ORFEO International


November 2017

Echo Klassik for Brigitte Fassbaender

We congratulate Brigitte Fassbaender who has been awarded the ECHO Klassik for her live time achievement. [more...]

August 2017

Gundula Janowitz 80th Anniversary

In 1972, the then 35 year old soprano with the so unmistakably silvery timbre and rapid vibrato that always sounded chaste (together with a slight, charming lisp) gave a Lieder recital at the Salzburg Festival. The programme consisted of virtually unknown Schubert as well as original and high-quality settings by Schubert's close friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner; the wonderful Irwin Gage accompanied her. [more...]

May 2017

† Eduard Brunner

Eduard Brunner was, right up to the end of his life, vitally active as a soloist and teacher and a perennial fixture on the music scene over decades. As far back as 1983 Eduard Brunner championed the revival of the early Romantic era at the ORFEO label with the clarinet concertos of Carl Maria von Weber. [more...]

March 2017

† Kurt Moll

Kurt Moll was, among his generation, always the most noble and subtle of basses, and simultaneously a singer with an inimitable and rich timbre. Even when playing the rumbustious, insolent Ochs in Der Rosenkavalier – especially under the baton of Carlos Kleiber at the Bavarian State Opera – he exuded the dignity of the (landed) gentry, and when portraying the no less coarse Osmin in Mozart’s Entführung he always brought out the vulnerability of that character. [more...]

February 2017

† Nicolai Gedda

Born in Stockholm in 1925 to a Russian choir director and a Swedish mother, Nicolai Gedda can safely be named – alongside Enrico Caruso, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo, and perhaps comparable only to these – as one of the great lyric tenors of the twentieth century. [more...]

January 2017

Maurizio Pollini 75th Anniversary

Am 5. Januar wird seit vielen Jahren ein pianistischer Drei-Kaiser-Tag gefeiert, wurden an ihm außer Maurizio Pollini doch auch Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli und Alfred Brendel geboren. Das heutige Kultur- und Musikleben ist spürbar von großer Verehrung für die noch lebenden und konzertierenden großen Künstler der vergangenen Jahrzehnte erfüllt, aber das trifft in noch einmal gesteigerter Weise für Maurizio Pollini zu, der heute seinen 75. Geburtstag begeht. [more...]

January 2017

Grace Bumbry 80. Anniversary

Gerade mal 24 Jahre alt war Grace Bumbry, als sie 1961 die Venus im „Tannhäuser“ bei den Bayreuther Festspielen unter Leitung von Wolfgang Sawallisch sang. Skandalon und Sensation war das damals und schnell war das Wort von der „schwarzen Venus“ kreiert, das durchaus auch rassistische Untertöne haben konnte. [more...]

September 2016

Julia Varady 75th Anniversary

Julia Varady, who celebrates her 75th birthday on September 1, 2016, was in every sense of the word an exceptional singer. From the very beginning of her career through to her departure from the stage 33 years later in 1997, before she had reached the age of 56, the Hungarian-born artist who initially trained as a mezzo-soprano captivated audiences in the most diverse of roles with her inimitable timbre. [more...]

July 2016

Pavol Breslik - CD Presentation Mozart Arias at Ludwig Beck's

On July 9, 2016, the tenor Pavol Breslik delighted an audience of opera-lovers on Munich’s Marstallplatz with a solo performance in the “Opera for All” series. [more...]

March 2016

Aribert Reimann 80th Anniversary

Aribert Reimann, who celebrated his 80th birthday on 4 March 2016, has composed for the human voice in a manner unmatched by any other in the 20th and 21st centuries. [more...]

July 2015

† Jon Vickers

Jon Vickers, who was born in Canada in 1926, was the most significant heldentenor of the second half of the 20th century, though he never restricted himself to Wagner. Even those who have only ever seen him on DVD can see and hear how the powerful, thrilling yet flexible voice and the gigantic stature of the man could form a fearsome unity when he so desired. [more...]

May 2015

Pjotr Ilych Tchaikovsky - 175th Anniversary

This year, 25 April saw the 175th birthday of Russia’s most popular operatic and symphonic composer of the 19th century. During his lifetime and long thereafter, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s works were often derided as clichéd kitsch, and his genius went unrecognized. [more...]

March 2015

Sviatoslav Richter 100th Anniversary

Among those Soviet pianists who overcame all obstacles to be able to perform to enthusiastic audiences in the concert halls of the world, Sviatoslav Richter is regarded by many as an exceptional case. Born on 20 March 1915, he studied in the legendary class of Heinrich G. Neuhaus at the Moscow Conservatory. [more...]

January 2015

† Waldemar Kmentt

Of the post-war artists who pursued their careers singing the great roles primarily as an ensemble member of a single opera house, it has been claimed that many would today be enjoying an international career. This is certainly the case with Waldemar Kmentt, who died in Vienna on 21 January 2015 at the age of 85. [more...]

October 2014

Piotr Beczala – Sänger des Jahres Echo Klassik 2014

Ausgezeichnet für seinen New Yorker MET-Auftritt als Herzog in Rigoletto freuen wir uns für und mit Piotr Beczala – und darüber, dass er in seinem Recital-Debüt „Salut!“ und seinem Verdi-Programm von 2013 mit derselben Partie bereits in Ausschnitten bei Orfeo zu hören ist. [more...]

July 2014

† Lorin Maazel

The sudden death of Lorin Maazel at the age of 84, at a time when his creative power seemed undimmed, is a great shock. Besides working with the New York Philharmonic, his last twenty years left their mark above all on the concert life of Munich, where he worked first with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and then with the Munich Philharmonic. [more...]

June 2014

Rafael Kubelik 100th Anniversary

Today, people are quick to speak of the “end of an era” – sometimes far too quick, with barely half a decade sufficient these days to declare the passing of an epoch. On the other hand, when we speak of a “Kubelík era” in Munich, we have the best reasons for doing so. Rafael Kubelík was born on 29 June 1914 in Býchory in Bohemia. For a full 18 years (1961-1979) he was Chief Conductor of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. [more...]

June 2014

† Berislav Klobučar

Berislav Klobučar, who died in Vienna on 13 June 2014, was never treated as a star among the conductors of his generation. Nevertheless, he performed at just about every big opera house, from the Bayreuth Festspielhaus to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. [more...]

June 2014

Richard Strauss 150th Anniversary

Unlike many of his composing colleagues, Richard Strauss succeeding in promoting his preferred interpreters on the world’s stages and concert podiums. This fact is reflected, too, in the Orfeo catalogue. We have the official Salzburg world première of Die Liebe der Danae under Clemens Krauss from 1952 – thus a performance “at first hand”. [more...]

February 2014

† Gerd Albrecht

No one can reasonably expect a conductor to be an easy-going personality. But in the case of Gerd Albrecht, who died in Berlin on 2 February 2014 at the age of 78, we really have to admit that he was a man wholly uninterested in restricting himself to the straightforward, standard repertoire or to tried and tested recipes for success. [more...]

April 2013

† Sir Colin Davis

Sir Colin Davis died on 14 April 2013 at the age of 85. He was one of the most significant conductors on the international scene in recent decades. [more...]

March 2013

ICMA for Quatuor pour la fin de temps C 840 121 B

The recording of Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the end of time in the series “Salzburg Festival Documents” (2008) is being awarded a major international prize: it has won the chamber music category in the International Classical Music Awards. [more...]

March 2013

† Van Cliburn

The artistic breakthrough of the pianist Van Cliburn came in 1958 when he won the Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow in his early 20s. It was also a political sensation, coming as it did in the midst of the Cold War, and his recording of Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto later sold millions of copies [more...]

February 2013

† Wolfgang Sawallisch

Just half a year before his 90th birthday, Wolfgang Sawallisch has died in Grassau im Chiemgau. Whoever experienced his art at first hand will remember above all the naturalness of his music-making – whether on the conductor’s podium or at the piano. [more...]

January 2013

† Lisa Della Casa

Lisa Della Casa, who died in her native Switzerland on 10 December 2012, was more closely identified with the title role of Richard Strauss's Arabella than was any other soprano. [more...]

November 2012

Jahrespreis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik for Krassimira Stoyanova

Orfeo is happy that the jury of this year’s German Record Critics’ Award has honoured Krassimira Stoyanova with one of its sought-after annual prizes for her album “Slavic Opera Arias”. [more...]

October 2012

Hans Werner Henze † 27 October 2012

Hans Werner Henze’s passing away at the age of 86 is a sad loss to the world of music, with his works being regularly performed not only in the German-speaking world but far beyond it, too – one thinks, for example, of the recent performances of his operas in Oslo and Philadelphia. [more...]

June 2012

Franz Crass † 23 June 2012

Franz Crass was an exception among German basses of the post-war period. [more...]

June 2012

Winner of the Monte Carlo Piano Masters, 16 June 2012

Miroslav Kultyshev, who has already recorded Liszt’s Études d’exécution transcendante and Grieg’s Piano Concerto for Orfeo, has emerged as the great winner of the twentieth final round of the Monte Carlo Piano Masters [more...]

May 2012

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau † 18 May 2012

It is no exaggeration to say that with the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau the world has lost one of its most multitalented artists and that we are all the poorer in consequence. That he set new standards as a singer, especially in the lieder repertory, does not need restating here. [more...]

March 2012

Eugen Jochum † 26 March 1987

Eugen Jochum, who died twenty-five years ago on 26 March 1987, was one of the most important conductors of his generation. [more...]

March 2012

Martha Mödl 100th Anniversary

Every tribute to Martha Mödl, who would have been one hundred years old on 22 March 2012, is like describing that untranslatable and constantly shifting concept of the monstre sacré. [more...]

February 2012

50th † Bruno Walter

Bruno Walter, who died fifty years ago on 17 February 1962, belonged to a generation of conductors who regarded it as self-evident that they would not only conduct music but also compose it and perform in public as pianists. [more...]

January 2012

† Rita Gorr

The great Belgian mezzo-soprano Rita Gorr, who died only a few weeks before her eighty-sixth birthday, was one of those singers who force us to question traditional hierarchies on the operatic stage. [more...]

December 2011

Grace Bumbry 75th Anniversary

If Grace Bumbry, who celebrates her seventy-fifth birthday on 4 January 2012, is a legend in her own lifetime, this is due not least to her Bayreuth début in 1961, when she appeared as a “black Venus” in Wieland Wagner’s production of Tannhäuser. [more...]

November 2011

† Sena Jurinac

...in der Karriere von Sena Jurinac, die am 22. November 2011 wenige Wochen nach ihrem 90. Geburtstag verstorben ist, gab es sicherlich riskante und kritische Momente.... [more...]

October 2011

Emil Gilels 95th Anniversary

We would be doing Emil Gilels an injustice by describing him as a late starter, and yet that is the impression that one occasionally forms because it was at a relatively late date that Gilels, having already made a name for himself in the Soviet Union, conquered the concert halls of the rest of the world. [more...]

September 2011

Julia Varady 70th Anniversary

Exactly what it takes to make a prima donna has always divided opinion. But to rise to the ranks of a prima donna assoluta surely requires all manner of qualities in the eyes of operatic experts. [more...]

July 2011

Andris Nelsons ECHO Klassik 2011 Awarded

Andris Nelsons is this year’s recipient of ECHO Klassik’s ‘Conductor of the Year’ Award, a honour bestowed on him for his Stravinsky recording with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. [more...]

May 2011

Aribert Reimann erhält den Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis

Aribert Reimann ist am 24. Mai 2011 in München für sein Lebenswerk mit dem Ernst-von-Siemens-Musikpreis geehrt worden. [more...]

May 2011

Inge Borkh 90th Anniversary

During the 1950s and 1960s, international opera houses looking for a hochdramatisch soprano capable of doing justice to the roles of Salome or Electra in Strauss's operas of the same name or to the part of the Dyer's Wife in the same composer's Die Frau ohne Schatten needed to look no further than Inge Borkh. [more...]

May 2011

† Dieter Klöcker

Die Nachricht vom Tod Dieter Klöckers bedeutet einen herben Verlust für alle, die klassische Musik und speziell die Musikliteratur für Klarinette lieben. [more...]

April 2011

Dieter Klöcker 75th Anniversary

In an age when many internationally acclaimed performers limit themselves to a relatively restricted repertory, Dieter Klöcker – to whom we offer our warmest good wishes on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday – stands alone. [more...]

April 2011

† Robert Tear

With the death of the Welsh tenor Robert Tear on 29 March, the world has lost a great artist. In the German-speaking world he was known above all as an outstanding singing actor. [more...]

March 2011

† Yakov Kreizberg

In many ways the death of Yakov Kreizberg at the age of fifty-one marks the end of an era in the world of classical music. Only a few weeks ago he was praised for his excellent, far-reaching work with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Monte Carlo [more...]

February 2011

Dame Margaret Price † 28 January 2011

The news that Dame Margaret Price has died of heart failure in Cardigan is as unexpected as it is a shock. 2011 was to have been a year in which to honour this grandiose singer, who would have celebrated her 70th birthday on 13 April. [more...]

January 2011

Plácido Domingo 70th Anniversary

There have already been many words of congratulation from others, but nor do we wish to miss the opportunity to celebrate Plácido Domingo’s 70th birthday too. [more...]

October 2010

Dmitri Mitropoulos, † 2 November 1960

Although the USA became his home, Dimitri Mitropoulos is in people’s minds today associated above all with a music-dramatic work that would have been unthinkable without the High Classical culture of Athens, the city of his birth. [more...]

October 2010

Fritz Wunderlich, *26 September 1930

The name of Fritz Wunderlich has long since been the stuff of legend, and yet it is impossible not to recall that he might have still been alive today and that we would now be celebrating his eightieth birthday if he had not been snatched away by his tragically early death. [more...]

August 2010

Andriss Nelsons Signing Session

Signing session with Andriss Nelsons. [more...]

July 2010

Cesare Siepi † 5 July 2010

If there is a post-war singer who fully deserves the description “basso cantante” then it can only be Cesare Siepi. [more...]

July 2010

Carlos Kleiber 80th Anniversary

It was exactly eighty years ago, on 3 July 1930, that Carlos Kleiber first saw the light of the world in Berlin. Six years after his sudden death in 2004 his special standing among his fellow conductors continues to resonate. [more...]

May 2010

† Anneliese Rothenberger

The price for great popularity in the arts can sometimes be high. Even the greatest successes in “serious” art can be diminished in the eyes of the public by supposedly “low-brow” appearances in the popular media. [more...]

May 2010

Giulietta Simionato

Giulietta Simionato died on 5 May 2010, exactly one week before her 100th birthday. She was perhaps the most versatile mezzo-soprano of her generation anywhere in the world. [more...]

August 2009

Hildegard Behrens Obituary

She was at the very top of the wish-list of intendants, conductors, directors and the public at all the big opera houses when it came to high dramatic soprano roles in the 1980s and ’90s. [more...]

July 2009

Hermann Prey's Eightieth Birthday

It has been claimed that in the age of film and television popularity and seriousness in classical music, especially in opera, are mutually exclusive. The German baritone Hermann Prey was living refutation of this claim. [more...]

July 2009

Brigitte Fassbaender's Seventieth Birthday

That a pronounced allegiance to a particular region does not have to stand in the way of an international career is well illustrated by the career of Brigitte Fassbaender. [more...]

November 2008

In Memory of Christel Goltz

She was one of the truly great hochdramatisch sopranos of the early post-war period, even though her recordings unfortunately provide only an inadequate reflection of her Wagnerian repertory. As a result, Christel Goltz is remembered above all as an exceptionally vivid exponent of early 20th-century works. [more...]

August 2008

Wolfgang Sawallisch's Eighty-Fifth Birthday

It has been some fifteen years since his last operatic performances on the rostrum of the Bavarian State Orchestra, but his hometown of Munich is not the only place to have fond memories of him. The person of whom we speak is the conductor, Wolfgang Sawallisch... [more...]

April 2008

On the Centenary of Joseph Keilberth

It is almost inevitable that our picture of Joseph Keilberth is bound up with the sense of shock triggered by his sudden death following a heart attack during a performance of Tristan und Isolde at the Munich Nationaltheater on 20 July 1968. [more...]

April 2008

Herbert von Karajan's 100th Birthday

Whole conferences are being held to mark the centenary of Herbert von Karajan’s birth, while existing biographies and discographies, with their critical and uncritical approaches, are compared and relativized, allowing new standpoints to emerge. [more...]

February 2008

ORFEO 2 CD C 678 062 H

Midem Classical Award 2008 for Král a uhlír

A co-production with West German Radio, Orfeo’s recording of Antonín Dvorák’s Král a uhlír (King and Charcoal Burner) has received an award for the best operatic recording at this year’s Midem Classical Music Awards. [more...]

January 2008

ORFEO 2 CD C 438 982 H

Songs of praise

Although Max Bruch first saw the light of day in Cologne on the Feast of the Epiphany 170 years ago, he remains less familiar to today’s audiences as a “religious” composer than for his Violin Concerto in G minor, a piece that is in the repertory of all the great violinists. [more...]

August 2007

ORFEO 2 CD C 438 982 H

Dove sono i bei momenti: Gundula Janowitz at seventy

In Mozart in particular she was admired above all for the clarity of her timbre and her consistently lean-toned intonation that was free of all impurities. But it would be wrong to forget that Gundula Janowitz’s needle-sharp accuracy never impeded her emotional and dramatic involvement in a role. [more...]

June 2007

ORFEO 1 CD C 686 061 A


Arabella Steinbacher has been awarded the ECHO Classical Music Award as Young Artist of the Year in the 2007 instrumental category for her CD Violino Latino (C 686 061 A). [more...]

March 2007

ORFEO 1 CD C 138 851 A

Dmitry Sitkovetsky: Bach, Goldberg-Variations

It says much for our sense of continuity in the history of recorded sound that – notwithstanding all attempts to achieve authenticity and return to an elusive Urtext – it is not only the pioneering feats of the proponents of period performing practice that are reissued. [more...]

January 2007

ORFEO 1 CD C 138 851 A

On Grace Bumbry’s 70th Birthday on 4 January 2007

Grace Bumbry was still in her mid-twenties when she caused a sensation at the 1961 and 1962 Bayreuth Festivals as a “black Venus” in a performance notable above all for its dazzling vocalism and brilliant acting. [more...]

January 2007

ORFEO 1 CD C 138 851 A

Werner Hollweg † 1.1.2007

Writing to his father during preparations for the first performance of Idomeneo in Munich in the winter of 1780/81, Mozart described the difficulties that he had encountered in trying to create a proper sense of balance between his protagonist’s coloratura agility and an expressivity that would be effective onstage. [more...]

October 2006

Sena Jurinac

Although it is now twenty-four years since Sena Jurinac – an honorary member of the Vienna State Opera – bade farewell to the stage, memories of her great performances remain as fresh as ever. [more...]

September 2006

Astrid Varnay † 5 September 2006

The life and career of Astrid Varnay are the subject of both legend and anecdote. She was Bayreuth’s first post-war Brünnhilde, continuing to appear in the part, alongside various colleagues, for well over a decade. [more...]

August 2006

Léopold Simoneau † 24 August 2006

Some operatic roles can be approached in very different ways, even though the vocal difficulties associated with them remain the same. [more...]