dietrich henschel

baritone

biography

Baritone Dietrich Henschel captivates audiences as a regular guest at major opera houses, as an esteemed interpreter of lieder and oratorios and with his varied multimedia projects. His repertoire stretches from Monteverdi to the avant-garde. Born in Berlin and raised in Nuremberg he made his debut in 1990 at the Munich Biennale for New Music and first became known internationally from 1997 following a period as an ensemble member of the Opera Kiel. At the Deutsche Oper Berlin he took the title role in Hans Werner Henze’s Prinz von Homburg, staged by Götz Friedrich, and gave an outstanding lead performance in Busoni’s Doktor Faust at the Opéra de Lyon and the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, for which he won a Grammy.

The singer’s major roles include Rossini’s Figaro, Wolfram in Wagner’s Tannhäuser, Monteverdi’s Ulisse and Orfeo, Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Beckmesser in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Dr. Schön in Lulu, Golaud in Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande, and Nick Shadow in Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, with which he makes regular appearances at the major European opera houses. Contemporary composers such as Péter Eötvös, Detlev Glanert, Manfred Trojahn, Unsuk Chin, Peter Ruzicka and José-Maria Sanchez-Verdu have all dedicated leading roles in their operas to the baritone.

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In addition to his operatic work Henschel is committed to the performance of lieder and concert works for voice. In orchestral concerts he has worked with conductors such as Riccardo Chailly, Kent Nagano, Cornelius Meister, Sylvain Cambreling, and Semyon Bychkov. His collaborations with John Eliot Gardiner, Philippe Herreweghe, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, and Colin Davis are documented on numerous oratorio recordings. Henschel is particularly interested in theatrical and multimedia presentations of vocal music. He has performed staged versions of Schubert lieder cycles at La Monnaie, Theater an der Wien, Norske Opera Oslo, and the Komische Oper Berlin, among others. In the project IRRSAL – Triptychon einer verbotenen Liebe, featuring the orchestral songs of Hugo Wolf and conceived together with director Clara Pons, he combined film and live music.

WUNDERHORN, featuring songs by Gustav Mahler, also created with Pons, was co-produced by European partners including De Doelen, La Monnaie, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra London.

Dietrich Henschel launched his project X-Mas Contemporary at the Konzerthaus Berlin in December 2019 with the ensemble unitedberlin under the musical direction of Vladimir Jurowski. Twelve composers contributed works to the extraordinary program, which was hailed by critics and released as a CD by FARAO CLASSSIC.

Known for his unconventional projects, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic the artist has consistently devoted himself to the question of how to creatively deal with the necessary regulations and restrictions. In response, he has performed in several new streaming concert formats, initiated and curated a series of radio concerts co-produced by his production company WUNDERHORN together with Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and developed a pandemic-friendly production of Mozart’s opera Così fan tutte entitled Così.20, a co-production with the Austrian opera company ARTHOUSE OPERA.

Dietrich Henschel is represented for United Kingdom. For all enquiries please contact Caroline Phillips cphillips@caroline-phillips.co.uk

reviews

Winterreise – Oxford Lieder Festival

a performance of powerful interiority… I prefer a Winterreise that’s been wrenched from the singer’s body and this one was ectoplasmic.

Backtrack, 1 March 2021

Henschel is rightly regarded as one of Germany’s finest lied interpreters, now almost a veteran performer, and his singing of Schubert’s great cycle was notable for its almost numbed anticipation of the gruelling winter journey to come…

such is his artistry, the eloquence of his delivery of the text could hardly fail to move in his partnership with Kynoch

The Times, 2 March 2021

Dietrich Henschel gave us a Winterreise that offered no quarter from the musical storm. Back in 2012 Henschel released a pretty definitive recording of Schubert’s cycle on disc. Nearly a decade on and his wanderer is bleaker still: maddened to the point of hallucination, fury, suicide.

The Spectator, 6 March 2021

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Peter Ruzicka Benjamin – Hamburg State Opera

Baritone Dietrich Henschel was a credible and direct Benjamin, both in terms of his acting and his immaculate vocal performance. In every second of this densely conceived production, he brought both a depressive emptiness and an abundant exuberance to the stage: a godsend for the production.

Spiegel Online, 4 June 2018

An excellent ensemble of singers was assembled for the world premiere, above all baritone Dietrich Henschel in the expressive title role.

NDR Kultur, 4 June 2018

 

Britten War Requiem in Melbourne, Australia

Those who have grown up with Britten’s 1963 Decca recording, featuring the soloists for whom Britten wrote, could not help but be struck by how closely the MSO soloists resembled Peter Pears, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Galina Vishnevskaya in vocal quality.

German bass-baritone Dietrich Henschel was a perfect match. His voice blended with Bostridge’s in harmonious accord at key points while retaining its own brand of beauty and distinctive timbre. The reiterations of “Bugles sang” were among many telling moments of pathos and desolation.

Classic Melbourne, 13 June 2015


Mahler Wunderhorn live – Barbican Hall

Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn (The Youth’s Magic Horn), sung with fine colour and nuance by the baritone Dietrich Henschel

The Guardian, 19 April 2015


Unsuk Chin Alice in Wonderland – Barbican Hall

… the only character who captured our hearts was baritone Dietrich Henschel’s desperate Mad Hatter

Classical Music.com, 12 March 2015


Wunderhorn Songs Reviews

[Henschel] possesses many of the older singer’s [Fischer-Dieskau] finest characteristics: a beautiful and expressive voice, intelligent treatment of the texts, an ability to colour the voice according to the requirements of the poems and a personality that catches the listener’s attention and keeps the interest. Every phrase, every accent has a direction and intention.

Music Web International, 3 July 2014


Lieder in Bonn

Henschel sang with beautiful lyrical tone… The three songs by Hugo Wolf… demonstrated Henschel’s great vocal artistry… [he] provided the endless melody line with an inner tension that made the existential force of the verses literally tangible.

General-Anzeiger Bonn, 31 January 2014


Hugo Wolf Lieder Disc Reviews

There is wide consensus that our German star baritone is at his best in this repertoire.

                 EPR Classic, 3 April 2014

Henschel … always with a firm vocal line creating a clear path through the thickets of chromatic accompaniment, always with deeply felt attention to the words

                 Gramophone, 29 November 2013

Henschel, in partnership with the conductor he keeps the songs both introverted and yet still exultant, coming across both clearly and forcefully. The result is a unified recording… [Henschel] adds a rare combination of vocal power and intellectual sensibility and the joy of discovery in a highly individual manner to the traditional repertoire.

Klassik.com, 29 November 2013

War Requiem – Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Sydney Opera House

Baritone Dietrich Henschel captured a tone of weary wisdom rising at climactic moments to fierce, implacable intensity.

                 The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 November 2013


Hugo Wolf Lieder at The Wigmore Hall with Angelika Kirchschlager and Julius Drake

Hugo Wolf doesn’t get better than this…Henschel’s ability to absorb himself totally in what he sings, meanwhile, and to give the impression of living the music rather than performing it, resulted in matchless accounts of Grenzen der Menschheit and Prometheus… One of the great recitals, and absolutely outstanding

Guardian, 8 January 2013


Zimmermann: Ecclesiastical Action & Brahms German Requiem – London Philharmonic Orchestra

Dietrich Henschel sang like a man possessed, making for an unforgettable performance.

Guardian, 02 December 2012

It had majestic moments, and Henschel’s powerful solos contrasted beautifully with Miah Persson’s ethereal soprano.

Times, 02 December 2012


War Requiem –
Dallas Symphony Orchestra

The “most beautiful voice on the stage” award has to go to German baritone Dietrich Henschel. His performance of Owen’s dismal poetry was mesmerizing.

TheaterJones, 09 November 2012

German baritone Dietrich Henschel supplied vivid and eloquent declamation, in tones alternately powerful and poignant.

Dallas News, 10 November 2012


Recital – Edinburgh Festival

Baritone Dietrich Henschel is a towering figure, physically, intellectually, musically and theatrically.

His prowess as an interpreter is extraordinary. And his ability to characterise a song through sheer acting as much as singing resulted in a recital of consummate intelligence, fuelled by a voice where beauty of sound is almost a secondary consideration to penetrating and revealing the nuances and implications of a text.

Herald Scotland, 28 August 2012

German baritone Dietrich Henschel’s EIF recital was a pretty dark affair.

But it was riveting from start to finish, his compelling and often highly theatrical interpretations partnered superbly by the subtle yet commanding playing of Edinburgh-born pianist Steven Osborne.

Scotsman, 28 August 2012


Oedipe –
La Monnaie

Dietrich Henschel in the marathon role of Oedipus still makes music where others would simply go through the motions.

Financial Times, 24 October 2011


Il mondo della luna –
Theater an der Wien – DVD review

Henschel’s muscicianship carries him far, especially in a colourfully onomatopoeic aria expressing wonderment at the Moon’s sylvan delights

Opera, July 2011

gallery

news

Dietrich Henschel returns to Oxford Lieder Festival

Baritone Dietrich Henschel returns to the Oxford Lieder Festival with a programme of Schubert songs about the sea and ocean concluding with the setting of Schiller’s epic ballad Der Taucher. Performances take place at St John the Evangelist, Oxford at 17:30 and 20:15...

… this one was ectoplasmic – Bachtrack

Still available online is Dietrich Henschel’s performance of Winterreise with Sholto Kynoch as part of the 2021 Oxford Leader Festival: "... a performance of powerful interiority… I prefer a Winterreise that’s been wrenched from the singer’s body and this...

Dietrich Henschel’s winter journey… to Oxford.

Running the gauntlet of quarantine and post-Brexit UK Border Control German Baritone Dietrich Henschel will be performing Winterreisse at the Oxford Lieder Festival on February 27 accompanied by festival director Sholto Kynoch. The event will be Broadcast from the...

Dietrich Henschel in recital, virtually

Innovation is alive and well in the music business. You can virtually attend a recital of Beethoven, Eisler, Berg and Mahler with Dietrich Henschel, baritone and Arno Waschk streamed live from the Teldex Studio Berlin on May 10 at 14:00, CET. Get your ticket here. The...

Dietrich Henschel – Concert in Quarantine

Tune in at 20:30 (CET) on Good Friday to hear Baritone Dietrich Henschel sing Beethoven, Liszt and Wolf Lieder with Arno Waschk, piano, at the Schinkel Pavillion, Berlin. Follow the Concerts in Quarantine link.