A soprano’s perspective: Marlis Petersen’s favourites

  • Charles Ives
    Symphony No. 4 for piano, orchestra and mixed choir (37 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Ingo Metzmacher

    Pierre-Laurent Aimard Piano, Ernst Senff Chor, Steffen Schubert Chorus Master

  • free

    Jean-Philippe Rameau
    Season’s Whims (63 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Emmanuelle Haïm

    Vivienne Newport Choreographer

  • Igor Stravinsky
    Pulcinella, ballet (45 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Stella Doufexis Mezzo-Soprano, Burkhard Ulrich Tenor, Ildebrando d’Arcangelo Bass

  • free

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 20 in D minor, K. 466 (36 min.)

    Staatskapelle Berlin, Daniel Barenboim Conductor and Piano

  • George Crumb
    Ancient Voices of Children, A Cycle of Songs on Texts by Federico García Lorca for mezzo-soprano, boy soprano and chamber ensemble (28 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Zubin Mehta

    Marlis Petersen Soprano

  • free

    Alexander Scriabin
    Le Poème de l’extase, op. 54 (25 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Kirill Petrenko

  • Henri Dutilleux
    Trois Strophes sur le nom de Sacher for solo cello (12 min.)

    Members of the Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Solène Kermarrec Cello

  • Henri Duparc
    Four Songs (19 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Antonio Pappano

    Véronique Gens soprano

  • Ludwig van Beethoven
    Symphony No. 9 in D minor, op. 125 “Choral” (65 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Herbert von Karajan

    Christa Ludwig Contralto, Gundula Janowitz Soprano, Walter Berry Bass, Jess Thomas Tenor, Walter Hagen-Groll Chorus Master, Chorus of Deutsche Oper Berlin

  • Giuseppe Verdi
    Messa da Requiem (100 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Teodor Currentzis

    Zarina Abaeva soprano, Annalisa Stroppa mezzo-soprano, Sergej Romanowsky tenor, Evgeny Stavinsky bass, musicAeterna Choir

The soprano Marlis Petersen was the first female singer to become artist in residence of the Berliner Philharmoniker. At Kirill Petrenko’s inaugural concert as chief conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker, the singer took on the soprano roles in Alban Berg’s Lulu suite and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony for the opening concert of the 2019/2020 season. Other projects planned included Petersen in the leading role in Beethoven’s opera Fidelio which was to be staged at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival and performed in concert at the Philharmonie. This could not happen because of the concert ban during the corona crisis. All the better then, that the singer has compiled a playlist of favourite works and performances from the Digital Concert Hall archives.

Marlis Petersen is one of the most versatile and successful opera, concert and lieder singers of our time, with acclaimed performances in stage works by Mozart and Richard Strauss, in Italian bel canto and French opera to her credit. In addition, the artist is particularly dedicated to modern and contemporary music. The title heroine in Alban Berg’s Lulu, which she has sung at major opera houses – including Vienna, New York and Chicago – has become one of her signature roles. She described the production of Lulu with Kirill Petrenko at Bayerische Staatsoper as a highlight in her performances of work. In Munich, Petersen also appeared on stage in new productions as Salome and in the female lead role of Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Die tote Stadt under the direction of Kirill Petrenko.

The playlist reflects the singer’s wide repertoire and ranges from an Education programme dance project to the music of Rameau, to a piece by Henri Dutilleux for solo cello, performed by Philharmoniker cellist Solène Kermarrec at a Late Night concert. In her selection, Petersen also pays tribute to some esteemed colleagues: Joyce DiDonato can be heard in Richard Strauss, and Véronique Gens in wonderful, far too little-known songs by Henri Duparc. A particularly poignant selection is Stella Doufexis in Stravinsky’s Pulcinella: the mezzo-soprano died in 2015 at the age of just 47. 

Marlis Petersen also sang Lulu at Hamburg State Opera under the direction of Ingo Metzmacher. Metzmacher can be heard in the playlist conducting Charles Ives Fourth Symphony; a work that intrigues Petersen as a musical portrait of a big city and because of its bitonal passages. The last piece Kirill Petrenko performed with the Berliner Philharmoniker before his election as chief conductor was Alexander Scriabin’s Le Poème de l'extase. Marlis Petersen has included this sonorous performance in her selection as well as her own debut with the orchestra: in January 2014, she performed George Crumb’s vocal cycle Ancient Voices of Children, which impresses the listener with its vocal acrobatics, unusual instruments and a tone occasionally reminiscent of Gustav Mahler.