Helmut Deutsch

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July 2020

“Is the German lied dead? No, it is not dead. It is merely that the singers who can bring it to life even nowadays in such an unromantic time have become rare.” These words could have been written recently but in fact they come from a review of a recital by the young Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau in 1952. This marked the start of probably the most magnificent era for lied ever experienced in Germany and Austria: Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Hans Hotter, Irmgard Seefried, Fritz Wunderlich, Hermann Prey, Christa Ludwig, Peter Schreier, Brigitte Fassbaender to name only a few. Since the beginning of my professional career I have always been aware of comments such as ‘song recitals are difficult to sell’, ‘the lied is a dying art form’. However, I don’t see things so pessimistically. Nevertheless, the essential prerequisite for enjoying a song recital is to listen intensively. In grand instrumental works and even more so in operas lasting several hours, if you allow your thoughts to wander for a few minutes, that is probably not exactly what the composer intended. Nevertheless, after four and a half hours of Die Meistersinger you can still go home happy, even if you have not heard every bar with full attention. But in a song, the entire cornucopia of emotions, thoughts and images is poured out in a few minutes. Revenge comes immediately if one loses concentration on text and music even for a moment; at best one has heard a pretty piece of music but not really grasped and experienced the song. Art songs are therefore totally unsuitable for background music; you have to listen very attentively so that this world can be fully opened up for you. But here it is certainly not so difficult, for the evening with three wonderful singers presents a highly varied treasure of jewels of the art song. Allow yourselves to be enchanted.

Program and cast

Piano: Helmut Deutsch

Soprano: Clara Thomsen

Soprano: Felicitas Fuchs

Mezzosoprano: Stefanie Irányi

Festspielhaus Erl



Designed by Delugan Meissl Associated Architects, Vienna, the extraordinary structure boasts 862 seats (130 of which are flexible seats near the orchestra) and the world’s largest orchestra pit (160-sq meters). The total useable surface is 7,000-square meter. General contractor was STRABAG, project manager Ing. Georg Höger.


The new Festspielhaus respects and compliments the architecture of the old Passionsspielhaus and its natural surroundings in a unique way: in the summer, when the Tyrolean Festival Erl or the Passion Plays take place at the white Passionsspielhaus, the dark Festspielhaus will blend with the dark forest, allowing the Passionsspielhaus to be dominant. In the winter it is the other way round: while the white Passionsspielhaus will fade into the surroundings, the dark Festspielhaus will stand out against the white landscape.


The Festspielhaus offers the modern infrastructure that has been sorely missing at the Passionsspielhaus, including a foyer with cloakroom, modern stage machinery, several rehearsal rooms and plenty of space for administrative offices. The Festspielhaus provides the Tyrolean Festival Erl with the basic conditions it needs to ensure the Festival’s success will continue into the future.




The Passionsspielhaus in Erl, built between 1957 and 159 on plans by architect Robert Schuller, is an architectural and acoustic masterpiece. The structure blends with its surroundings and is a visual extension of the adjoining mountains.
Thanks to its striking shape the Passionspielhaus instantly became Erl’s greatest landmark. Austria’s largest orchestra theater accommodates up to 1500 visitors. The 25-meter wide stage is tiered and provides a spectacular backdrop for the 500 passion play actors as well as the orchestra of the Tyrolean Festival Erl, which performs onstage as there is no orchestra pit. 


A café serving snacks and beverages was added in 1997 and an Art Room for 150 visitors was opened in 2003.  
When the Festspielhaus was renovated between October 2006 and April 2007 all sanitary facilities were upgraded; an “orchestra pit” with scissor lift and a substructure for the main stage were added; the auditorium got equipped with a deaf loop system and a new floor; the catwalk, the exterior design, the cellar beneath the donkey ramp, the refreshment stand, all electrical installations and the ventilation system were replaced; and the wardrobe and the stairway renovated.  






Germany, Eastern Austria
A8 Munich-Salzburg, Autobahndreieck Inntal, A 93, Motorway exit Nussdorf/Brannenburg or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf

Italy, Switzerland, Western Austria
Inntalautobahn A 12, motorway exit Kufstein Nord or Oberaudorf/Niederndorf; from Italy: after Brenner Pass take A 13 and A 12 (approx. 1 h 20 min to Erl); from the Swiss border it’s a 3 hour drive to Erl; the entire journey is on motorways and expressways.

In Austria, the use of motorways and expressways is subject to payment of a toll.

Munich – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Salzburg – Erl approx. 1 hour by car
Innsbruck – Erl approx. 45 hour by car



All long distance and regional trains stop in Kufstein. 




Innsbruck (90 km),
Salzburg (90 km),
München (110 km).


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