Holger Falk

baritone

Falk sings with a tremendous tonal range that refuses to allow the audience to remain oblivious to the music involved: it is as though the lyrics are biting deeper into the ear with each syllable, each note. (…) Falk’s capacity for creativity is sensational”, as die ZEIT and the Washington Post reported: “Falk is able to characterize every word so vividly that, if he were singing in Vedic Sanskrit, you’d get the message“. Flexibility, vibrancy and immediacy of expression make Holger Falk an internationally sought-after interpreter. With his multiple opera appearances as well as being an avid concert and lieder singer, he is a guest at major houses throughout Europe and the USA, working with renowned conductors and directors.

Holger Falk has a great passion for contemporary music theatre, and several new scores were composed especially for him: he sang the world premières of The Golden Dragon by Peter Eötvös at the Oper Frankfurt and at the Bregenz Festival along with Ein Brief by Manfred Trojahn at the Oper Bonn. He has been nominated three times as singer of the year by Opernwelt magazine for his outstanding interpretations of Kassandra in Iannis Xenaki’s Oresteia (2017), Johannes in Georg Friedrich Haas‘ Morgen und Abend (2017) and of Lord Byron in Michael Wertmüller‘s world première DIODATI. UNENDLICH (2019). He has also performed works by composers including Wolfgang Rihm, Beat Furrer, Georges Aperghis, Bernhard Lang, Miroslav Srnka, Vladimir Tarnopolski and Steffen Schleiermacher and has appeared at the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, the Staatsoper Hamburg, the Theater an der Wien, the Theater Basel, the Théâtre de la Monnaie Brussels, the Teatro Real Madrid, the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées Paris and the National Opera Warsaw.

Holger Falk regularly works with contemporary ensembles such as the Klangforum Wien, Ensemble Modern, Ensemble Resonanz, Musikfabrik NRW, Doelen Ensemble Rotterdam, Basel Sinfonietta as well as with baroque ensembles including the Ensemble Elyma Genève (Monteverdi’s Orfeo), Elbipolis Hamburg (Graupner’s Dido), the Concerto Köln (Hasse’s Leucippo,) and the Kammerakademie Potsdam (Mendelssohn’s Elias).

In the 2021/22 season he is set to play Jaufré Rudel in L’Amour de loin by Kaja Saariaho at the Oper Köln (directed by Johannes Erath) along with singing the title role in Thomas by G. F. Haas at the Bayerische Staatsoper (directed by Anna-Sophie Mahler). He will also première Chaya Czernowin’s Atara with the RSO Wien at Wien Modern and will be a guest once more with Klangforum Wien at the Wiener Konzerthaus.

Holger Falk’s range of CD productions, including a four-part series of songs by Hanns Eislers (MDG), the complete recordings of the Mélodies et Chansons by Erik Satie and all 115 mélodies by Francis Poulenc (MDG) and Il Gondoliere Veneziano – a musical voyage through Venice (Prospero), received prestigious awards: German Record Critics’ Award 2017, CD of the Month (Opernwelt), Gramophone Editor‘s Choice Award, ECHO Klassik Award 2016 and Opus Klassik 2019 as Singer of the Year and best solo-recording vocal: Lied 2019.

Holger Falk began singing as a boy with the famous Regensburg Cathedral Boys’ Choir followed by vocal studies at the Wurzburg Conservatory, in Milan with Sigune von Osten, Franco Corelli and with Neil Semer, among others. 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), Das Floß der Medusa (Jean-Charles)
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), Ein Brief (Lord Chandos)
Viktor Ullmann The Emperor of Atlantis (Emperor)
Michael Wertmüller Weine nicht, singe! (Aki), Diodati.Unendlich (Lord Byron)
Iannis Xenakis Oresteia (Kassandra, Athena)
Bernd Alois Zimmermann Die Soldaten (Stolzius)

24 October 2021, 18:00, Oper Köln – Staatenhaus Saal 1 – Premiere
27/29 October 2021, 19:30, Oper Köln – Staatenhaus Saal 1
31 October 2021, 18:00, Oper Köln – Staatenhaus Saal 1
6/10/13 November 2021, 19:30, Oper Köln – Staatenhaus Saal 1

Programme: Kaja Saariaho L’Amour de Loin

Cast: Gürzenich-Orchestra of Cologne, Choir Oper Köln, Constantin Trinks (musical direction), Johannes Erath (staging), Bernhard Hammer (set), Katharina Tasch (costumes), Nicol Hungsberg (lights), Bibi Abel (video), Georg Kehren (dramaturgy), Holger Falk (Jaufré Rudel), Emily Hindrichs (Clémence), Adriana Bastidas-Gamboa/Katrin Wundsam (Der Pilger)


9 November 2021, 19:30, Musikverein Vienna, Großer Saal, Wien Modern

Programme: Chaya Czernowin Atara (2021) – world premiere – commission by Wien Modern and Bayerischer Rundfunk / musica viva

Cast: ORF Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, Christian Karlsen (musical direction), Arditti Quartet, Holger Falk (baritone), Sofia Jernberg (soprano)

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.

Cast:
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)

Premiere:
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.

Cast:
Holger Falk (baritone)
Steffen Schleiermacher (piano)

Holger Falk has a beautifully mellifluous baritone, and in the more lyrical numbers it is wonderfully easy to imagine him singing to you in his gondola on a warm Venetian night (and getting an extra tip for it of course, at the end of the evening). But the songs aren’t all simply seduction numbers, and they vary greatly in character with Falk showing himself equally adept at the tongue twisting and the highly characterful. It is this variety which makes the disc such a delight, the mixture of the hauntingly lyrical, the plangent, the lively characterful and the down-right toe-tapping.
Planet Hugill, Robert Hugill, 2 July 2020

This is both technically dazzling and musically involving: a collection of canzoni da battello (…) from 17th century Venice, wonderfully sung by baritone Holger Falk and deliciously accompanied by period instrument combo Nuovo Aspetto.
Falk is in gorgeous voice, singing with a relaxed informality that’s irresistible, and the production values serve him so well.
theartsdesk.com, Graham Rickson, 20 June 2020

Holger Falk’s high baritone and sensitive diction made each word of Hofmannstahl’s meditation clear and meaningful (…).
Opera Magazin, Agustín Blanco-Bazán, April 2020

Holger Falk shows the full range of colour in his voice as he interprets these songs, he has been impressive throughout the previous three discs, showing great subtlety as well as intensity in his reading and he is truly excellent here.
Music Web International, Stuart Sillitoe, January 2020

A first among equals and tour de force: Holger Falk as Lord Byron.
Die Zeit, Mirko Weber, 27 February 2019

With vocal and acting exaltation, he brings to life the figure of the torn, pleasure and sex-addicted, idealistic and ultimately lonely romantic hero.
Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Thomas Schacher, 23 February 2019

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

Wojciech Błażejczyk:
General Theory of Relativity

KAIROS (2021)
Holger Falk, baritone
Klangforum Wien
Johannes Kalitzke

Il Gondoliere Veneziano – 
A musical voyage through Venice

Holger Falk, baritone
Nuovo Aspetto
Merzouga

Hanns Eisler
Lieder Vol. 2
Songs 1948-1962

MDG (2017)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

Hanns Eisler
Lieder Vol. 4
Songs 1917-1929

MDG (2019)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

Hans-Jürgen von der Wense
piano music, Lieder, chamber music

ES DUR (2016)
Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester Berlin
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano
Holger Falk, baritone, i. a.

Arthur Honegger
Mélodies & Chansons

MDG (2021)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

Hanns Eisler
Lieder Vol. 1
Songs 1929-1937

MDG (2017)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

Hanns Eisler
Lieder Vol. 3
Songs 1938-1948

MDG (2018)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

Peter Eötvös
Paradise Reloaded

BMC-Records (2016)
Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Gregory Vajda, conductor, Holger Falk, Lucifer

Erik Satie
Intégrale des Mélodies et Chansons

MDG (2015)
Holger Falk, baritone
Steffen Schleiermacher, piano

 


Photos:

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Falk Holger
Photo: Wonge Bergmann
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Falk Holger
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
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Holger Falk
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
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Falk Holger
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
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Falk Holger
Photo: Kaupo Kikkas
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Holger Falk
Photo: Kaupo Kippkas .jpg / 3 MB