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Köhler was left behind to accept flowers, sign autographs and be hugged by some rather attractive women. It is not often that one gets to see Köhler perform free of charge, and then in such close audience contact and informal atmosphere. So it was a real bonus by organizer Hypo Vereinsbank to present this world-class singer to the Munich public.

Axel Köhler receives flowers from a fan. Photo © 2004 Anja Ulrich
Axel Köhler receives flowers from a fan. Photo © 2004 Anja Ulrich

'I really like the Munich Opera Festival,' Köhler explained. 'I have been in Munich since April, first performing in Rinaldo at the Staatsoper and then as director at the Prinzregententheater. We had our last performance on Friday and so I decided to add an extra day, for this free concert.'

Köhler's mini-recital, under the heading 'The Art of Kissing' featured Lieder by Beethoven, Haydn and others. The celebrated male alto, who started out as a baritone and switched to countertenor in 1987, had a twinkle in his eye and his audience laughing with delight as he sang of virtuous or non-virtuous women, the advantages of kissing in the dark and of mothers arriving home too soon, only to find their daughters doing you-know-what.

Musical highlights were Köhler impeccably negotiating the difficult Beethoven Lieder, of which 'Der Liebende' strikingly combined Beethoven's breathtaking music with challenging vocal requirements, which the countertenor was able to execute to perfection, both at the low and the high notes.

The mini-recital was the last chance for Munich to experience Köhler in a while. The countertenor who stems from Dresden studied voice and violin at the college of music there. He is a noted Händel expert, in high demand internationally, and he will now spend an extended period in Madrid, Spain.

Axel Köhler. Photo © 2004 Hypovereinsbank
Axel Köhler. Photo © 2004 Hypovereinsbank

The programme of Axel Köhler's 10.30pm mini-recital was as follows:

Andreas Hammerschmidt: Kunst des Küssens
Johann Phillip Krieger: Im Dunkeln is gut munkeln
Gabriel Voigtlaender: Ach, böses Herz
Adam Krieger: Der Augen Schein sein Schmerz und Pein; Des Frauenzimmer's nein und ja; Junggesellenfreuden

Joseph Haydn: Eine sehr gewoehnliche Geschichte; Auch die Sproedeste der Schoenen ; Die zu spaete Ankunft der Mutter ; Gegenliebe

Ludwig van Beethoven: Der Liebende; Lied; Der Kuss

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Copyright © 5 July 2004 Tess Crebbin and Sissy Kotzebue, Germany


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