Sarah Wegner, Soprano & Götz Payer, Piano . Zueignung , Lieder
“Without wanting to detract from the genius of Schubert or Schumann, we [Re: Sarah Wegener & Götz Payer] have a different answer: we would have loved to live at the turn from the 19th to the 20th century, ”fin de siècle”, amidst the transition from Naturalism to Modernism with the currents of Jugendstil and Impressionism.
What a time that must have been, when composers of the likes of Reger, Mahler, Schoenberg, Webern, Berg, Alma Mahler-Werfel, and Zemlinsky were in their prime, along with Richard Strauss, perhaps the most dazzling representative of his generation. Not to mention all the outstanding composers in neighboring European
We should not forget how important poetry was in those days. Many poets we now find unfamiliar – Otto Julius Bierbaum, Herrmann von Gilm, Detlev von Liliencron, Charles Mackay, Felix Dahn, and Richard Dehmel – were widely admired, and their texts were set to music by countless composers.
Take, for example, Richard Dehmel, whom we have just mentioned. Hundreds of musical settings of his poems exist, and his output inspired artists such as Karl Schmidt-Rottluff and Ernst Ludwig Kirchner to create entire cycles of paintings. The artsong catalogue of Richard Strauss contains over 200 lieder, with a number of Dehmel settings including “Befreit”………
These songs have been part of our lives for many years; among our personal favorites, we count lieder such as “Morgen!”, “Allerseelen” and “Zueignung”, which are justifiably popular and beloved.
It is a wonderful feeling to be able to grow and mature in tandem with music we have known and loved for a long time. If we were to write down our own personal experiences associated with Richard Strauss in a book, we would recount precious moments such as serving as a page-turner for Jessye Norman’s vocal recitals of Strauss lieder, or the first cautious approach to Strauss during voice studies, finally leading to the pleasure of performing his orchestral songs under the batons of Mariss Jansons and Vladimir Jurowski.( Excerpt from the booklet)
The soprano Sarah Wegener is on the best path to a great career (...). Sarah Wegener wants to, and can, sing everything. SWR, 2012
Sarah Wegener enthrals listeners with the richness and warmth of her voice and approaches every role in a chamber musical way, whether it be contemporary, classical or romantic repertoire. She regularly works with Philippe Herreweghe, Thomas Hengelbrock, Emilio Pomàrico, Tonu Kaljuste, Heinz Holliger, Frieder Bernius and Michael Hofstetter. Concerts and recitals have taken her to the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, RuhrTriennale, Rheingau Music Festival, Konzerthaus Berlin, Tonhalle Zurich, Wiener Konzerthaus, and to the Bozar Brussels.
Following her double bass studies, the British-German soprano studied singing with Prof. Jaeger-Böhm in Stuttgart and took part in masterclasses with Dame Gwyneth Jones and Renée Morloc.
Highly regarded as a performer of both classical and romantic repertoire, as well as contemporary compositions, Sarah Wegener recently sang Dvořak’s Stabat Mater and Haydn’s Sieben letzte Worte (Philippe Herreweghe, Orchestre des Champs- Élysées, Collegium Vocale Gent), Beethoven’s Funeral Cantata and Mass in C major (Hans- Christoph Rademann, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Gächinger Kantorei Stuttgart), and, in a sensational concert in Graz, Strauss‘ Vier letzte Lieder. In 2015 she made her debut with the NDR Symphony Orchestra under Thomas Hengelbrock performing Jörg Widmann’s Dunkle Saiten. The composer previously dedicated the solo part in his work Labyrinth III to her, which she premiered in 2014 to great acclaim at the Kölner Philharmonie with the WDR Symphony Orchestra under Emilio Pomàrico. Further performances of the piece took her to the Concertgebouw Amsterdam (Emilio Pomàrico, Radio Filharmonisch Orkest) and Casa da Música (Peter Rundel, Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto).
Sarah Wegener has formed a close artistic relationship with the composer Georg Friedrich Haas. In the 2015/16 season she made her debuts at the Royal Opera House London and Deutsche Oper Berlin in his new opera Morgen und Abend. The composer also dedicated the Lieder cycle ...wie stille brannte das Licht to the soprano, drawing on her unique ability to interpret microtonal music. She was nominated for “Singer of the Year” by Opernwelt magazine in 2011 for her interpretation of the main role of Nadja in his opera Bluthaus, which she performed at the Schwetzinger SWR Festival, Theater Bonn, Wiener Festwochen, Kampnagel Hamburg and Staatstheater Saarbrücken. She returned to Schwetzingen in 2013 with the opera Thomas and Dido for string quartet and soprano. She also sang Haas’s composition ATTHIS with the Ensemble musikFabrik at the Philharmonie Luxembourg and with musicians of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra as part of musica viva.
Her discography comprises recordings with Frieder Bernius of arias by Justin Heinrich Knecht (Carus), Korngold’s Die stumme Serenade (CPO) and Schubert’s Lazarus (Carus), as well as Rossini’s Petite Messe solennelle under Tonu Kaljuste (Carus) and a CD with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra under Heinz Holliger (Hänssler Classic).
Sarah Wegener will kick off the 2016/17 season with her first collaboration with Kent Nagano and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal: she will perform Mozart’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion and Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem in several concerts in Montréal. She will also sing Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on tour with the Basel Chamber Orchestra as well as Mozart’s Litaniae and Schubert’s Mass No. 5 with the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam. In celebration of the inauguration of the Hamburg Elbphilharmonie she will perform Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Philharmonisches Staatsorchester Hamburg and Kent Nagano. Recitals will also take her to the SWR RheinVokal Festival and the Halle Handel Festival.