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René Pape’s summer starts with Met in Japan

René Pape is currently on tour with the Metropolitan Opera in Tokyo through June 18, proving himself a trouper as he sings one of his signature roles – King Philip in Verdi’s Don Carlo – despite worries about radioactivity in the air after Japan’s recent disasters.  The rest of the German bass’s summer ranges from the grand to the intimate on both sides of the Atlantic.  He sings in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony in Zurich (June 29-30), Berlin (Aug 21), and Toronto (Aug 27), as well as in gala orchestral concerts in his hometown of Dresden (July 3-5), St. Petersburg (July 7), and Toronto (Aug 29).  Pape also gives a lieder recital at Switzerland’s Verbier Festival (July 16), and he sings in Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde as King Marke, another signature role, at the Munich State Opera (July 27 & 31).
Enthusing over Pape’s house debut as King Philip at the Met in 2006, the New Yorker also referenced his great way with King Marke:
Once again, the German bass René Pape is striking awe into Metropolitan Opera audiences with his portrayal of a suffering king.  He did it first in 1999, in Tristan und Isolde, offering so agonizingly vivid a performance as King Marke that the opera was thrown off balance.  He is now singing the role of King Philip in Don Carlo, and his voice has become a juggernaut.  It has all the required basso weight and baritonal ring, and it is also amazingly rich in feeling: you hear the King’s unfulfilled longings, his self-doubt, his cold resolve.  Listen for how Pape rips away another layer of illusion each time he repeats the phrase ‘She does not love me’ in the Study Scene, or for how he adds a tinge of political insanity to the line ‘Death, in my hands, becomes fecund.’ ”
About Pape’s voicing of King Marke, the San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “Here was Wagnerian singing with the sort of legato, portamento, support, and expression one usually expects only in Bellini or perhaps in Verdi.  It was heartbreaking.
Pape has also proved himself a powerful recitalist.  His belated West Coast recital debut in January met with resounding critical praise.  Revealing the most intimate side of his art, the bass sang some of the greatest, deepest songs by Schubert, Schumann, and Hugo Wolf, accompanied by pianist Brian Zeger at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.  In a glowing review, Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times mused on the qualities Pape shares with voices from the Golden Age, and how he “conveys that same unforced intensity of expression heard on old recordings of the great singers of the past.”  Opera Theater Ink chimed in: “Pape is a consummate artist, and his technique reigns supreme… . He sang with commitment and soul.”  And Opera West echoed the praise, describing Pape’s voice as “midnight rich…, both gentle and powerful.”
One of the world’s go-to basses for Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Pape sings in the work this summer under three great maestros: Kurt Masur, Daniel Barenboim, and Lorin Maazel.  Reviewing a 2007 performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, the Times of London reported: “René Pape’s resounding bass jolted us out of catatonia with the most thrilling ‘O Freunde’ I have heard in the concert hall.  He seemed to inspire his colleagues.”
René Pape: upcoming engagements
June 15 & 18
Tokyo, Japan: Bunka Kaikan Theater
Verdi: Don Carlo (King Philip)
Metropolitan Opera Tour
June 29 & 30
Zurich, Switzerland: Tonhalle
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra / Kurt Masur
July 3, 4, & 5
Dresden, Germany: Semperoper
All-Weber program
Staatskapelle Dresden / Manfred Honeck
July 7
St. Petersburg, Russia: Mikhailovsky Theatre
“Bridge between Dresden and St. Petersburg”
50th anniversary gala
July 16
Verbier Festival, Switzerland
Lieder recital
With Elena Bashkirova, piano
July 27 & 31
Munich, Germany
Wagner: Tristan und Isolde
Munich State Opera / Kent Nagano
August 21
Berlin, Germany: Waldbühne
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
West-Eastern Divan Orchestra / Daniel Barenboim
August 27
Toronto, Canada: BlackCreek Music Festival
Beethoven: Symphony No. 9
London Symphony Orchestra / Lorin Maazel
August 29
Toronto, Canada: BlackCreek Music Festival
Gala Concert: arias by Mussorgsky, Verdi, and Gounod
London Symphony Orchestra / Lorin Maazel
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