Falk has an extraordinarily flexible baritone, with a warm, confiding lower and midrange (…) and (…) is able to characterize every word so vividly that, if he were singing in Vedic Sanskrit, you’d get the message, admires the Washington Post. The colourfulness, flexibility and authenticity in his expression are the artistic foundation of his international career as an opera singer as well as an interpreter of art song.
Along with his repertoire of early and classical music, Holger Falk has a great passion for works from contemporary music theatre. Over the last few years, he performed Wolfgang Rihm’s major roles: Jakob Lenz at the Polish National Opera Warsaw and Dionysos at the Heidelberg Theatre as well as the role of Cortez in Die Eroberung von Mexico at the Teatro Real Madrid at the invitation of Gérard Mortier.
Furthermore, he has premiered many new roles that have been written for him. These include Inga in The Golden Dragon by Peter Eötvös at the Frankfurt Opera and later-on at the Bregenz Festival as well as Lucifer in Eötvös’ Paradise Reloaded at the Palace of Arts–Müpa Budapest. He sang the world premieres of Miroslav Srnka’s Make No Noise at the Bavarian State Opera Munich, Benoit Mernier’s Frühlings Erwachen at La Monnaie Brussels, Michael Wertmüller’s Weine nicht, singe! at the Hamburg State Opera as well as in new works by Steffen Schleiermacher (Kokain), Jan Müller-Wieland (Die Irre), Hans Gefors (Schattenspiele), Vladimir Tarnopolski (Jenseits der Schatten), Beat Furrer (La bianchanotte), Fabián Panisello (L ́officina della resurrezione) and Georges Aperghis (Le Soldat inconnu). He has been nominated twice as singer of the year by Opernwelt magazine for his outstanding interpretations of Kassandra in Xenaki’s Oresteia (2017) and of Lord Byron in Wertmüller‘s world premiere DIODATI. UNENDLICH (2019) at the Theater Basel. In 2018, he made his debut at the RuhrTriennale in the role of Jean-Charles in Hans Werner Henze’s Das Floß der Medusa with the Bochum Symphony Orchestra.
Holger Falk is an enthusiastic singer of Lieder and has performed at the Kölner Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Gewandhaus Leipzig, Konzerthaus Berlin, Heidelberger Frühling, Schwetzingen SWR Festival, Dresden Music Festival, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Rheingau Music Festival, Palais des Beaux-Arts Bruxelles, Franz Liszt Academy Budapest, Wiener Konzerthaus, Muziekgebouw aan’t IJ Amsterdam, Megaron Athens as well as at the Frick Collection NYC and Phillips Collection Washington i.a..
For his recording of Hanns Eisler Lieder Vol. 1, the first part of a 4-CD collection of songs by Eisler (MDG), Holger Falk was honoured with the renown German Record Critics’ Award 2017, CD of the month (Opernwelt) and the Gramophone Editor´s Choice Award. He also received the ECHO Klassik Award 2016 for his recording of Erik Satie: Intégrale des Mélodies et Chansons and released Francis Poulenc’s complete oeuvre of all 115 Mélodies for male voice (MDG). In 2017/18, his recordings of Hanns Eisler Lieder Vol. 2 and Vol. 3 have been released to great acclaim, for Vol. 3 he has been nominated for the Opus Klassik 2019 as Singer of the Year and best solo- recording vocal: Lied. Since fall 2019, his final recording of Hanns Eisler Lieder Vol. 4 is also available.
In the current season 2019/20, Holger Falk will sing recitals and concerts at the Niedersächsische Musiktage, Schwetzinger SWR Festival, Musikfestspiele Potsdam, Alte Oper Frankfurt, Cité de la Musique/Festival d’Automne Paris and at the Sverdlovsk Philharmonic Jekaterinburg i.a.. He will also premiere the new monodrama Ein Brief by Manfred Trojahn with the Beethoven Orchester Bonn and conductor Dirk Kaftan at the Oper Bonn followed by a guest performance at the Theater an der Wien, and he will make his debut at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden Berlin in Himmelerde by Musicbanda Franui and Familie Flöz.
Holger Falk is professor of Lied interpretation and performances practice for contemporary music at the renowned University of Music and Performing Arts Graz.
Opera / Music theatre:
Alban Berg Wozzeck (Wozzeck)
Benjamin Britten Billy Budd (Billy Budd)
Peter Maxwell Davies Eight songs for a mad king (King Georg)
Claude Debussy Pelléas et Mélisande (Pelléas)
Gaetano Donizetti Il campanello di notte (Enrico)
Peter Eötvös Der Goldene Drache (Man, Asian), Paradise Reloaded – Lillith (Lucifer)
Hans Gefors Skuggspel (scholar)
Detlev Glanert The Three Riddles (King Zephalus, fly)
Heiner Goebbels Landscape with distant relatives (baritone)
Christoph Graupner Dido (Juba)
Georg Friedrich Haas Morgen und Abend (Johannes)
Johann Adolf Hasse Leucippo (Nunte)
Hans Werner Henze Boulevard Solitude (Lescaut), El Cimarrón (Cimarrón), Der Prinz von Homburg (Prince)
Emmerich Kálmán Die Csárdásfürstin (Edwin)
Franz Lehár Die Lustige Witwe (Danilo)
Benoît Mernier Frühlings Erwachen (Moritz Stiefel)
Claudio Monteverdi Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda (Testo), L’Orfeo (Orfeo), L’incoronazione di Poppea (Ottone), Il Ritorno d´Ulisse in patria (Ulisse)
W. A. Mozart The Magic Flute (Papageno)
Jan Müller-Wieland Die Irre oder nächtlicher Fischfang (Der Mann)
Fabián Panisello L’officina della resurrezione (baritone)
Giacomo Puccini Madama Butterfly (Sharpless)
Francis Poulenc Les mamelles de Tirésias (Le Mari)
Wolfgang Rihm Die Eroberung von Mexico (Cortéz), Dionysos (N./Nietzsche/Dionysos), Jakob Lenz (Jakob Lenz)
Gioacchino Rossini Il barbiere di Siviglia (Figaro)
Steffen Schleiermacher Kokain (Tobias 2)
Miroslav Srnka Make no Noise (Joseph)
Johann Strauß Die Fledermaus (Gabriel von Eisenstein)
Vladimir Tarnopolski Beyond the Shadow (prisoner)
Manfred Trojahn Enrico (Enrico)
Viktor Ullmann The Emperor of Atlantis (Emperor)
Michael Wertmüller Weine nicht, singe! (Aki)
Iannis Xenakis Oresteia (Kassandra, Athena)
Bernd Alois Zimmermann Die Soldaten (Stolzius)
8/14 February 2020, 19:30, Theater Bonn
29 February 2020, 19:30, Theater an der Wien
12/28 March 2020, 19:30, Theater Bonn
5 April 2020, 18:00, Theater Bonn
11 April 2020, 19:30, Theater Bonn
Manfred Trojahn Ein Brief – A reflexive scene, lyrics from Hugo von Hofmannsthal – world premiere
Ludwig van Beethoven Christus am Ölberge – oratorio op. 85
Cast: Beethoven Orchester Bonn, Dirk Kaftan (conductor), Reinhild Hoffmann (stage director), Andrea Schmidt-Futterer (costumes), Ilse Eerens (Seraph), Holger Falk (Chandos), Kai Kluge (Jesus), Seokhoon Moo (Petrus), i. a.
3/6 April 2020, 19:30, Staatsoper unter den Linden, Berlin
Programme: Himmelerde – mask music theater based on works by Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Gustav Mahler, Anton Webern i. a.
Cast: Familie Flöz and Musicbanda Franui, Andreas Schett (musical direction), Michael Vogel (stage direction), Felix Nolze (set), Birgit Wentsch (costumes), Maria Bengtsson (soprano), Holger Falk (baritone ), i. a.
6 May 2020, 19:30, Schwetzinger SWR Festspiele, Schwetzingen Palace
Robert Schumann Zwölf Lieder after poems of Justinus Kerner op. 35
Josef Matthias Hauer Hölderlin-Lieder op. 6 and op. 12
Viktor Ullmann Abendphantasie after a poem of Friedrich Hölderlin
Hanns Eisler Hölderlin fragments from the Hollywood Songbook
Cast: Holger Falk (baritone), Hilko Dumno (piano)
8 May 2020, 19:00
9 May 2020, 18:00
Gemischter Satz 2020, Wiener Konzerthaus
Programme: song recital with works by Hanns Eisler
Cast: Musicbanda Franui, Holger Falk (baritone), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
11 May 2020, 19:30, MUMUTH, György-Ligeti-Saal, Graz
Salvatore Sciarrino 2 Songs out of Quaderno di Strada
Bernhard Lang 2 Songs out of Songbook II
Eric Satie 2 Chansons
Olga Neuwirth Suite out of Lost Highway
Cast: Klangforum Wien, Yalda Zamani (conductress), Holger Falk (baritone), students of the degree course PPCM vocal, students of the Institute of Electronic Music
21 June 2020, 19:00, Music Festival Potsdam Sanssouci, Nikolaisaal Potsdam
Programme: song recital with works by Hanns Eisler and Kurt Weill
Cast: Holger Falk (baritone), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
12 July 2020, tba, Ottawa, Canada
Programme: song recital A German life in songs with works by Hanns Eisler
Cast: Holger Falk (baritone), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
14 July 2020, tba, Ottawa, Canada
Programme: song recital Voyage a Paris with works by Kurt Weill, Arthur Honegger and Francis Poulenc
Cast: Holger Falk (baritone), Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
Il Gondoliere Veneziano – Gondolier songs from the 18th century in the Venetian soundscape
In Il Gondoliere Veneziano, the music and soundscape of Venice come together in an extraordinary way. As in the past, everyday sounds inspire the songs of the gondolier for a new musical interpretation. At the same time, the soundscape is influenced by the music, with everyday sounds turning into musical sounds and tones in reference to the gondolier’s music in a kind of sound metamorphosis. The programme is based around the “Canzoni da Battello”, performed by baritone Holger Falk, together with the baroque ensemble “Nuovo Aspetto”, led by Michael Dücker. The Canzoni da Battello are interspersed by the contrasting electro-acoustic Venice pieces by the duo Merzouga, which use baroque fragments as motifs, transposing melodic elements into the contemporary sound language, while preserving the integrity of the baroque music. The combination of these two approaches creates a Venice soundtrack as an overall, through-composed work. Church bells, voices, the sound of Venetian squares, the acoustic intimacy of winding alleyways, water, waves and beating paddles surround the gondolier’s singing.
Holger Falk (baritone)
soundscape – duo „Merzouga“: Janko Hanushevsky & Eva Pöpplein (soundscapes and live electronic)
Ensemble „Nuovo Aspetto“: Michael Dücker (lute), Johanna Seitz (harp), Elisabeth Seitz (salterio), Hartmut Becker (cello), Evgeny Sviridov (violine), Daniel Lanthier (oboe), Leonard Schelb, (baroque flute), Adrián van der Spoel (baroque guitar), Andreas Nowak (percussion)
17 April 2019, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Kleiner Saal – Opening of the Easter Festival
Equally popular as a singer of opera and Lieder, Holger Falk finds exactly the right tone for this music: with a light sound that unites simplicity and sweetness in his almost tenor-like timbre. (…) Holger Falk changes colour in harmony with the musical surroundings like a vocal chameleon.
Hamburger Abendblatt, Marcus Stäbler, 20th April 2019
Recording & broadcast of the programme by WDR (season 2018/19).
Lieder by Hanns Eisler
In a four-part CD edition, Holger Falk and Steffen Schleiermacher present the lied œuvre by Hanns Eisler. The CD Hanns Eisler Lieder Vol. 1 already received the German Record Critics’ Award 2017 and has been nominated for the Editor’s Choice Award of the Gramophone Magazine. The second CD of the series has been released in autumn 2017 to great acclaim. The repertoire can also be experienced on stage at a lieder recital.
The duo, which has been honoured with the ECHO-Klassik 2016 for its Erik Satie recording, shows a new perspective on Schoenberg’s pupil, who had long been reduced on his communistic work and pushed in a far left corner.
Both artists are convincing in their great diversity of expression, Falk’s precise understanding of lyric, and an impressive interpretation of the extremely versatile lieder by Eisler. The first CD presents lieder from a period between 1929 and 1937, which lyrics were mainly written by Bertolt Brecht and are first and foremost workers’ and battle songs. The following three recordings dedicate themselves to a particular period of time in Hanns Eisler’s creative work progress and range from workers and battle songs, chansons and art songs to 12-tone children’s songs.
Holger Falk (baritone)
Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)
Falk displayed a masterful ability to create a distinct mood, atmosphere, and personality for each, whether dreamy and awe-filled in “Der Wanderer an den Mond,” or youthful and effusive in “Bei dir allein”.
Opera News, Steven Jude Tietjen, January 2019
Baritone Holger Falk makes outstanding Washington debut
Those fortunate enough to have been at the Phillips Collection Sunday afternoon heard what I suspect may be the outstanding song recital of the season. Their artfully conceived German and French program, Schubert and Hanns Eisler on the first half, Francis Poulenc and Erik Satie on the second, combined subtlety and power in a breathtaking display of ensemble virtuosity in captivating music. Falk has an extraordinarily flexible baritone, with a warm, confiding lower and midrange that, when called for, can go full throttle in a nanosecond. (…) But more important than his beautiful voice and perfect diction, Falk is able to characterize every word so vividly that, if he were singing in Vedic Sanskrit, you’d get the message. (…) Falk brings a light touch to Schubert, so that when things grow serious, the impact grips the heart. (…) afternoon of unforgettable music making.
The Washington Post, Patrick Rucker, 29 October 2018
The baritone’s voice is light in colour with an inherently gentle quality to it, but capable of impressive intensity in the upper range.
Gramophone, Hugo Shirley, September 2018
The testing title role was performed by that protean contemporary music specialist, Holger Falk (…), an inventive, responsive and compelling actor, he gave a remarkable demonstration of technique and musicality, with much lovely soft singing along the way.
Opera Magazine, May 2018
In bulk, Eisler’s messages can sound like hectoring. Fortunately, the refined German baritone Holger Falk, (…) maintains musical virtues here. A diverely talented singer whose repertory ranges from Lehár’s The Marry Widow to Peter Maxwell Davies’ monodrama Eight Songs for a Mad King and Yannis Xenakis’ Oresteia, Falk expresses direct emotion in his singing. He is also a rare German able to manage musically and linguistically the melodies of Francis Poulenc.
Opera Now, December 2017
Holger Falk has a clear, cleanly focused baritone that can run the gamut from a honeyed piano to something more like an impassioned shout (…). There’s also an ideal balance between sophistication and rawness, a certain neutrality of interpretation that will bear repeated listening but doesn’t betray the gritty roots of the music.
Gramophone, Hugo Shirley, August 2017
Eisler’s sardonic and often touching 1930s songs and cabaret-inspired ballads, with texts mostly by Brecht are characterfully performed by Falk, a dramatic master.
BBC Music Magazine, August 2017
Athena was embodied by the astonishing baritone Holger Falk, who also gave a tour de force of a performance as Kassandra, negotiating with ease the falsetto writing of Xenakis in a spectacular fragment with percussion accompaniment.
Opera Magazine, July, 2017
During the second scene of Oresteia, baritone Holger Falk vacillated wildly between his deep, low range and a higher falsetto, flinging his voice to the edges of human possibility in his portrayal of Kassandra who, in spurning the Greek god Apollo, has acquired the gift of fortune-telling simultaneous with the curse of never being believed. […] Despite the fact that few (if any) of the audience could understand the sung ancient Greek, the emotions of the characters, and particularly the desperation of Mr Falk’s Kassandra, came through with astonishing intensity. […] it was the soloists, Mr Falk and Tamás Schlanger, who stood out. After the opening scene Mr Falk stupefied us with his seismographic serenade; […] Mr Falk was communicating, the contortions of his voice and facial expressions spoke for themselves.
Bachtrack.com, 2 July 2016
Lied von der belebenden Wirkung (Hanns Eisler/Bertolt Brecht):
Hier (Erik Satie):
Wenn die Igel in der Abendstunde (Hanns Eisler/Kurt Tucholsky):
Je te veux (Erik Satie):
To download the photos, please click on the photos.