avant-Scène Opera No. 325: The Birds of Braunfels

Musical programming:

Jean-Philippe Rameau,

The birds recall

Alexandre Tharaud: piano
ERATO 190295180874

Walter Braunfels / orchestration Axel Langmann – Hans Bethge

3 Chinesische Gesänge (3 Chinese Songs) op 19 – for soprano and orchestra :
1. Die Einsame (The Solitaire)
2. Ein Jüngling denkt an die Geliebte (A young man thinks of his beloved)
3. Die Geliebte des Kriegers (The Warrior’s Beloved)

Juliane Banse : Soprano
Munich Radio Orchestra
Sebastian Weigle: Musical Direction
BR CLASSIC 900322

Walter Braunfels,

6 Gesänge op 1 – for baritone and piano (excerpt) :
An den Nachtwind (At the Wind of the Night) op 1 n°1
Blondel op 1 n°2
Poems by Karl Wolfskehl
Die stillen Kahne (The silent Barges) op 1 n°3
Poem by Walter Wenghöfer
Aus dem Jahr der Seele (From the Year of the Soul) op 1 n°4
Poem by Stephan George
Die Tolle (The Great) op 1 n°5
Poem by Walter Wenghöfer

Konrad Jarnot: Baritone
Eric Schneider: Piano
CAPRICCIO C 5251

To listen again:
The Birds of Braunfels at the Opéra du Rhin “I am convinced that it is a masterpiece”

Read also :
“The Birds” by Walter Braunfels – Opéra National du Rhin, from January 19 to February 22, 2022

To listen again:
Creation of Hémon by Zad Moultaka at the Opéra national du Rhin

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