© Thomas Walser
Young baritone Manuel Walser has come to the Bregenzerwald tonight to replace Luca Pisaroni, who had to cancel due to illness. Since the latter had put together a very particular and personal program, Manuel Walser has made the choice to interpret in its stead this Matterhorn of lieder, “Winterreise” With his beautiful clear ringing voice, quite touching in the high and the low notes, silken velvet, embroidered with copper threads, he executes the score as it was written, and that is very pleasing to the ear. The work, however, demands more than beautiful singing. In order to make the text understandable in its immense depth, a certain sobriety is called for in the singing and stage movements. Exterior aspects should not be taken into account here, but the young singer sports a look that reminds one forcefully of Don Giovanni: bearded chin, half-long hair combed back. More than once, he remains motionless at the end of a song, with an offended far away look, that is slightly comical. It’s in the stormy pieces like “Der stürmische Morgen” or “Mut”, and in the bitter irony of “Die Wetterfahne” or “Täuschung”, that Manuel Walser comes into his own and can give the whole measure of his probably more operatic temperament. Notwithstanding these shortcomings, the public celebrates the young singer with thunderous applause, standing ovations, trampling feet, honouring thus the effort and the potential of the young singer.