“Hunter’s Bride” is a film opera based on the romantic opera “Der Freischütz” by Carl Maria von Weber. Dreams and hopes of young people are told in this exquisite fairy tale. Max and Kaspar, both hunters, fight side by side in the Napoleonic Wars, as well as each other to conquer Agathe’s love. European cultural history becomes visible in an opulent historical panorama and one of the most beautiful pieces of music. The pictures of Norwegian director of photography Harald Gunnar Paalgard give a spatial dimension to the unique sound of the London Symphony Orchestra, which recorded in the legendary Abbey Road Studios. Performed by renowned opera soloists – Juliane Banse, Michael König, Michael Volle, René Pape – the film opera was a huge public success in European theatres. Filmed on 35mm film on original locations in Germany, the film opera dramatises the enchanted tale with stunning images, and surround-sound revives the music for the eyes and the ears of the audience.
Der Freischutz is one of the great milestones in the history of opera. The resounding success of its premiere in 1821 practically made it a manifesto for German Romantic opera, one that would become a significant formative influence on Wagner. Although it has its roots in the Singspiel tradition exemplified by Mozart's Die Zauberflote, Der Freischutz cut new ground with its potent mixture of supernatural elements, dreams, folk melodies, evocations of nature, and symphonic tone painting.
Carl Maria von Weber's opera "Der Freischütz" met with instant success on its premiere in Berlin 1821, rapidly spreading throughout Europe. Audiences identified readily with the folk melodies and hunting character of its Bohemian setting. The story tells of Max's struggle to win Agathe in marriage. The desperation which leads him to trade with the devil in order to regain his lost marksman's skills, finds resolution when fate intervenes to prevent the fatal "free bullet" from striking Agathe, saved by the sacred roses in her bridal coronet. In this Achim Freyer production from the Wüttemberg State Opera, the Huntsman's role is taken by Toni Krämer, with Caterina Ligendza as Agathe, Raili Viljakainen as Ännchen and Wolfram Raub as Samiel, under the bariton of American conductor Dennis Russell Davies.
Axel Köhler's production of "Der Freischütz" at the Dresden State Opera was described by Die Presse as 'a minor miracle in Dresden'. In the words of the Salzburger Nachrichten, Köhler 'scored a bullseye' with his sombre and satanic interpretation of Weber's Romantic opera about love, temptation, souls sold to the Devil, obsession and faith. According to the Financial Times, Christian Thielemann and the Dresden Staatskapelle conjured up a sense of 'mortal terror from the orchestra pit. […] Thielemann is in command of every detail. That makes for utterly gripping listening'.
Conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler already enjoyed a worldwide legendary standing during his lifetime - he was considered the German conductor and performances were greeted with rapturous applause. Today, more than 50 years after his death, Wilhelm Furtwangler is still an icon and his work has become an integral part ofthe music scene.
The overtures of early Romantic composer Carl Maria von Weber are among his most appealing works, and their colorful orchestration, vivid scene-painting, and abundant tunefulness have made them favorite concert openers, long after most of their associated operas dropped out of the repertoire. This generous bybrid SACD by the Tapiola Sinfonietta, conducted by Jean-Jacques Kantorow, presents the most popular overtures Oberon, Euryanthe, and Der Freischütz with seven less famous but equally engaging pieces that fill out the program.