Brendel replaces James Morris, who requested release from his Dallas contract to accept a replacement offer of his own: he will fill in for Ren_ Pape as Hans Sachs in Wagner's Die Meistersinger von N‹rnberg at the Berlin Staatsoper.
While Morris is already known for his Sachs in the U.S. (he has played the part at the Met and San Francisco Opera), this will be his first performance of the role in Europe. It will also be his first time working with conductor Daniel Barenboim, the Staatsoper's music director.
"Mr. Morris did not cancel his Dallas engagement," Dallas Opera Director of Artistic Administration Jonathan Pell said in a statement released yesterday. "He merely asked if we would consider releasing him to accept this important opportunity. When we learned we could acquire the services of Mr. Brendel in the role, an artist of international stature, it seemed that we could grant the request of Mr. Morris and not risk compromising our 2008 season finale in any way."
Born in 1947 in Munich, Wolfgang Brendel has won acclaim on three continents for his performances in roles ranging from Ford (in Falstaff) to Amfortas (in Parsifal) to Scarpia to (as it happens) Hans Sachs. He has a long association with his hometown company, the Bavarian State Opera, where he became the youngest artist ever to receive the honorary title of Kammers‹nger. Brendel was seen at the Metropolitan Opera this past spring in the new production of Strauss's Die ‹gyptische Helena starring Deborah Voigt and Diana Damrau.
The Baltimore-born Morris has been one of the world's most renowned bass-baritones for two decades; he is famed for his Wotan in Wagner's Ring cycle, a role he has recorded twice. Other parts for which he is well-known include Wagner's Flying Dutchman, Verdi's Philip II (Don Carlo) and Amonasro (Aida), Mephistopheles in Gounod's Faust and Claggart in Britten's Billy Budd.
The Dallas Opera's revival of Puccini's Tosca, with Catherine Naglestad making her company debut in the title role and Massimo Giordani as Cavaradossi alongside Brendel, runs on March 7, 9, 12 and 15, 2008 at the Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas. The Berlin Staatsoper's production of Wagner's Die Meistersinger von N‹rnberg, with Burkhard Fritz, Ekaterina Semenchuk and Roman Trekel starring along with Morris, runs on March 16, 19 and 24 at the Staatsoper Unter den Linden in Berlin.