17 Apr 2012

Mishap at the Musikfreunde

Tenor Johan Botha had just started carving his steak when his phone rang. A director of Vienna’s Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde was on the line with an emergency request.

On March 29, at the famed Musikvereinsaal, Zubin Mehta and the Munich Philharmonic were to set to begin the concert’s second half, the imposing Das Lied von der Erde of Gustav Mahler.

Minutes before the end of the intermission, the scheduled tenor Thorsten Kerl suddenly began to experience pain and dizzy spells. Botha, having this work in his repertory, agreed to help and flagged a cab. He arrived after baritone Thomas Hampson had already began the symphonic song cycle. He sang the three tenor movements and the audience rewarded Mehta, Hampson and Botha with “thunderous cheers” according to the Viennese press.

Thomas_Hampson.gifThomas Hampson [Photo courtesy of Centre Stage Artist Management]

Kerl has recovered from his indisposition and the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde (Society for Friends of Music) has another anecdote for their 200th anniversary year.

Frank Cadenhead