2016 - 2000 || 1999-1985
The rightly acclaimed star of this production is Christiane Oelze, a singer of Festspiel rank. The strikingly individual soprano from Cologne, who has made a name for herself as a lyric soprano at international festivals such as Glyndebourne and Salzburg, is not only an opera singer but also an intelligent interpreter of oratorio roles. She orbits like a shining star, hovering serenely over the battling creatures and thunderclouds below. And she uses her light head voice, highly polished legato technique and inimitable timbre to punctuate the somewhat antiquated lyrics of the duet ‘Holder Gatte’ (Sweet Companion) with touches of irony.

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, J. Haydn/Schöpfung, Academy-of-St-Martin-in-the-fields, Sir Neville Marriner, NRZ 13.1.1999

A superlative evening in which we experienced a singer with a bell-like lyrical timbre whose exquisite yet natural manner of singing was utterly entrancing. There was nothing artificial or mannered here, although each phrase was carefully moulded. And the expression of different moods was perfectly integrated into the strophic flow of the song, as it should be in good singing of Schubert.

Schubert-Zyklus Kölner Philharmonie 1997, Irwin Gage, Köln. Rundschau 24.6.1997

Christiane Oelze sang her great role with enchanting soprano melodiousness and light operatic agility: it sparkled and twittered joyously. In the passages in the third part where she played the role of Eve, she tempered Eve’s, for us, unbelievable naïvity with a tinge of irony, declaring domestic war on ‘Adam’ from a position of subjugation.

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, Rheinische Post, 13.1.1999

Oelze was convincing, because she never exaggerated. Her use of gesturing and mimicry was sparing and merely suggestive. Each word could be clearly understood but was still sung with emotion. Whether in ‘pianissimo’ or ‘forte’, her voice retained its core and flexibility. Here we experienced a mature artist at work, contrasting in a fascinating way with her own youthfulness.

Liederabend, Wolf, Debussy, Granados, Mompou, Rudolf Jansen, Stuttgarter Zeitung 19.9.1998

So far as the cast is concerned, Gardiner scores an outright winner with his Pamina. For all Mannion’s conviction (Christie) and Bonney’s purity of utterance (Oestman), Oelze surpasses them in her wonderfully eager, tender outpouring of sound, and the advantage of being a native-born German-speaker is obvious in both sung and spoken passages. This is a lovely performance, perhaps as beguiling as any on disc.

Archiv-CD-Produktion, W.A. Mozart/Die Zauberflöte, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, J.E. Gardiner, Grammophone issue 10/1996

The third jewel in the cast was Christiane Oelze as Zdenka. The hypercritical might ask for more weigth of tone, but her singing was sweet and true, and her bodylanguage simply heart-rending. Zdenka is, of course, the most interesting character in the opera, and Oelze knows and is worthy of it.

London/Covent Garden, ‚Arabella’, ROH Orchestra, Mark Elder, Times 29.3.1996

The true vocal star was CO as the unbelievably beautiful Pamina. The moving effect she produced with purely vocal means in her duet with Papageno, in her solo aria and in the quartet with the three boys, was fantastic.

Die Zauberflöte’, Amsterdam, Concertgebouw, J. E. Gardiner, Trouw 21.6.1995

The most impressive voice in this ‘Magic Flute’ is that of Pamina, sung by the German soprano Christiane Oelze. A true natural talent with an incredible lightness to her singing. She is the female counterpart of Fischer-Dieskau; her voice is a priceless instrument. Her aria ‘Ach ich fühl’s’ is rarely to be heard with such beautiful sonority, so full of grief.

Algemeen Dagblad, 21.6.1995

...Christiane Oelze, who’s duet at the start of act 2 was as near heaven as Der Freischütz can get. Oelze flitted through Aennchen’s music like a nightingale – pert, quickwinged, true.

London/Barbican, Freischütz, ROH Orchestra and Chorus, Bernhard Haitink, Financial Times, 3/1996

Frau Oelze has a voice as clear as a bell with a volume ranging from restrained ‘pianissimo’ to powerful ‘forte’. She also gave the lieder well-placed dramatic accents, so that the abstruse and complex verses were understandable throughout though challenging to interpret.

Liederabend Linz, Brucknerhaus, Rudolf Jansen, Neues Volksblatt 21.12.1995

Christiane Oelze, a German soprano with the purest voice and most moving delivery, performed the song cycle with simple, unadorned intimacy. No artifice was used to maximize effects, no raised platform to create an elevated distance. Instead, Beethoven’s lieder winged their seductive way straight to the listening ear.

Beethovenfest Bonn,225. Geburtstag, Lippescher Palais, Melvyn Tan, Die Welt, Klaus Geitel 9.1995

She sings a melody both gently and firmly, without pressing or fussing it; her scale-work is immaculate, as is her intonation. The tone itself ist he most lovely thing of all, and we have to reflect that greater expressiveness may come with time, but this is that precious and often short-lived season, the springtime of the voice.

Mozart-Konzertarien, Kammerorchester Carl-Philipp-Emanuel-Bach, Hartmut Haenchen, Berlin Classics 1993, Grammophone 1/1995

Christiane Oelze is also a well-known name. Her Pamina radiated lyrical purity, like a halo over the soprano line.

Ludwigsburger Festspiele, Stuttgarter Zeitung, 4.7.1995

Soprano Christiane Oelze gave a great performance in the Käthe Kollwitz – Museum with works of Hugo Wolf, Britten, Bernstein, Barber und Richard Strauss. A miracle of refined singing and perfect musical coordination, also thanks to the pianist Eric Schneider whose playing style was somewhat reminiscent of Glenn Gould.

Kölnische Rundschau, 1994

Over an underlay such as this, Christiane Oelze’s virtuosic, crystal clear soprano melisma were able to freely weave their way.

Musikverein Wien, J.S. Bach, H-Moll-Messe, Wiener Philharmoniker, Riccardo Muti, Die Presse, 30.5.1994

With the soprano Christiane Oelze, it was a different matter: She shaped the words of Picander’s text from deep within herself, forcing nothing so that the expression seemed to arise naturally. There was a fascinating youthful timbre in her arias, combined in ‘Blute nur, du liebes Herze’ with a thrilling emotional intensity.

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, J.S. Bach/Matthäuspassion, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, WZ 29.3.1994

… to experience a voice evenly balanced and secure in all registers with a delightful timbre and enough tension to bring dynamically restrained passages to an emotional climax.

FAZ, 10.9.1993

Christiane Oelze’s appeal lay in her clarity, her intelligent and refined phrasing, her musicality and the beauty of her soprano voice.

Bach/Respighi, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger 4./5.12.1993

The absolute star among the soloists was Christiane Oelze as Iphis with her radiant youthful soprano voice and touchingly intuitive expression, at the head of an altogether outstanding and harmonious ensemble of excellent soloists.

“(Jephta/Händel, Akademie für Alte Musik, Rias Kammerchor, Marcus Creed, 25..6.1992

There is nothing arbitrary about this young soprano’s singing: nuanced in expression, with carefully measured crescendos and lightness of tone, but capable of dramatic outbursts and passionate displays of emotion.

Liederabend Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Irwin Gage, Fuldaer Zeitung, 11.9.1993

The young soprano Christiane Oelze from Cologne was the star of the evening. … It was a joy to listen to her clear, ringing voice with its pleasant vibrato. With her power of expression and clear articulation, Christiane Oelze should also be well-suited for opera, especially if she succeeds in building up the strength and volume of her voice.

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, J.S. Bach/Matthäuspassion, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, WZ 29.3.1994

The bell-like voice of Christiane Oelze as Bubikopf rang out over the final chorale.

V. Ullmann „Der Kaiser von Atlantis“, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Lothar Zagrosek, Decca, Opernglas Nr. 11, 1992

Christiane Oelze was the ideal interpreter for the naïve-ironic final song with its child’s dream of an imagined heaven. Finding the right balance between naïveté and worldly realism in the mood of the piece is notoriously difficult but was achieved [by Oelze] with no hint of affectation and demonstrated her matchless vocal technique and versatility, as it were in passing.

Aachen, Mahler, 4. Sinfonie, Gabriel Chmura, Aachener Volkszeitung, 3.9.1993

Above all, Christiane Oelze: to listen to her perfectly balanced, incredibly light soprano voice with its instrumental flexibility and animated yet intimate tone quality was a rare pleasure. Even more important perhaps was the incredibly spontaneous musicality of the young singer and the vibrancy and richness of nuance in her delivery, evident in each and every note. This combined with highly differentiated phrasing and the many subtle details in her arias and recitatives.

Mannheim, Rosengarten, J. Haydn/Schöpfung, Chorus und Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Sir Neville Marriner, Rheinpfalz 20.1.1992

Among the newcomers in the cast, Christiane Oelze was outstanding in the role of Constanze. (Very young, almost still a girl, as the role itself is described) - nowhere near mature). But there’s a rare talent in evidence here. I’ve not heard a voice of such clarity, solidity and refinement for a long time. Above all, she sings with a degree of sensitivity that you would scarcely expect from a beginner.

Salzburger Festspiele, Entführung aus dem Serail, Dresdner Staatskapelle/Horst Stein, Wien, Kurier 4.8.1991

Christiane Oelze was charming as the servant girl Despina.

Ottawa, National Arts Centre, W.A. Mozart „Cosi fan tutte, NAC Chorus and Orchestra, Gabriel Chmura, Gazette Juli 1990

She was the undisputed star of the concert, a stroke of good fortune. She is predestined to be a Mozart singer. Commanding a voice that carries well but is easily modulated, she masters demanding parts with apparently effortless ease and precision and with a simplicity that is deeply moving. It’s simply phenomenal. The absolute peak of her vocal skill was shown however in ‘Et incarnatus est’ from the Great C-Minor Mass, which carried us in its consummate beauty and graceful correspondence with the oboe line into celestial spheres, with the most delicate tones but a clearly sustained vocal line.

Würzburger Mozartfest, Mozart/C-Moll-Messe KV 497 und Vesperae de Solennes KV339, Chor und Orchester der Bamberger Symphoniker, Christoph Eschenbach, Fränkischer Tag 26.5.1991

Christiane Oelze in the title role gave us this melodiousness in full measure. Above all, her performance in the death scene will be hard to forget.

Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie Berlin, R. Schumann „Der Rose Pilgerfahrt“, Philip Mayers, Rias Kammerchor, Marcus Creed, Tagesspiegel 10.5.1998

The agile and expressive soprano voice of Christiane Oelze with its delicate vibrato perhaps came the closest to the ideal of inoffensive youthful naïveté.

Bachkantate BWV 68, Internationale Bachakademie, Gächinger Kantorei/Helmuth Rilling, Luxemburger Wort 21.5.1990

Three top ensembles were brought in, the RIAS Kammerchor, the Freiburger Barockorchester and the ensemble Tragicomedia. … they performed together with a group of seven soloists in inspired harmony … achieved through the solid stylistic discipline, with which they harnessed the potential of their finely trained voices for free bel canto expression to the correct performance of the work’s challenging ornamentation …

Philharmonie Berlin, C. Monteverdi/“Marienvesper“, Marcus Creed, , Tagesspiegel 3.1.1990

...Christiane Oelze, in particular, with her gleaming soprano voice extending from tender inner emotion to dramatizing passion, set the tone of the performance, which itself set standards in every respect.

Kammermusiksaal der Philharmonie Berlin, J. Haydn „Nelson-Messe“, Gächinger Kantorei, Bach-Collegium Stuttgart, Helmuth Rilling, Tagesspiegel Berlin 21.4.1989

Her timbre and subtle handling of the text is quite bewitching. Her ‘messa di voce’ glistens and gleams, and has an enchantingly soft and fine quality. Her high notes are placed quite effortlessly with absolute precision. Her wings spread wide over the arching phrases of the melody. Each ‘pianissimo’ is an acoustic miracle and as if that wasn’t enough, in the ‘Jerusalem’ aria – God knows how – an absolute revelation occurs: Time stands still and beauty is all around. Scarcely of this world – but by no means ethereal in nature.

St. Jakobskirche Rothenburg o.d.T., F.Mendessohn-Bartholdy/“Paulus“, Münchner Motettenchor, Residenzorchester, H.R.Zöbeley, Fränkische Landeszeitung 15.3.1990

When the solo soprano made her first entry in ‘Domine Deus’, we sat up, took notice –listened, were amazed and had to admire: the voice was silvery and crystal clear, the timbre unsullied at high pitch or volume; it shone in ‘forte’, still pure but never shrill. It was of gossamer lightness in ‘piano’ and absolutely clean even on the most difficult entries. The association with an angel’s voice is almost unavoidable but there in the programme stood the perfectly down-to-earth name: Christiane Oelze.- We heard an outstanding quartet of soloists. And so, with heavy heart, I will desist from eulogizing any further over Christiane Oelze’s soprano voice.

St. Jakobskirche, Rothenburg o.d.T., Poulenc/Gloria, W.A. Mozart-Requiem, St. Jakobs-Chor, Singgemeinschaft Petersaurach, Gerd Wachowski, Fränkischer Anzeiger 20.11.1989

The soprano Christiane Oelze was most appealing with her intensely expressive delivery, versatile yet controlled voice and broad dynamic range. She brought across the ascetic instrumental passage at the opening of the 4th movement’Ich fühle Luft von anderem Planeten (‘I feel the air from another planet’) as effectively and securely as ‘Kreisende’ (Circling) and ‘Webende’ (Weaving) – that symbiosis of Stefan George and Arnold Schönberg – very much in the sense of the words ‘Ich löse mich in Tönen’ (I dissolve in sounds) or ‘in einem Meer kristallnen Glanzes’ (in a sea of crystal radiance).

Wiesbaden, Schönberg Streichquartett Nr.2 op.10, Camerata-Quartett, Rhein-Main-Presse 21.1.1989

In a white, floor-length dress, Oelze made for a very striking and poised soloist in the Purcell. She sang with a lovely vibrato and a beautifully conctrolled, subtle trill. Hers is a voice ideal for music of the period and the gentle playing of the strings complimented her voice perfectly. There was more delightful singing in Bach’s cantata „Jauchzet Gott in allen Landen“, which turned out to bet the high point of the concert. It was, in fact, one of the most inspiring performances of music by the baroque master I’ve heard in some time. This soprano always seems mentally and physically prepared for every phrase, no matter how long, acrobatic or otherwise taxing it might be. As a result, she is able to make musical sense out of the most technically demanding music.

Tournee USA, J.S. Bach-Kantate Nr. 51, H. Purcell/Arien, Kölner Kammerorchester, Helmut Müller-Brühl, Konzert Troy/Schenectady Gazette, 16.10.1987

A soprano voice such as that of Christiane Oelze is rarely to be heard. A voice with such powers of modulation that the tiniest melodic phrases can carry you from immediate reality to far distant, other-worldly realms of sound.

Liederabend Rheydt, Eric Schneider, Rheinische Post 12.12.1988

... Christiane Oelze, whose duet at the start of Act 2 was as near heaven as ‘Der Freischütz’ can get. Oelze flitted through Aennchen’s music like a nightingale – pert, quick-winged, true

London/Barbican, Freischütz, ROH Orchestra and Chorus, Bernhard Haitink, Financial Times, 3/1996

Christiane Oelze’s Zerlina – her sound pure and natural, her character eager and unpretentious.

Mozart/Don Giovanni, London, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, ROH Orchestra, Dietfried Bernet, Evening Standard,19.11.1996

The songs are all short, and with so many expressive leaps and falls, and so many ‘dying away’ endings, they can begin to sound precious. Christiane Oelze avoids this by performing them with cool, beautiful exactness, always with a marvellous limpid tone.

Webern-Lieder, DGG 1994, Eric Schneider, BBC music Magazine, März 1996

Christiane Oelze sung these penetrating miniatures (Webern Op. 4), in which not a single note seems superfluous, with a secure and nuanced delivery and an admirable intensity of expression. Again, in the more romantic lieder of Robert Schumann, the vocal maturity with which Oelze brought out starkly contrasting emotions was quite captivating.

WZ 12.12.1988

2016 - 2000 || 1999-1985