Review: Schumann, Dichterliebe

He lives in Oberemmel, is at home, however, on the world's great opera stages. DANIEL LEWIS WILLIAMS, presented his remarkable abilities in an impressive concert given in the Promotionsaula of the Priest's Seminary in Trier, Germany.

One could certainly fear that this voice would be too large for the Promotionsaula. A voice powerull enough to fill the Metropolitan or the Scala in Milan could easily find this small (350 seats) but beautiful hall to be a mistake. This was not so in the case of Daniel Lewis Williams, internationally recognized opera star, who has chosen to make Oberemmel his home and can occasionally arrange between world-wide engagements to be heard here.

A wide span between pain and joyfulness

His program presented a wide variety of songs. First he presented the "Dichterliebe" cycle of Lieder by Robert Schumann and then, after the intermission, he asks the audience to "change gears." Here he presented arias from operas and operettas with created a highly animated and humorous second half of the concert. One could see a conflict in this combination but upon reflection, does not Schumann's Opus 48 span the distance between pain and happiness, between death and extremely lively mood's of spring? Those who were able to comprehend these contrasts heard a great voice able to present extremely different characters with great eloquence. Thus the first half of the concert was full of things romantic and poetic, which found in Williams an enthusiastic messenger able to transfer this enthusiasm to his audience. It may seem natural for a basso profundo to plumb the depths of despair and pain in "Ich hab im Traum geweinet" but Williams was also very convincingly able to paint the airily beautiful pictures of blooming flowers and singing nightingales. Upon the fundamental strength of his 'basso' he is able to build all of these emphatically varied facet's with ease and presents his listener with romantic clothed in its finest apparel.

TV editor Dieter Linz moderated the second half of the evening with charm and humor while Williams sings of the "Hallowed Halls of Mozart's 'Magic Flute'" followed by his declarations that "I am smart and wise" from "Zar und Zimmermann" and "Ach ich hab sie ja nur auf die Schulter geküsst" from "Bettelstudent."

A very big compliment goes to Thomas Hannig who accompanied the concert at the grand piano. He proved to be an excellent pianist who capably provided an excellent background and basis upon which the soloist could securely build.

Trierischer Volksfreund, Trier, Germany, 30.3.2004