Wiesbaden´s Kurpark becomes an opera stage

July 7th 2023: Wiesbaden Kurpark becomes Opera stage/Foto: Ansgar Klostermann

Bellini, Donizetti, Puccini and of course Verdi! The Orchestra e Coro Sinfonica di Milano under the direction of Claus Peter Flor, the Coro Sinfonica di Milano under the musical direction of Romano Gandolfi, the soprano Carmela Remigio and the tenor Davide Giusti made the evening an enjoyable experience. It was an atmospheric evening at the opera in a perfect setting, in the Kurpark in Wiesbaden.

Many famous composers were drawn to Milan. They not only found inspiration Continue reading “Wiesbaden´s Kurpark becomes an opera stage”

Berlioz, Lalo and Poulenc at the opening of the Rheingau Music Festival 2023

Rheingau Music Festival 2023: Opening concert in the basilica at Eberbach Monastery/ Chief conductor Alain Altinoglu and the hr Symphony Orchestra © Ansgar-Klostermann / Rheingau Musik Festival

With Hector Berlioz’s Ouverture ‘ Le Carnaval romain’, Edouard Lalo’s `Symphonie espagnole` and Francis Poulenc’s `Stabat Mater’, the Rheingau Music Festival started its 2023 season in the basilica of Eberbach Monastery in the Rheingau.

The hr-Sinfonieorchester, conducted by Alain Altinoglu, the MDR Rundfunkchor under the direction of Philipp Ahmann, the brilliant debut of the only 17-year-old Brazilian violin soloist Guido Sant’Anna and the powerful-voiced soprano Vannina Santoni delivered a true pleasure package for all senses.

The opening concert began with Hector Berlioz’s popular overture “Le carnaval romain.” In this lively concert piece, which lasted about ten minutes, Berlioz used themes from his opéra-comique “Benvenuto Cellini.” Fancy rhythms correspond here with motifs of the carnival and cheerfully dancing people. Different tempi and dynamics convey many moods.

Virtuoso energetic playing in a red silk shirt

Édouard Lalo’s “Symphonie espagnole (op. 21, D minor),” which lasted about half an hour, conveyed special intensity. The 17-year-old Brazilian Guido Sant’Anna, who won the renowned International Fritz Kreisler Violin Competition in Vienna in September 2022, was engaged as solo violinist. This year he received a scholarship to study at the Kronberg Academy. With his virtuosic and energetic playing, wearing a striking red silk shirt, he immediately captured the audience completely. The climax was the fourth movement: the initial brass notes were followed by an almost intimate playing of the solo violin.

Chief conductor Alain Altinoglu ensured a successful dialogue between the hr-Sinfonieorchester and Guido Sant’Anna during the “Symphonie espagnole”. The audience, extremly clapped for a solo encore: the second movement “Dance roustique” from the Sonata No. 5 in G major (“The Dawn”) by the Belgian violinist, composer and conductor Eugène Ysaÿe.

Intensity and power of a beautiful voice

After the intermission, Francis Poulenc’s “Stabat Mater” was played, a religious work that fits perfectly into the basilica of Eberbach Monastery. The intercessory prayer is about the mother of Jesus in her pain for the crucified Jesus. There are numerous settings of the medieval poem, for example by Charpentier, Haydn, Rossini, Schubert, Verdi or Vivaldi.  In the work, which is divided into twelve sequences, the choir takes center stage. The MDR Rundfunkchor, conducted by Philipp Ahmann, conveyed the prayer with high intensity.

The French soprano Vannina Santoni convinced with her special charisma and the intensity and power of her beautiful voice.

The French soprano Vannina Santoni convinced in the sequences “Vidit suum dulcem Natum”, “Fac, ut portem Christi mortem” and the final “Quando corpus morietur” with her special charisma and the intensity and power of her beautiful voice.

Former German President Joachim Gauck asked in his ceremonial address. “Are we allowed to rejoice in times like these? His answer: “Of course, what faith enables me to do, music also enables me to do. ” But the power and beauty of music is not an act of escaping the world. Art cannot undo human abysses, but it has the power to transform, to bring about changes and unexpected things.

Johanna Wenninger-Muhr

The hr Symphony Orchestra and the MDR Radio Choir
Founded in 1929, the hr-Sinfonieorchester is famous for its dynamic playing culture and musical excellence. Since 2021, it has been led by 48-year-old Paris-born principal conductor Alain Altinoglu. The MDR Rundfunkchor, since January 2020 conducted by Philipp Ahmann, which celebrates its 100th anniversary in the 2023/24 season, is the largest radio choir of the public broadcaster.

The Rheingau Music Festival 2022 ended with Anton Bruckner´s Symphony Nr. 8

The Bamberg Symphony Orchestra has been inspiring audiences around the world with its characteristically dark, round and radiant sound since 1946. With well over 7,300 concerts in more than 500 cities and 63 countries, they have become the cultural ambassador for all of Germany as the Bavarian State Philharmonic./Photo: Ansgar Klostermann

With Anton Bruckner’s Symphony No. 8 in C minor, the 2nd version, played by the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach, the Rheingau Music Festival 2022 came to an end on September 3 in the Basilica of the Eberbach Monastery in the Rheingau. Continue reading “The Rheingau Music Festival 2022 ended with Anton Bruckner´s Symphony Nr. 8”

The Kingfisher Feather – A Visit to the Cape Verde Islands

Africa´s islands in the Atlantic/Foto: Doris Minke


By Suse Rabel-Harbering

The discovery of the Cape Verde Islands in 1462 is attributed to Henry the Navigator, who was sailing on behalf of the Portuguese crown. Before the discovery, the islands were deserted. Thanks to its favorable location, the archipelago became a center of international trade relations, being situated in the middle of the three continents of Africa, Asia and America. Apart from sugar cane, rum and salt, the main commodities traded were slaves. Since the middle of the 16th century, Portugal had reserved the exclusive right to market slaves on the West African coast.

Pillory, Cidade Velha, Santiago/Photo: Doris Minke

In its heyday, it was called Ribeira Grande and was the capital of the Cape Verde Islands. Already in 1533 it received the city rights. After that, it Continue reading “The Kingfisher Feather – A Visit to the Cape Verde Islands”

“Cohesion” – The guiding principle of Rheingau Music Festival 2022

Cuvéehof Schloss Johannisberg/Foto RMF

The 35th festival summer from 25.6. to 3.9.2022 will take place under the guiding principle “Cohesion”. It is intended to bring the music back to the audience in full radiance and in the usual atmospheric manner.

Violinist Julia Fischer and pianist Jan Lisiecki will be featured as focus artists in several concerts of the Rheingau Music Festival at once. Whether in large orchestra concerts, or for the first time together on stage as a duo – Julia Fischer and Jan Lisiecki will bring their deep musical devotion and virtuoso joy of playing to the Rheingau. Continue reading ““Cohesion” – The guiding principle of Rheingau Music Festival 2022″

Bomsori Kim and Camerata Salzburg in the Eberbach Cloisters

Bomsori Kim, violin, accompanied by the Camerata Salzburg plays Mozart (Concerto for Violin and Orchestra No. 3 in G major KV 216 Symphony No. 40 in G minor KV 550) in the cloister of Eberbach Monastery/Photo: Ansgar Klostermann


Bomsori Kim is firmly convinced that Mozart himself was an outstanding violin virtuoso. The concerts would tell a lot about the master violinist Mozart, says the Korean, who, like the Viennese classicist himself, began playing the violin in early childhood. She is now one of the most sought-after young stars on the international concert podiums.

In 2019, she celebrated her debut in the Eberbach Cloister and was Continue reading “Bomsori Kim and Camerata Salzburg in the Eberbach Cloisters”

Music for beer parlors in the Basilica of the Eberbach Monastery

The Alehouse Session – the basilica of the Eberbach Monastery an unusual location for the show/Photo: Ansgar Klostermann

The performance of “The Alehouse Session” at Eberbach Monastery should have taken place in the cloister of the monastery, weather permitting. But rain had prevented that and so it took place in the basilica. Somewhat unusual for the place,  that percussion and drum perfectionist Helge Andreas Norbakken at  first and as a start of the show took a sip from his beer bottle.

But thank goodness Continue reading “Music for beer parlors in the Basilica of the Eberbach Monastery”

The Rheingau Music Festival 2021 has started

2nd opening concert of the Rheingau Music Festival 2021 on June 27, 2021/Photo: Ansgar Klostermann


Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy’s concert overture “The Hebrides”, his Reformation Symphony No. 5, and Jean Sibelius Concerto for Violin and Orchestra were on the program of the two opening concerts of the Rheingau Music Festival 2021. At the first sounds of the concert overture “The Hebrides”, my thoughts wander quite spontaneously to the Scottish, green-brown, romantic, melancholy island landscape of the Hebrides. It is June 27, 2021, but the place of action is the Rheingau, the medieval basilica of Eberbach Abbey near Eltville on the Rhine, which Bernard of Clairvaux founded almost 900 years ago. Continue reading “The Rheingau Music Festival 2021 has started”

Enjoy the digital Rheingau Music Festival 2020 at home

The Eberbach Monastery complex/Photo: RMF

The prelude to the digital concert series 2020 is the concert “All about Mozart” at Eberbach Monastery.  A rousing program unfolds in the Eberbach Monastery complex, showing the great genius of Viennese Classicism in all its facets. The soloists are Ana de la Vega, Bomsori Kim, Nils Mönkemeyer and Sarah Willis, the Cuban band Sarahbanda and the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn under the direction of Benjamin Reiners.

For the second concert, the US-American organist Cameron Carpenter Continue reading “Enjoy the digital Rheingau Music Festival 2020 at home”

The Ischgl Protocol – A party location infects half of Europe

The party is over/Foto: blog.tirol

The winter sports village Ischgl in Tyrol was known for its parties. Then it became the hub of the corona virus – out of unscrupulousness and greed. A team of reporters reconstructed the case.

From: Der Spiegel  on 27.03.2020

“Home of Madness”

By Jürgen Dahlkamp, Hauke Goos, Roman Höfner, Felix Hutt, Gunther Latsch, Timo Lehmann, Walter Mayr, Max Polonyi and Jonathan Stock.

Ischgl in Tyrol is a mountain village in the Paznaun valley at an altitude of 1377 metres. It has a parish church and a chapel for the dead, about 1600 inhabitants and 11,800 guest beds, 239 kilometres of ski slopes, 1000 snow cannons, 45 lifts. There is the disco “Kuhstall” and the après ski bar “Kitzloch”. In Ischgl you can ski and party all night long at Jägermeister-Red Bull. Ischgl is a brand like Ibiza, Sylt or the Oktoberfest. Millions of tourists meet here every year. They come from Dublin, Reykjavík, Copenhagen and Helsinki, from Bavaria, Hamburg and Neuss. The tourism industry in the valley has a turnover of 250 million euros a year. Continue reading “The Ischgl Protocol – A party location infects half of Europe”