Insomnia: A Nocturnal Voyage In Song hieß das erste Album von William Berger, mit der er auf Anhieb die Kritiker begeisterte (vgl. Feuilletonscout v. 2. März 2015 ).
Anlässlich seiner ersten Konzertreise in Deutschland, die ihn nach Bonn, Hamburg, München führte und Montagabend auch nach Berlin, sprach William Berger mit dem Feuilletonscout über seine Liebe zur Musik und den Auftritt in Berlin.
Feuilletonscout: The premature praise that hurries ahead of your performances is enormous; are you often afraid of not meeting the audiences’ expectations?
William Berger: Oh dear! Until you just mentioned it, I’ve been unaware of the “premature praise” that precedes my performances. I’m terribly flattered. I don’t think I’m ever afraid of the audience though. The way I see it, is that we’re all there because we want to share an enjoyable musical experience.
Feuilletonscout: When did you first discover your love of classical music and when did you decide to become a singer?
William Berger: As a small boy, I was incredibly fond of “playing” the piano when we would visit my grandmother’s house and would happily bang away on it for hours. I think the noise must have been so unbearable for my parents and grandparents, that eventually it was decided that I should take some lesson that I might hopefully learn to play it properly. My love for music continued to grow and at the age of 10 I was admitted to a boys’ choir school. Within 3 months of joining the choir I had told my parents that I was “going to be an opera singer.”
Feuilletonscout: On March 30 you will be singing in Berlin’s Konzerthaus. What are your expectations regarding this evening?
William Berger: I could not be more excited about this concert. The performance in Berlin will be the culmination of a recital tour of Germany that included Bonn, Hamburg & München. By now I know that the German public are very cultured concert-goers and I consider myself incredibly lucky to be making my Berlin debut in such an historic and beautiful venue.
Feuilletonscout: You are regarded as an expert on 17th and 18th century music. Your concerts in Germany bridge the gap to a later period, from Dvorak to Debussy, Ravel, Fauré, Liszt and Mahler’s Rückert Lieder and on to the contemporary composer, Jonathan Dove, who was born in 1959. Why do these “young” composers and/or the diversity of your repertoire appeal to you?
William Berger: For me, one of the greatest joys in my career is the vast repertoire of classical music out there to be explored, both “new” and “old” music. As long as I keep singing and my voice keeps maturing, there will always be more music to discover. Even though I have been described as an “expert on 17th and 18th century music”, it is not a label I’ve assigned myself. I find it very flattering and am grateful to be in continued demand to interpret the beautiful music from these particular periods…but why limit yourself to only eating pineapple when there are so many other delicious and nourishing foods to choose from.
Feuilletonscout: Do you have a favourite piece?
William Berger: Oh no! That is such a difficult question and I only have a terrible answer… I’ve never had a favourite piece. There are simply too many to choose from.
Feuilletonscout: What is your greatest musical dream?
William Berger: I am absolutely living my dream every day! As a boy growing up in Africa I didn’t ever imagine I’d receive all the opportunities I’ve been given thus far. Of course there are still operatic roles I dream of performing in certain prestigious opera houses around the world, but unfortunately for your readers I am far too superstitious to share it with you.
Feuilletonscout: What would you like people to remember about you and/or your art?
William Berger: As an interpretative artist, rather than a creative one, I have no expectations of leaving a lasting musical legacy. For me it is more important that music (all music) continues to be composed, re-discovered, performed and enjoyed in order to enrich as many people’s lives as possible. Perhaps the next period of my life, when I can sing no more, will be more actively dedicated to the latter cause.
Feuilletonscout: Had you not become a singer, what would you have wanted to become instead?
William Berger : A lawyer, a journalist or a surgeon. I used to think the only thing these three careers and mine have in common is that there is a sense of theatre and performance about all of them, but I’ve since realized that in music there also exists an element of healing and the pursuance of truth, albeit of an emotional rather than physical or factual nature
Thank you very much, William Berger!
30. März 2015, 20 Uhr
Konzerthaus, Kleiner Saal
Eine musikalische Reise – Liederabend mit William Berger und Julius Drake
William Berger Bariton
Julius Drake Klavier
Franz Schubert – „Die Sterne“
Antonín Dvořák – Zigeunerlieder
Gustav Mahler – Fünf Lieder nach Gedichten von Friedrich Rückert
Jonathan Dove – Auswahl aus der Liedersammlung „All you who sleep tonight“
sowie ein Zyklus französischer Werke von Ravel, Debussy und Fauré
Als Valetto in Monteverdi’s “L’incoronazione di Poppea” am Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona mit Judith van Wanroij als Damigella
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