- Schneewittchen, opera
Full of passionate expression and cast in unrhymed ballad meter, [Robert] Walser's play [based on "Snow White"] makes a wonderful libretto, and [Heinz] Holliger honors it with a setting in which its words are clear. This is opera as song, in an intense lyrical style recalling its composer's admiration for Webern... Juliane Banse is formidable in the title role, winging effortlessly and musically into the high register, ice-cold but burning with pent- up emotions and questions. The contralto Cornelia Kallisch majestically embodies the Queen's tired abandonment of morality in favor of sex and lies (black ones in her case). These two characters dominate, but there are also excellent performances from the tenor Steve Davislim as the jejune Prince, the baritone Oliver Widmer as the lusty Huntsman and the bass Werner Gröschel as the King, who arrives in the epilogue to lead everyone to a slow, uneasy peace, a congelation rather than a conclusion. The composer conducts.