See my review of the Vocal Arts recital by Mathias Hausmann:
Vocal Arts DC Debuts With Mathias Hausmann Performance (The Washingtonian, October 13):
The new season of Vocal Arts DC finally opened on Wednesday night in the Kennedy Center Terrace Theater with a recital of early-20th-century German songs. The honor of opening the season fell to Austrian baritone Mathias Hausmann after bass-baritone Eric Owens canceled his September 10 Vocal Arts recital at the eleventh hour. Hausmann’s voice is a pleasure to listen to -- full-bodied, round, and well formed in tone. It joined beautifully in all registers, from resonant lows to ringing but still smooth heights, even a sweet crooner’s head voice heard in some of the popular-style songs that concluded the concert. At the same time, his performance had a coolness, a detachment that gave the impression of expressive possibilities left unexplored once a certain contentment in the beauty of sound had been reached. It’s a quality that recalls his mentor, Thomas Hampson, another uniformly rich and powerful voice.
H. Eisler, Hollywood Songbook, M. Goerne, E. Schneider
The program brought together lieder from my favorite period in song composition, the early 20th century, focusing on German and Austrian composers who immigrated to the United States. Hausmann began with selections from the collection known as the Hollywood Songbook, the collaboration of composer Hanns Eisler and poet Bertolt Brecht (among other writers), created during Eisler’s short stint writing film scores in Los Angeles. These pieces -- a series of quirky miniatures -- are steeped in the sense of alienation experienced by World War II refugees, and reinforce the feeling of non-resolution and quietly anxious internal monologue. Hausmann relished careful attention to diction in every song without allowing it to become overdone or affected. [Continue reading]
Anne Midgette, Hausmann recital shows potential (Washington Post, October 14)