Monday, 24 October 2011

Håkan Hagegård Papageno in Swedish

Håkan Hagegård sings Papageno in Swedish. How young and sweet he looks, but it's 1975 and he's only 30. This is from Ingmar Bergman's Magic Flute, an adaptation of Mozart made for Swedish TV. Maybe that's why it's "snowing" below.  It was screened in full on Saturday in Oxford as part of the Oxford Lieder Festival 2011. Hagegård was there to talk about the film, and also gave a keynote Masterclass. One of the important things about Oxford Lieder is the way experienced singers like Hagegård (and Wolfgang Holzmair, Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Felicity Lott, Dame Felicity Palmer and others) share their skills with young performers. There's nothing like learning from someone with real platform background. Masterclass participants are uniquely privileged. Plus, they get to listen in on all concerts, talks and events, and give their own recital on Wednesday 26th October.

I wish I'd been to the film and to the short course on singing in Swedish. Although German speakers can more or less make out what's being said, specific sounds are very different indeed. No hard gutterul "g"'s but the fluid, softer Swedish "g" that sounds like the English "y". Hence "Runebery" not "RuneberG". Probably many more useful tips. There was a Smörgåsbord too, hosted by the Swedish Embassy.

What a thrill it was for me was to be sitting near Hagegård during the 10pm concert on Saturday in New College ante chapel. Susana Andersson sang and Sholto Kynoch played a programme of Alfvén, Petersen-Berger and Stenhammer with 3 songs from Liszt to mark his 200th birthday. Also, another premiere of a new work, this time Albert Schnelzer's Requiem, which starts with a dramatic fugue on the piano. Piano-song mini-Requiems are very different from gargantuan, elaborate Requiems. Very good singing and playing - and this was Sholto's fifth recital. Such an enjoyable concert. More on Oxford Lieder HERE (Anna Larsson) and HERE and more to come.

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