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Carl Maria von Weber's classic German opera met with instant success on it's premiere in Berlin in 1821. Within a short time it had spread throughout Europe. The story tells of a young hunter's almost fatal meddling with the forces of evil in attempting to win his beloved. Featuring Caterina Ligendza, Toni Kramer, Raili Viljakainen, and Wolfram Raub. Orchestra and Chorus of the Wurttemberg State Opera conducted by Dennis Russell Davies.
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Carl Maria von Weber's masterpiece Der Freischutz remains the quintessential German opera before the rise of Wagner, and this engaging 1983 production by the Wurttemberg State Opera shows that, warts and all, Weber's supernatural story is still eminently entertaining. Director-designer Achim Freyer has placed this work in a beautifully detailed forest setting that has the folkloric quality of classic fairy tales, grounding Weber's fantastic plot in a specific world of wonderment.
Conductor Dennis Russell Davies himself does wonders with the Wurttemberg State Opera Orchestra and Chorus. Right from the overture--so popular it is often played by itself in concert--Davies has a handle on Weber's endlessly hummable, instantly memorable music. Although the choral singers are an outstanding ensemble of both actors and singers, the two principals, Catarina Ligendza (Agathe) and Toni Kramer (Max), bring freshness and charm to their characterizations of Weber's romantic couple who may or may not marry at story's end. --Kevin Filipski
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