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René Pape’s summer 2010

Weeks after René Pape delivered his much praised role debut as Wagner’s King of the Gods, he traveled to the White Nights Festival where he reprised the role of Wotan in concert and recorded the opera with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Theater Orchestra for later release on the Mariinsky label.  Pape fans don’t have to wait long, however, to hear a new Wagner recording from the German bass: his famous Gurnemanz can be heard on a fall release of Parsifal, also from Mariinsky, which represents Gergiev’s first Wagner recording. Festival appearances in Europe keep Pape busy during the summer, before he heads over the Atlantic to assume the mighty role of Russian Tsar Boris Godunov in the Met’s new fall production.

The European press received Pape’s new Wotan with warmth and enthusiasm. Die Welt, Germany’s national daily, reported:

“From the first balsamic, beautiful bass-baritone note, Pape is the center of attention: René Pape is shown as an almost conventional Wotan with double-breasted suit and spear. His ring: Michael Jackson’s glove as evil itself. Pape is a sad God, who nevertheless has authority as his powerful and flexible, thoroughly healthy voice unfolds throughout the evening.”

The same paper went on to describe the La Scala performance as “a wonderful role debut, which will change the perception of this Wagner character for decades to come.  One looks forward to its (further) development.”  Milan’s Corriere della Sera wrote of the production: “The cast of singers is formidable, beginning with the warm, and, at the same time, terrifying Wotan from René Pape.” Another Italian paper, Il Giornale, noted that the well-deserved audience ovations were directed primarily at the ‘charismatic’ Pape. 

On July 20, Pape will meet up again with Gergiev in Baden-Baden for a concert featuring the final act of Boris Godunov, giving a sneak preview of the starring role that Pape unveils in New York this fall in a new Metropolitan Opera production.  (This will mark Pape’s Met debut in the title role; after performances as the Tsar in Berlin, the Financial Times described Pape as the “consummate Boris, terrifying yet pitiable, a complex and charismatic ruler whose greatest battle is with himself.”)  To round out his summer European performances, Pape sings Bruckner’s Te Deum at the Salzburg Festival (July 26 & 27) with Daniel Barenboim and the Vienna Philharmonic; and in August, still in Salzburg, Pape portrays the role of Orest in a new production of Strauss’s Elektra, with Danielle Gatti conducting.

July 20
Die Walküre/Hunding (first act, concert version); Boris Godunov/title role (fourth act, Boris’s death, concert version)
Festspielhaus Baden-Baden
Orchestra of the Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg
Valery Gergiev, conductor

July 26 & 27
Bruckner: Te Deum
Salzburg Festival
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Daniel Barenboim, conductor

August 8, 12, 16, 20, 23, 28
Strauss:   Elektra (Orest; new production)
Salzburg Festival
Daniele Gatti, conductor
Stage director, Nikolaus Lehnhoff

October 11, 15, 18, 23, 25, 30
New York
Mussorgsky:  Boris Godunov (title role; Met role debut)
Metropolitan Opera
Valery Gergiev, conductor
Peter Stein, director


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