A soprano’s perspective: Anna Prohaska’s favourites

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
    St Matthew Passion, BWV 244: Part 1 (78 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Mark Padmore Tenor (Evangelist), Christian Gerhaher Bass (Jesus), Camilla Tilling Soprano, Magdalena Kožená Mezzo-Soprano (Musician), Topi Lehtipuu Tenor (Arias), Thomas Quasthoff Baritone (Arias), Rundfunkchor Berlin, Simon Halsey Chorus Master, Knaben des Staats- und Domchors Berlin, Kai-Uwe Jirka Chorus Master, Peter Sellars Staging

  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    “Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio” – “Ah conte, partite”, aria for soprano and orchestra, K. 418 (8 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Claudio Abbado

    Anna Prohaska Soprano

  • Richard Wagner
    Die Walküre (The Valkyrie): Act 1 (concert performance) (64 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Christian Elsner Tenor (Siegmund), Mikhail Petrenko Bass (Hunding), Terje Stensvold Bass (Wotan), Eva-Maria Westbroek Soprano (Sieglinde), Evelyn Herlitzius Soprano (Brünnhilde), Lilli Paasikivi Mezzo-Soprano (Fricka), Susan Foster Soprano (Helmwige), Joanna Porackova Soprano (Gerhilde), Anna Gabler Soprano (Ortlinde), Julianne Young Mezzo-Soprano (Waltraute), Heike Grötzinger Mezzo-Soprano (Siegrune), Anette Bod Mezzo-Soprano (Rossweisse), Eva Vogel Mezzo-Soprano (Grimgerde), Andrea Baker Mezzo-Soprano (Schwertleite)

  • Claude Debussy
    Pelléas et Mélisande (semi-staged performance) (174 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Magdalena Kožená Mezzo-Soprano (Mélisande), Bernarda Fink Contralto (Geneviève), Christian Gerhaher Baritone (Pelléas), Franz-Josef Selig Bass Baritone (Arkel), Gerald Finley Bass Baritone (Golaud), Elias Mädler Boy Soprano, Soloist of the Tölzer Knabenchor (Yniold), Jörg Schneider Bass (Doctor), Sascha Glintenkamp Bass-Baritone (Shepherd), Rundfunkchor Berlin, Nicolas Fink Chorus Master, Peter Sellars Staging

  • Gustav Mahler
    Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (19 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Christian Gerhaher Baritone

  • Béla Bartók
    Bluebeard’s Castle, Sz 48 (concert performance) (68 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Sir Simon Rattle

    Rinat Shaham Mezzo-Soprano, Gábor Bretz Bass, Ulrich Noethen Speaker

  • Sergei Prokofiev
    Romeo and Juliet, ballet, op. 64: The Montagues and the Capulets · Dance of the five couples · Masks · Dance of the maids with lilies · Death of Tybalt (19 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Claudio Abbado

  • Alban Berg
    Concerto for Violin and Orchestra “To the Memory of an Angel” (31 min.)

    Berliner Philharmoniker

    Claudio Abbado

    Isabelle Faust Violin

The soprano Anna Prohaska most recently appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker as part of their     digital Easter Festival. During the crisis caused by the corona epidemic – in which artists also have to stay mainly at home – she compiled the playlist presented here for the Digital Concert Hall.

The singer, who attracted international attention at an early age, is now one of the most successful opera and concert singers of her generation. Her themed lieder recitals also attract great attention. She appeared as a guest at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin in 2003, and became a permanent member of the ensemble in 2006. There, she regularly appeared in core Mozart roles such as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte and Susanna in Le nozze die Figaro. Other focal points are Baroque opera and contemporary music: Prohaska has appeared on stage at the Staatsoper in the recent past, both as Monteverdi’s Poppea and in a world premiere by Beat Furrer. The artist also makes guest appearances at the major opera houses in Milan, London and Munich and at the festivals in Salzburg, Aix-en-Provence and Baden-Baden.

Anna Prohaska has appeared with the Berliner Philharmoniker on numerous occasions since 2008. She has performed with three of the orchestra’s chief conductors since she took on the role of Adele in Fledermaus and Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier at Bayerische Staatsoper under the baton of Kirill Petrenko. In Claudio Abbado’s later years, she was one of his preferred vocal soloists. In this selection, the Mozart aria “Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio” comes from her work together with the Italian conductor. The final coloratura section is preceded by a wistful and elegant duet between the singing voice and an oboe. Abbado conducted a captivatingly elegant and tonally transparent performance of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet at the European Concert in St. Petersburg which is also included here.

In a 2008 concert with the Berliner Philharmoniker conducted by Sir Simon Rattle, Prohaska sang orchestral songs by Anton Webern. Since then, further appearances under the direction of Sir Simon include as Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier in Baden-Baden, and as Amanda in Ligeti’s Le grand macabre. In this selection there are a number of music drama works with the former chief conductor: Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, directed by Peter Sellars, whose performance is considered one of the highlights in recent Philharmoniker history, Wagner’s Walküre, Bela Bartók’s Bluebeard’s Castle and Debussy’s opera Pelléas et Mélisande – also directed by Peter Sellars – a work of epochal significance in musical Modernism. Prohaska has since included the role of Mélisande in her repertoire.

At the beginning of the playlist, the soprano, who herself comes from an Anglo-Saxon-Austrian family, has chosen music from the English Baroque period with works by Purcell and Tallis. The final selection is Alban Berg’s Violin Concerto, subtitled “To the memory of an angel”. The performance, again conducted by Abbado, with Isabelle Faust as soloist, demonstrates the composer’s ability to write emotionally gripping and moving music even when employing the twelve-tone technique.