Hakan Hagegard | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Hakan Hagegard


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Swedish baritone Hakan Hagegard doesn't have Pavarotti's flash or Ben Heppner's power, but he doesn't need them: though he's had moderate success on the operatic stage, he's found his niche in more intimate settings. In 1975, seven years after debuting as Papageno in a Stockholm production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, he reprised the role in Ingmar Bergman's movie version. He's winsome and beguiling in the film, spicing his exuberant arias with a touch of comic exasperation, but in a large hall--for instance, in the Lyric's 1995 staging of John Corigliano's The Ghosts of Versailles--his voice often seems thin and his acting pallid. Still, over the years he's evolved into an exciting, eloquent, and exacting singer of nonoperatic works, like Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. In particular he excels at lieder--a specialty he shares with Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, whom he resembles in looks as well as in voice--and as one of only a handful of Scandinavian singers to achieve international renown, he's also made a point of spotlighting music from his part of the world. Consequently, though the centerpieces of his Ravinia program are in German--Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer and six monologues by Frank Martin that take their text from Jedermann, Hugo von Hofmannsthal's 1911 retelling of the Everyman allegory--he also includes songs by a little-known fellow Swede, Ture Rangstrom, and Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Rounding out the bill are songs by Ravel and Hugo Wolf; accompanying Hagegard is pianist Phillip Moll. Wednesday, 8 PM, Martin Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 847-266-5100. TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Christein Steiner.

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