"Paulus", oratorio for Soloists, Choir and Orchestra
Kantorei der Schlosskirche Weilburg
„Kantorei of the Weilburg Schlosskirche“ enjoys a long traditon in the
sphere fo church music. The choirs sings at all the festive occasions
during the course of the church year, as well as giving several
large-scale concerts annually in cooperation with highly acclaimed
soloists and the orchestras “Capella Weilburgensis” and “L’apra festante
München”. Its programms embrace the major oratorio literature from
Claudio Monteverdi, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Georg Frideric Handel to
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Felix Mendelssohn
Bartholdy, Johannes Brahms and Anton Bruckner. Reactions from the press
praise the Kantorei’s interpretation as being of high, or indeed
On 13 November 2005, on the occasion of the memorial festivities to
honour the 100th anniversary of the death of I.K.H. Adolf Großherzog von
Luxemburg und Herzog von Nassau, the “Requiem” by Antonin Dvorak was
performed and recorded.
About the Interpretation of the Oratorio “Paulus” op. 36 composed by
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in 2009, there wrote the critic Drew Minter
in “The Met Opera Guide”: “This performance by Doris Hagel and the
orchestra and chorus of the Schlosskirche Weilburg is a model of clarity
and transparency, not easily achieved in Mendelssohn’s work, as a
comparison with several other recordings revealed.” (Drew Minter).
Artistic director Doris Hagel
The German soprano, conductor and organist, Doris Hagel trained, as a church musician at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst in Frankfurt am Main. Alongside her work as Kantorin at the Christuskirche in Mainz, she also studied historical performance practice at the Mozarteum in Salzburg under Nikolaus Harnoncourt and musicology, philosophy and the history of art at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz.
Doris Hagel has held the position of Kantorin at the Weilburger Schlosskirche since 1986. In 1992, she initiated together with the lutenist Lutz Kirchhof the concert series "Alte Musik im Weilburger Schloss". Many highprofile artists such as Bob van Asperen, Ton Koopman and many more have taken part in the chamber music concerts and Mieke van der Sluis, Markus Schäfer, Paul Elliott and Klaus Mertens all number amongst the musical partners. Over a period of more than 10 years, performances have been given of the great works of the oratorio literature using historic instruments. The ensemble Capella Weilburgensis meets to prepare these great performances in Weilburg, with leading experts and specialists in the performance on early instruments taking part. The musicians come from throughout Germany and from neighbouring countries.
Doris Hagel has been studying the voice with Ralph Daniel Mangelsdorff, a pupil of Richard Levitt (Schola Cantorum Basiliensis) for the past five years. She is active as a conductor, singer, organist and musicologist in addition to her work as Artistic Director and organizer of the concert series "Alte Musik im Weilburger Schloss".
Mechthild Bach - soprano
Britta Schwarz – mezzo- soprano
Markus Schäfer – Tenor
Manfred Bittner - Bass
The well-known singer Britta Schwarz was born in Neubrandenburg (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania).
She first studied singing with Christa Niko at the Hochschule für Musik in Berlin. She then went on to study with Prof. Ch.Elßner and Prof. H.Zabel in Dresden, after which she was engaged for four years to sing at the Studio of the Staatsoper Dresden (Semperoper).
Britta Schwarz has won several prizes at different international competitions, so in Karlovy Vary (Czech Republic), in Zwickau (Germany) and in London (Great Britain).
She has very succsessfully exploited her extensive repertoire in numerous concerts with renowned orchestras such as the Staatskapelle Dresden, the Dresden Philharmonia, the Berlin Radio Orchestra, also the Berlin Philharmonia, the Concertgebouw orchestra Amsterdam, Stuttgart Philharmonic Orchestra and the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields.
An important factor in these triumphs has been her talent for working with celebrated conductors like Marek Janowski, Milan Horvat, Kent Nagano, Michel Plasson, Philippe Herreweghe, Helmut Rilling, Bruno Weil, Peter Schreier, Gustavo Dudamel and Jörg-Peter Weigle. Britta Schwarz has a marked preference for Romantic Lieder, a predilection with the Dresden pianist Camillo Radicke.
Concerts and lieder recitals have taken Britta Schwarz to most Europien countries, as well as to Canada, Japan and the USA. The international festivals she has participated in include the Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, the Holland Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, the Dresden Music Festival, Blyth Valley Chamber Music, the MDR Summer Festival and the Passau European Weeks.
Britta Schwarz has devoted herself to Baroque music very intensively for many years. As a result she has sung with famous conductors and Baroque ensembles, including Gustav Leonhardt, Reinhard Göbel, Marcus Creed, Bruno Weill, Ludger Remy, Hans-Christoph Rademann; and the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Musica Antiqua Köln, La statione Frankfurt, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the RIAS Kammerchor and Cantus Cölln.
Together with the lutenist Stefan Maass, Britta Schwarz has also worked up numerous programmes for solo voice and basso continuo.
Her repertoire is to be heard in several radio productions and on CD recordings on labels such CPO, Raumklang and Kammerton.
In 2001 was published her first Solo-CD with baroque cantatas for voice and basso continuo at the label berlin classics.
For several years Britta Schwarz has teached at the Hochschule für Musik “Carl Maria von Weber“ in Dresden. Among others she conducts the course for oratorio interpretation.
In April 2010 she was appointed visiting professor of classical singing at Hochschule für Musik „Hanns Eisler“ in Berlin, starting October 2015 she will be honorary professor at the same institution.
Bass-baritone Manfred Bittner was born in Weißenburg/Bavaria and received his basic musical education at the Regensburger Domspatzen boys´ choir. He studied in Munich in the class of Wolfgang Brendel and at the same time was awarded a scholarship from the Deutsche Bühnenverein for the Bayerische Theaterakademie at Prinzregententheater and the Opera School Munich. Subsequently Manfred Bittner completed continuative studies in Stuttgart and attended master classes, amongst others by Andreas Schmidt and Thomas Quasthoff. Momentarily he is being coached by Stefan Haselhoff.
Manfred Bittner´s comprehensive and widely varied repertory draws a bow from medieval music as well as operas and oratories from the Baroque, Vienna Classicism and Romanticism eras to debut performances of contemporary music. Numerous radio and CD recordings as well as concert tours of Europe, Australia, Japan and Southeast Asia round off his artistic work.
The bass-baritone regularly works together with renowned ensembles like L’arpa festante, the Freiburger Barockconsort, the Balthasar-Neumann-Ensemble, Concerto Köln and the Hamburg Camerata, with conductors like Winfried Toll, Stephen Stubbs, Frieder Bernius, Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs and Thomas Hengelbrock as well as stage directors like Barry Kosky and Claus Guth.
Manfred Bittner amongst others gave guest performances at the Biennale für Neue Musik München, the Wiener Festwochen, the Berliner Festspiele / Festwochen and the Europäische Musikfest Stuttgart. Lastly he sang Masetto in Mozart´s Don Giovanni at the Feldkirch Festival 2006 under the direction of Thomas Hengelbrock.
Markus Schäfer studied singing and church music in Karlsruhe and in Düsseldorf. His first contracts were received from the Zürich Opernhaus (1985-86) and from the Rheinoper Düsseldorf (1987-93).
As a guest he appeared at the Salzburg Festival, the Rossini Festival (Pesaro), the Teatro La Fenice (Venice), the Liceu (Barcelona), the Opéra de Lyon, the Bayerische Staatsper (München), the Semperoper (Dresden) and the Staatsoper Unter den Linden (Berlin). Schäfer’s repertoire focuses on Mozart’s great tenor rôles and Barque operas by Monteverdi, Scarlatti, Handel, Hasse and more. He successfully performed works by Mozart and Haydn, and Bach’s “Matthäus-Passion” under Nikolaus Hanoncourt at the Wiener Musikverein. In Bach’s Cantatas Markus Schäfer is much in demand as an Evangelist. He also sung at the Ansbacher Bach Festival. Bach’s Christmas Oratorio with the Windsbacher Choir (directed by Karl Friedrich Beringer) was telecast by the Bayerischer Rundfunk.
As a renowned Lieder interpreter, Markus Schäfer performed at the Schubertiade Schwarzenberg, at the Hugo-Wolf-Gesellschaft in Stuttgart and at the New York Lincoln Center (Songs by Schubert, Schumann and Wolf). The TELDEC recording of “Matthäus-Passion” under Harnoncourt (with Schäfer as arias singing was awarded a Grammy; Dittersdorf’s Oratorio “Hiob” for CPO label conducted by Hermann Max received the Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenritik.
Markus Schäfer appears currently in both tenor roles of Don Ottavio (“Don Giovanni”) and Oronte (“Alcina”) at the Norvegian Bergen Festival. He sings Andres („Wozzek“) at the Komische Oper Berlin, Alfred („Die Fledermaus“) at Netherland’s Nationale Reisoperaand and Belmonte („Die Entfürung aus dem Serail“) in Bremen.
Further engagements as Evangelist (“Johannes-Passion”) will take place with the Münchner Philharmoniker conducted by Franz Brüggen, with the RIAS Kammerchor and at Halle’s Handel Festival. At the 2005 Ansbach-Festival he performed various Bach Cantatas and at the Leipzig Gewandhaus he will sing for the first time Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s “Messiah” under Reinhard Göbel. At the Musikverein he will be heard as Monsieur Vogelsang (Mozart’s “Schauspieldirektor”) and at the Styriarte (Graz) in Haydn’s “Orlando Paladino” (including its CD recording), both conducted by Harnoncourt.
The recently produced Naxos recording of Bach’s Mass in B minor with the Kölner Kammerorchester (conducted by Helmut Müller-Brühl) received entusiastic reviews. For the same label, Schäfer recorded Bach’s solo Cantatas and a further “Mattäus-Passion”. Composer Wolfgang Rihm’s “Mörike-Zyklus” (dedicated to Markus Schäfer) has been issued on CD. Further recordings will feature songs by Siegfried Karg-Elert (with pianist Ernst Breidenbach). Johann Hovens Heine song cyle “Die Heimkehr” (on 3 CDs) and Schubert’s settings of Schlegel’s “Die Abendröte” (both with pianist Christian de Bruyn) shows Markus Schäfer’s in non-mainstream programs. He participated in the Schubertiaden Schwarzenberg with Opera scenes of forgotten Schubert works;
Recent performings: Gewandhaus Leipzig MDR orchestra and choir with neu Chef conductoe Jun Märkl Haydn: “Jahreszeiten”; Sharoun Ensemble Henze Kammermusik 58 in Salzburg “Osterklang” Festival; Theater an der Wien performing Haydn operas “=rlando palladino” and “Il mono della luna” under Harnoncourt with concentus Musikus Wien; Bachfestival Ansbach 2009 Johannes Passion; Madrid Paul Goodwin Matthäus Passion; 9. Symphony with Anima aeterna/Immerseel in Paris Brussels, Aix en Provence and more as well as tue neu recording; as well as neu releases from Händel: Jephta (Frauenkirche Dresden/Carus) as will as Haydn missa Cellensis (Immerseel/Anima aeterna), he sang Tamino/Zauberföte and Ferrando/Cosi in Staatsoper of Cologne and Dresden and Festivals in Augsburg; on tue Festivals in Vézelay und Ambronay as well as in Luxemburg and Versailles he was to bei listened to with the choir: „Arsys Bourgogne“ (Pierre Cao) („Messias“ von Händel and „Jahreszeiten“ by Haydn). With the Berlin philharmonic orchestra he is to bei seen with Harnoncourt in the new „Digital concert hall“ performing Haydn Opera Orlando; Festival in Knechtsteden: performing Graun oratory: „kommt her und schaut“ also new releases with Leonhardt/Sony recordings with „Angenehmes Widerau“ and in Esterhazy: Haydn „Li ritorno di Tobia“ and many others.
Mechthild Bach (Soprano)
Born: Limburg on Lahn, Hesse State, West Germany
The German soprano, Mechthild Bach, studied at the Frankfurt Music Conservatory with Prof. Elsa Cavelti. Further studies led her to Prof. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Prof. L. Sarti and Prof. V. Rosza. From 1986 on she received a grant from the Foundation for Studies of the German People (Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes).
Opera engagements led Mechthild Bach to various German stages (among others, Heidelberg, Düsseldorf, Hamburg, Munich). As a concert singer she regularly cooperates with renowned artists and ensembles from all of Europe, e.g. Reinhard Goebel, Michael Schneider, Frieder Bernius, Marcus Creed, Peter Neumann, M. Honeck, Sigiswald Kuijken, Ton Koopman, Helmuth Rilling, Konrad Junghänel and Ralf Otto. She has performed at the Halle Händel Festival, the Dresden Days of Music, the Stuttgart Bach Academy, in the Berlin and Cologne Philharmonies, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw as well as in important musical centers in all of Europe. Numerous radio and CD recordings document the artistic work of the singer. In June 2006 she will participate in a performance of Admeto at the Händel-Festspiele in Halle an der Saale.
Mechthild Bach is also a singing teacher at Trossingen Conservatory.