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<<  -- 3 --  Tess Crebbin    A PAPAL MUSIC TOUR

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Of the singers, Roman Sadnik as Cavaradossi was most outstanding. This is not surprising, since he has frequently sung at the Vienna State Opera and on many other noted opera stages around Europe. Born there in 1963, the tenor initially started out as a baritone after training with Walter Berry and Hugh Beresford. His voice is good and strong, and his dramatic talents are excellent enough to bring a frighteningly realistic touch to his character. Sadnik's E lucevan le stelle is impossible to forget, for its effortless vocal performance but also for its dramatic intensity. The latter, obviously, is helped by the fact that he also has a diploma in acting.

Belgian-born Helene Bernady was a beautiful Tosca whose Vissi d'arte came nice and clear, whereas the stage presence of bass Alexander Teliga was impressive. From Poland, and singing Scarpia, he credibly came across as the kind of guy you love to hate. He has performed at some fine opera houses in the past, among them La Fenice in Venice, and La Scala in Milan.

Immling was a highly enjoyable experience, both for its musical excellence and for its lovely setting in the beautiful Bavarian countryside. The next morning, we departed for Altötting, a place of pilgrimage for music and religion alike. Musically, a significant point of interest is the local music academy, with a special emphasis on organ and church music.

The town of Altötting, where the composer Max Keller, a student of Michael Haydn, was organist in residence for half a century. Photo © 2005 Philip Crebbin
The town of Altötting, where the composer Max Keller, a student of Michael Haydn, was organist in residence for half a century. Photo © 2005 Philip Crebbin

Altötting was home to composer Max Keller, organist in residence there for half a century. Born on 7 October 1770 in Trostberg, he started his musical career as a boy chorister at the Benedict monastery of Seeon where he had occasion to see Mozart play the church organ. From 1788, he was the organist there and frequently travelled to Salzburg for lessons with his teacher and mentor, Michael Haydn. In 1799, Keller became church organist in Burghausen, and from 1801 onwards he was resident organist at Altötting, where he died on 12 December 1855. Among his best-known works are the Missa Solemnis No 6, Op 103 (1828), and the 'organ works for mass' Op 120 from 1839.

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Copyright © 21 July 2005 Tess Crebbin, Germany

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