Christian Gerhaher, Brandon Jovanovich, Mauro Peter, Wolfgang Ablinger-Sperrhacke, Lars Woldt, Gun-Brit Barkmin; Zürich Philharmonia, Zürich Opera Chorus/Fabio Liusi; dir. Andreas Homoki (Zurich, 2015)
Accentus ACC 20363 (DVD)
Berg’s Wozzeck is, quite simply, ‘the perfect opera’, says Christian Gerhaher. One of the most powerful works of the 20th-century, it’s a searing tale of individual powerlessness in a cruel society. Yet when the German baritone was approached by Zurich Opera to sing the title role, he wasn’t sure he was right for it. ‘Singers who normally do this role have bigger voices than I have,’ he says. ‘But then I decided that it’s a role that doesn’t match any voice perfectly. Some parts are so low that they should be sung by a bass-baritone, others so high that they should be sung by a tenoral baritone. I thought, if Zurich Opera really wants me then they know my abilities, and they will match their ambitions with them.’ The production was a triumph.