The Grammy nominations are out – and an opera production conducted by Marc Albrecht has been nominated for “Best Opera Recording”! The 2017 production of Alban Berg’s “Wozzeck” at the Dutch National Opera, and Music Director Marc Albrecht’s interpretation in particular, earned great critical acclaim – “Marc Albrecht lets [the score] glow and blaze,” wrote German critic Manuel Brug of newspaper Die Welt. The recording was released on Naxos in 2018. “Wozzeck” was performed by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra as well as the Chorus of Dutch National Opera, directed by Krzysztof Warlikowski and the cast included Christopher Maltman as well as Eva-Maria Westbroek.
In the 1997/98 season Pierre Audi first presented his legendary Wagner Ring – to world-wide acclaim. "This production [...] is a triumph of timeless mythical magic and aesthetic clarity," wrote Dutch newspaper NRC about a rerun of "Die Walküre" in 2004. Precisely this production of "Die Walküre" is now returning to the Dutch National Opera for the very last time, starting on November 16, under the baton of Marc Albrecht. Because of George Tsypin's unique stage design, Wagner expert Albrecht will bring to life the score in the midst of the stage instead of the pit, surrounded by a cast that includes Michael König, Stephen Milling, Iain Paterson, Eva-Maria Westbroek as well as Martina Serafin.
Photo: Marco Borggreve / Dutch National Opera
September 9 will be all about Wagner for Marc Albrecht, as he will be celebrating the BBC Proms with a big Wagner evening. He thus revives an old Proms tradition, as composer-specific nights were an integral part of the festival’s early days. In the first half, the concert revolves around enchanted forests, which were among the most important symbols of German Romanticism. In the second part, Albrecht, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, soprano Christine Goerke and tenor Stephen Gould present scenes from Götterdämmerung.
In 2009, Marc Albrecht celebrated a notable success at Royal Opera House with Wagner’s “Fliegender Holländer” – this summer, he makes a return to Covent Garden: From June 19 he will be conducting a new production of Mussorgksky’s “Boris Godunov”, directed by Richard Jones. Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel takes over the titular role of the hesitant tsar.
Last year’s celebrated production of Korngold’s “Das Wunder der Heliane” at Deutsche Oper Berlin will be released on DVD by Naxos on June 14. The opera, which was conducted by Marc Albrecht, was voted “Rediscovery of the Year” 2018 by the critics of Opernwelt magazine and earned considerable acclaim all round – Berliner Morgenpost, for instance, wrote: “But the real miracle of the evening happens in the pit. Marc Albrecht savours Korngold's sound frenzy for a good three hours, dims it only occasionally to strengthen individual performances and vocal moments. With great pleasure he devotes himself to the details that emerge from the sound waves, exposing layers, only to allow them to melt back into one another.”
Photo: Monika Rittershaus
Marc Albrecht received the "Conductor of the Year" award at this year's International Opera Awards. At the award ceremony at Sadler's Wells in London on April 29, Leontyne Price amongst others was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement award. Albrecht, who last year directed the opening production "Ariadne auf Naxos" at Aix-en Provence Festival and the production "Das Wunder der Heliane" at the Deutsche Oper Berlin in addition to the productions at the Dutch National Opera House, thanked the jury for the award and emphasized the long and fruitful collaboration at the Amsterdam Opera House, whose chief position Albrecht has accompanied for more than ten years now.
Premiere night in Amsterdam: On April 6th Marc Albrecht will be conducting “Tannhäuser” at the Dutch National Opera – his fifth Wagner production at the DNO after “Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg,” “Parsifal,”“Lohengrin” and “Tristan und Isolde.” The production will be directed by Christoph Loy, with whom Marc Albrecht collaborated on the celebrated staging of “Das Wunder der Heliane” at Deutsche Oper in 2018. With its splendid choral movements, “Tannhäuser” is a true ‘singers’ opera’ – soloists include Daniel Kirch, Stephen Miling and Svetlana Aksenova. The production will be running until the 1st of May.
Photo: Monika Rittershaus
As of December 6 2018 Marc Albrecht will be conducting “Oedipe” by George Enescu at the Dutch National Opera. The staging is directed by Àlex Ollé; Johan Reuter, Sophie Koch und Violeta Urmana are among the cast. The production was first premiered at the Théâtre royal de la Monnaie in Brussels in 2010 and will be running in Amsterdam until December 25.
Find more information.
In October, Marc Albrecht’s opera debut in the USA is coming up, which he will celebrate with Strauss’ “Arabella” at the San Francisco Opera. The director Tim Albery, who Marc Albrecht has already worked with at the Royal Opera House in London, also makes his debut in San Francisco with this production.
First performance on October 16th, 2018.
Further information is available here.
Marc Albrecht continues his focus on Strauss with a new album. On this new CD, he combines the “Burleske” with one of Strauss’ most famous tone poems “Ein Heldenleben” and, thereby, presents two facets of the composer’s musical persona. The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the pianist Denis Kozhukhin support Albrecht as musical partners for this recording.
A detailed press text can be found via this link.
Further information on this album are available here.
As part of this year’s ARD Radiofestival, a recording of “Ariadne auf Naxos” will be broadcast. On this occasion, Marc Albrecht talked to the radio station NDR about the exceptional rehearsal conditions in Aix-en-Provence, the unusual orchestra size of this production as well as about his passion for opera.
Dates of broadcast:
Interview: July 28th, 2018, 1:40 p.m., NDR Kultur “Klassikboulevard
“Ariadne auf Naxos”: July 28th, 2018, 8:00 p.m., recording from July 11th, 2018
More information on the ARD Radiofestival is available here.
Marc Albrecht is one of the most interesting conductors on the current opera and concert scene. A man who goes his own way with clear artistic visions, and concentrates primarily on his role as Chief Conductor of Europe's ‘Opera House of the Year 2016’, the National Opera Amsterdam, as well as the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. He was also chosen as ‘Conductor of the Year’ at the International Opera Awards 2019. Selected guest conductings will take him to the BBC Proms, Weimar and the Seattle Symphony in the 2019/20 season. Although he is in great demand internationally as a conductor of late Romantic German and Austrian repertoire, ranging from Wagner to Strauss to Zemlinsky, Schreker and Korngold, he convincingly and successfully covers the entire spectrum from Mozart to contemporary music. ‘The Beethoven sounded thrilling, evocative and exciting,’ says a review from Vienna in 2014. ‘Die Welt’ critic Manuel Brug cited Rimsky-Korsakov’s ‘The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh’ as ‘an exemplary operatic evening’, which Albrecht conducted in 2012. ‘Der Tagesspiegel’ (2018) also commented on Korngold’s ‘Das Wunder der Heliane’ at the Deutsche Oper Berlin: ‘Marc Albrecht rules as a convincing Korngoldian. […] You cannot fight for such a rarity at the Deutsche Oper, as elaborate, affectionate and top-quality as he is.’
Marc Albrecht’s musical training began while he was still at school. As the son of George Alexander Albrecht, the long-time Music Director of the Niedersächsisches Staatstheater Hannover, he gained deep insights into the conducting profession from an early age. Although he played trombone in the orchestra, eventually the piano became his instrument of choice. He still appears from time to time as a chamber musician in concerts with his orchestra colleagues.
The chamber music approach also characterises his work with orchestras. Albrecht loves the large orchestra format and skillfully relishes in the almost endless sound possibilities of the orchestra. Simultaneously, he always attempts to make the symphonic texture as transparent as it can be with chamber music. Even in the densely orchestrated symphonies of Bruckner and Mahler, he amazingly succeeds in making the structure clear and allowing the music to breathe, despite the opulent sound. An analytical approach and emotional music-making go hand in hand for Marc Albrecht. He intellectually penetrates and studies every work he conducts in depth, in order to be able to make music without restraint and with all his heart during the concert. He is neither a merely cerebral nor an intuitive musician, but a happy combination of both.
He was clearly influenced in that regard by his mentor Claudio Abbado. Following his studies in Vienna and his first positions as répétiteur with the state operas in Vienna and Hamburg, he served as Abbado’s assistant, helping to launch the Mahler Jugendorchester, which he conducted for five years. He was subsequently appointed Principal Conductor of the Sächsische Staatsoper Dresden and in 1995, at the age of 30, became one of Germany’s youngest Music Directors at the Staatstheater Darmstadt.
In 2006, Marc Albrecht assumed the post of Artistic Director and Chief Conductor of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg, and then went to Amsterdam in 2011, where, once again, opera became the focus of his work. He conducted such operas as ‘Die Zauberflöte’ and ‘Don Giovanni’ by Mozart, Beethoven’s ‘Fidelio’, Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’, Wagner’s ‘ Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg’, ‘Elektra’ by Strauss, ‘Der Schatzgräber’ by Schreker, Prokofiev’s ‘Der Spieler’ and the premiere of Manfred Trojahn’s ‘Orest’. In September 2014, a milestone of his career was the first staged version of Schoenberg’s ‘Gurre-Lieder’ with Pierre Audi as stage director.
As a guest conductor, he has presented operas by such diverse composers as Berlioz and Messiaen, Stravinsky and Martinů, B. A. Zimmermann and Zemlinsky, Berg, Henze and Wagner at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, in Brussels, Paris and Barcelona, at Covent Garden, the Salzburger Festspiele and, from 2003 to 2006, at the Bayreuther Festspiele.
Generally speaking, Marc Albrecht likes to collaborate with unconventional directors; he has conducted successful projects with Katie Mitchell and Christof Loy, Claus Guth, Herbert Fritsch and Krzystzof Warlikowski.
In addition, he has conducted symphony orchestras such as Berliner Philharmoniker, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Münchner Philharmoniker, Orchestra dell’Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Orchestre National de France, NHK Symphony Orchestra Tokyo and orchestras in Cleveland, Dallas, Stockholm, Oslo, Turin, Rotterdam and Birmingham.
Marc Albrecht’s CD recordings with the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra (including works by Korngold, Ravel, Dukas, Köchlin, Berg, Schumann, Dvořák, Mahler, Strauss, Brahms/Schoenberg) have been released on the Pentatone label. In autumn 2018, he presented the Strauss work ‘Ein Heldenleben’ and ‘Burleske’ on his latest Pentatone recording. The DVD of his celebrated production ‘Wunder der Heliane’ on Naxos at the Deutsche Oper Berlin was released in June 2019.
BBC Proms, London
“Albrecht's exciting performance [of Le Chasseur maudit] had momentum, and maintained tension even in the slow central part.”
“As music director of Dutch National Opera, Albrecht is an experienced Wagnerian and he drew all the strands together with theatrical relish, inspiring the RPO in the process.”
Daily Telegraph, September 2019
“Albrecht lifted this listener out of the concert hall and deposited me in a baleful landscape the like of which I'd never previously encountered in this music. By the careful highlighting of specific solos or sections, then allowing balance to follow naturally, he did more than conquer the Royal Albert Hall’s exuberant acoustic: he exploited it. This accursed huntsman's musical material may be thinly stretched over the 14-minute running time but Franck’s orchestral colours enrich it triumphantly and Albrecht’s conducting ripped it from the page.“
Bachtrack, September 2019
“[Marc Albrecht] coaxed some outstanding playing from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra: I have not heard them on such form in years.“
„Albrecht had also proved himself a master of transition in the Overture to Weber’s Der Freischütz – astutely programmed as a piece that worked magic on Wagner’s imagination – and in the wild ride of Le Chausseur Maudit by Franck.“
The Arts Desk, September 2019
“Albrecht showed – in the venue where Wagner conducted his own music in 1877 – how he has a deep understanding of German Romanticism and rarely can the RPO have sounded better at the Proms in recent years.”
Seen and Heard International, September 2019
“Marc Albrecht and the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest manage to give an upbeat interpretation that is, at the same time, precisely balanced in its tempo proportions. It does justice to the Dresden core of the work […], as well as to its embedding in a morbid a “Tristan” diction.”
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, April 2019
“Albrecht, the orchestra and the phenomenal Choir of the National Opera are the “holy” trinity of this evening and deservedly earn loud applause.”
Trouw, April 2019
“The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Marc Albrecht and the Koor van De Nationale Opera […] were the highlights of the premiere.”
Place de l'Opera, April 2019
“A huge Bravo to the phenomenal Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. Wagner is, of course, wind in the sails of Marc Albrecht, who really outdid himself this time.”
Basia con Fuoco, April 2019
“[...] thanks to Marc Albrecht, who will leave DNO as chief conductor at the end of 2020, the world premiere of this wonderful opera has become a musical event in a class of its own. Albrecht is audibly convinced of the rare quality of Enescu's score. He succeeded in motivating the Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest and the Choir of the National Opera [...] to give it their all.”
Trouw, December 2018
“[The music in "Oedipe"] is unruly music that seems to flare up again and again and never looks back [...]. Nevertheless, conductor Marc Albrecht brings out all kinds of nuances in the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, from intimate interplay to overwhelming climax.”
Volkskrant, December 2018
“The decisive factor for the success of the performance, however, was the direction of Marc Albrecht, who for three hours made the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra sigh, scream, support, lament, growl and roar with warlike intensity.“
OpusKlassiek, December 2018
Arabella, San Francisco
“Marc Albrecht [...] led some of the best playing I’ve heard at War Memorial.”
San Francisco Classical Voice, October 2018
“The spectrum of colors, the motivic details, the phrasings and the volumes (considerable) that the maestro exploited did indeed verify masterpiece status if not outright awe for the score.”
Opera Today, October 2018
“Albrecht got the music to surge […], ebbing and flowing seamlessly with the action.”
Seen and Heard International, October 2018
“Those of us who appreciate the activities in the orchestra pit just as much as those on stage will be well justified in hoping that we shall see more of [Marc Albrecht]”
The Rehearsal Studio, October 2018
Ariadne auf Naxos, Aix-en-Provence
"Marc Albrecht stood at the podium and performed his magic: an enchanting and vibrant prelude full of nuances, and flourishing and voluptuous in the opera itself; he did not shy away from the grand emotional gestures. The assembled group of singers followed him meticulously, [...]"
Das Opernglas, September 2018
Tristan und Isolde, Amsterdam
„Feeling the music in every fibre of his being, one moment bending into his knees like a ballet dancer, the next stretching to his full height, swaying elegantly from left to right, his arms undulating in time with Wagner’s score and his fingers conjuring up the smallest dynamic nuances, conductor Marc Albrecht elicits a Liebestod of unprecedented orchestral beauty from the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, creating an emotional climax that elevates one to heights that make the scene on stage irrelevant. Musical drama at the very highest level!”
Opusklassiek, Paul Korenhof, January 2018
Eine florentinische Tragödie / Gianni Schicchi, Amsterdam
“Thanks to an inspired discovery, the works flow into each other seamlessly. By the end, your jaw has dropped from sheer surprise and admiration. All credit to the conductor Marc Albrecht, who suggested this combination.”
Gooi- en Eemlander, Hans Visser, 13 November 2017
“But conductor Marc Albrecht is proving to be an impeccable helmsman […], who manages to bring both musical worlds to life in his own, delightful way.”
NRC NEXT, Mischa Spel, 13 November 2017
“This is not to be missed.”
Het Parool, Erik Voermans, 13 November 2017
“Albrecht senses Zemlinsky’s harmonically saturated, over-ripe, practically fermenting music as perfectly as he feels the rushing, compact wantonness of Puccini.”
Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 13 November 2017
“Albrecht came up with the perfect compromise: a double bill, with Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Zemlinsky’s Eine florentinische Tragödie. […] Albrecht is fascinated by the idea that Puccini may have been closer to Arnold Schönberg’s inner circle – Zemlinsky was his teacher – than generally assumed.”
Het Parool, Erik Voermans, 7 November 2017
"The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra excels in this revealing, constantly smouldering score, which culminates in one of the most magnificent orchestral epilogues ever written, as Albrecht and his musicians make time stand still. Pure class."
Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 21 March 2017
"Conductor Marc Albrecht feels the emotional stratification without fault, enabling the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra to take on its own persona, the brooding subconscious of the stage."
Volkskrant, Persis Bekkering, 20 March 2017
"The highest praise goes to Marc Albrecht and his Netherlands Philharmonic, who managed to bring even the minutest details of this vivacious orchestral score to life. (...) Albrecht meticulously built up the tension, creating an overwhelming emotional impact."
NRC Handelsblad, Joep Stapel, 20 March 2017
"The audience finally sprang to its feet for conductor Marc Albrecht and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra, who succeeded in infusing the expressive sounds of Berg with poetry."
Noordhollands Dagblad / Gooi- en Eemlander / Leidsch Dagblad - Hans Visser, 20 March 2017
"The ever-listenable Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra led by Marc Albrecht makes furious attempts to make itself heard above the visual distractions on stage. If you close your eyes, you hear that they’re on fire."
Telegraaf, Louis Gauthier, 20 March 2017
"The orchestral quality of the première performance was superb. A huge compliment to the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Marc Albrecht."
Place de l'Opera, Peter Franken, 20 March 2017
"The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and musical director Marc Albrecht manage to make Alban Berg’s originally atonal score flow smoothly, even giving it a melancholic and surprisingly soothing depth of sound. (...) The most remarkable aspect of Albrecht’s musical direction, his interaction with the soloists and the choir of the Dutch National Opera, is the way he manages to make the long, largely melodic lines of the late-Romantic music dominate the acoustic arrangement. More so than the atonality."
Theaterkrant, Kester Freriks, 19 March 2017
"The Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra led by Marc Albrecht, who veritably befriends the soloists, provides the superior quality we have come to expect from this orchestra. The life that this orchestra and conductor breathe into the score is pure magic."
Operagazet, Olivier Keegel, 19 March 2017
"(…) the glorious sounds emanating from the pit. (…) Such an exalted level, this was a Parsifal for ages; gloriously sung, played and conducted. (…) Music director Marc Albrecht conducted a propulsive and perfectly-judged account of the work, aided and abetted by faultless playing by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra. (…) Act III attained musical Nirvana, taking us to another plain that felt unworldly due to its transcendental beauty, whilst the choral singing was superb. Magnificent, sublime and extremely moving, this is a Parsifal that demands to be heard and seen."
musicOMH.com, Keith McDonnell, 6 December 2016
Bruckner 5th Symphony, NedPhO Amsterdam
"Marc Albrecht conducts the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra these days in a direct, well structured interpretation of Bruckner's Fifth. (...) Bruckner's music is flowing nicely. (...) The NedPhO sounds like a clock."
Parool, Roeland Hazendonk, November 2016
"Especially the creamy, blended string sound is a feature where the [orchestra] is clearly distinguishable. (...) Albrecht was confidently in control and knew to make room for a certain degree of mystery inbetween the inevitable rotating radar."
Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, November 2016
Mahler 5th Symphony, NedPhO Amsterdam
"Don’t miss Mahler with Marc Albrecht: visionary
Almost imperceptibly Marc Albrecht, chief conductor of the Netherlands Philharmonic, is working on a Mahler cycle about which one would want to write in capital letters. Earlier Albrecht conducted the symphonies 1 to 4 and 6, the Ninth follows next season and this week sees the Fifth. Planning of the remaining works is in progress: Albrecht’s contract runs until at least 2020.
What makes Albrecht’s Mahler so unique? His approach has integrity, is intelligent and sensitive – and never schwärmerisch, despite the dynamic extremes between roaring fff and the almost inaudible ppp (Adagietto) he achieves.
It resulted Saturday in a performance of the Fifth that was moving but also striking because of the significance he gave to certain accents. The erratic was highlighted, the Stürmisch bewegt sounded energetic and potent but impressed especially by the way Albrecht made the vitality swell from the lower strings by one sweep of his arm. Just as clever and tasteful: how in the Scherzo he let the strings hang back (with a deeply melancholy effect)
Albrecht conducts a Mahler that makes you love Mahler! Raw emotions never change into hysteria and the visionary of the score is underlined throughout."
NRC Handelsblad, Mischa Spel, April 2016
"Those key moments register with the necessary emotional power, but conductor Marc Albrecht never feels indulgent (…) Albrecht’s orchestra (…) revealing a great deal of the score’s bustling inner detail and melismatic counterpoint."
Gramophone, Hugo Shirley, February 2016
Mahler Symphony No. 4
"Conductor Marc Albrecht makes his points without exaggeration, revealing personal touches in his care for proper observance of Mahler’s dynamics and his concern for textural clarity."
classictoday.com, David Hurwitz, January 2016
Der Rosenkavalier, Amsterdam
"It is rare to hear a terzetto so excellently balanced and emotional. And it was greatly due to Marc Albrecht and the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra […] Albrecht pushed the music to an unbelievable peak."
Trouw, Peter van der Lint, 8 September 2015
"It couldn’t have been so overwhelming if it weren’t be supported by the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra and its conductor Marc Albrecht, an ideal couple […]"
De Volkskrant, Frits van der Waa, 7 September 2015
"The achievements of the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra were phenomenal. […] Marc Albrecht knew like no other how to give space to the music by leading the orchestra tightly and to make the underlying tensions of Strauss’s music tangible."
Theaterkrant, Oswin Schneeweisz, 7 September 2015