This is the story of Sylvia, who looses her stepchildren on a shopping trip in Poland. For fear of loosing her husband's love, too, she is unable to tell him what has happened and returns home, pretending anything is fine. When realising the missing of his children, the father starts a desperate retrieval. He is ready to give up anything in order to find them.
A high-flying corporate bigwig meets his match in Christoph Hochhäusler's tense drama set in the upper echelons of Frankfurt’s banking sector. It’s a malevolent world of high finance and corporate malfeasance, in which dour men sit around gargantuan tables in penthouse boardrooms plotting the takeover of rival firms. The dourest of all is the reptilian Roland Cordes (Robert Hunger-Büehler) who, at the outset of the film, seems to have lost some of his appetite for conquest.
The sixth volume in Matthias Goerne's survey of Franz Schubert's lieder includes the posthumous collection Schwanengesang, which contains some of the loveliest and most disturbing songs Schubert ever composed. One problem in performing this ambiguous work of Schubert's last year lies in its alternation of sweet, lyrical songs with those of a much darker and even frightening character, and it's left to the singer and the pianist to balance the moods and to make the contrasts of expression as subtle as possible. Goerne and his accompanist Christoph Eschenbach meet the challenge by carefully shading the songs with a tempering of expressions that admits sorrow in the midst of joy and hope in the depths of despair.
The listener may be forgiven for not knowing that any Debussy "Edgar Allan Poe Operas" existed, for neither of the works recorded here was ever completed. Moreover, and you don't learn this unless you read the notes or have investigated for yourself, one of them was hardly begun. After the success of Pelléas et Mélisande in New York, Debussy was encouraged to adapt a pair of Poe's short stories for a new American production. Debussy needed little encouragement and quickly produced a pair of scenarios, but other projects intervened, and the operas were never finished. The more complete one is La chute de la maison Usher (The Fall of the House of Usher), for which there are substantial sketches and several full realizations including the one here by "creative musicologist" Robert Orledge.
Franz Schubert never achieved the success as a composer for the stage that the aspired to, and even since his genius has been fully recognized, his dramatic works have not found their way into the repertoire. This is due not so much to the quality of the music, which is often very high, but to the fact that Schubert devoted himself to a form, thesingspiel, which wasn't quite an opera, but a play with interpolated musical numbers that fell quickly out of style and has never made a popular comeback. Several Mozart singspiele, particularly Die Entführung aus dem Serail and Die Zauberflöte, have remained in the repertoire due to the large percentage of musical numbers they contain, their dramatic appeal, and their extraordinary music, criteria that Schubert's work doesn't meet.