Web Alert: Mahler Mezzos

The centenary of Gustav Mahler’s Death is bringing forth a cornucopia – not limited to boys and enclosing a lot of mezzo and contralto lines – of wonderful concerts.

Fine, so Mahler didn’t write operas, officially. But his symphonic works contain large vocal parts and many of his symphonies tell stories some operas could be envious of.

On the occasion, Franco-German highbrow culture channel ARTE proves itself as the mezzo lovers best friend once more.

First of all, yesterday’s concert from Berlin is available as stream on demand for the entire week. The concert, conducted by the grand Claudio Abbado, features the first movement from Mahler’s 10th symphony and “Das Lied von der Erde”, the “Song of the Earth”, which has been mentioned on this blog more than once before simply because it is one of my longtime favorites. Also, it features mezzo singing. The soloists for the evening are Jonas Kaufmann and Anne Sofie von Otter – a must-hear interpretation, especially on her part (it’s possible. however, that geoblocking applies internationally). If you don’t have to cry, I’m not sure we can be friends any longer.

Regarding teh pesky geo-blocking: for all thsoe of you unable to access the Berlin concert, there is Arte Live Web, also known as “The Arte place without geoblocking”, which isn’t airing the Berlin concert, but more or less the entire Leipzig Mahler Festival, running May 17th through 29th.

Riccardo Chailly, one of the best Mahler conductors around himself (ever since I heard his reading of the 3rd, I’m reformed. I don’t know it what way exactly, but it was the kind of concert that could change lives), has invited guests from all over the world – and, coincidentally, from all over Anik’s list of personal favorites – to celebrate Mahler’s music (all ten symphonies and more).

The festival started last night at Leipzig Gewandhaus with the 2nd symphony under Chailly himself, with Christiane Oelze and Srah Connolly as vocal soloists (list of favorites, told you so).

Other festival highlights are Esa-Pekka Salonen with the 3rd (tonight), contralto solo by Lilli Paasiviki, and Daniel Harding with the 4th and the Kindertotenlieder (next Wednesday) with Mojca Erdmann. The full program short list can be found at the MDR (right-hand column), though the soloist listings aren’t up to date, a more extensive version can be found at the Gewandhaus site.

The concerts are broadcast live on Arte Live Web AND are available for a full week afterwards. Happy (or, as it is Mahler, not so happy, but soulful) listening!

9 thoughts on “Web Alert: Mahler Mezzos”

  1. Oooh! what a cornucopia of goodies, my favourite is in there, but alas I can’t get it. I’ll wait for you to do a review, you are good at those


    1. If you mean you can’t see the Leipzig Mahler 2 on Arte Live Web, try again. It is not blocked for viewers outside Europe, but there is a very slight disconnect between the sound and the picture most noticeable when the soloists are performing; nevertheless it is still well worth watching and listening to. SC is wearing a very nice blue dress …


      1. blue dresses seem to be all the rage among the Mahler Mezzos these days! First von Otter, now Connolly… (the slight gap happens with some videos in general, Europe or not. But then again, it’s still free great music)


  2. The fabulous Abbado-Otter-Kaufmann-Abend should be available soon for everybody in the concert archive of BPO’s digital concert hall: http://www.digitalconcerthall.com/en/
    I’d like to recommend to everybody who is not able to see Arte via the web to check when the concert is archived and to invest in a 24-hour ticket ( 9,90 Euro = approx. 14 USD/CAD or 8,70 GBP).
    Not to be missed either: the Strauss-evening with Fleming, Hampson, and Thielemann at no extra charge once you have purchased the 24-hour-ticket.

    Von Otter in blue – und ewig blauen licht die Fernen – (almost) the perfect dress colour for the final 😉 !


  3. Anik, you are Nissaba, bringer of abundance. Thank you so much.
    Not Mahler, not opera, but still good to find this too on Arte Live Web: Von Otter in Les Nuits d’été with Minkowski.
    Not a mezzo, but Fabio Luisi is conducting Das Lied in Leipzig (with contralto Anna Larsson) hard on the heels of his Metropolitan Ariadne. Two days from now–the page actually has a countdown clock like Leipzig’s Elektra–barely time enough to dry one’s tears and refill the tissue boxes.


    1. actually, I prefer contraltos for the Lied, but then again, there are von Otter and Connolly…

      must check out the Luisi, I already tuned into the Minkowski from Versailles. Arte Live Web on a good day is like a candy store.


  4. For me Anna Larsson is the Mahler interpreter above all. It says contralto in the music, and she has the looks, the brains and the voice. And probably her gays to advice her….


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