Project Wolf-Ferrari


“I am hopelessly addicted to this music!
It came looking for me and hasn’t let me go since.”

Friedrich Haider


Since 2003 the German-Italian composer Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari (1876-1948) has been a central theme in the work of Friedrich Haider.

The Venice-born Wolf-Ferrari, who also lived and worked in Munich for many years, was ranked among the most performed composers of the world at the outset of the 20th century. Gustav Mahler dedicated himself in his role as conductor to Wolf-Ferrari’s work, as did Arturo Toscanini, Felix Mottl and Clemens Krauss.

Wolf-Ferrari’s compositions included chamber music, oratories and lieder. In his work for the opera, he was largely responsible for revitalizing the “opera buffa” with his utterly novel and individual musical language. Several comedies by the Venetian playwright Carlo Goldoni served as a template for his libretti. Among Wolf-Ferrari’s major successes are “Le donne curiose” (“The Inquisitive Women”), “Il Segreto di Susanna” (“Susanna’s Secret”), “I quarto Rusteghi” (“School for Fathers”), and “Il Campiello” (“The Little Square”).

It was with an operatic concert of “Il segreto di Susanna” at Munich’s Prinzregententheater (Judith Howarth, Renato Bruson, Munich Radio Orchestra) in 2003 that Friedrich Haider first officially began immersing himself in the work of Wolf-Ferrari. And in 2008 he launched his world-premier recordings of the composer’s complete orchestral works. The first CD from this undertaking (Orchestral Suites / Oviedo Filarmonia) has already been released as part of a “Wolf-Ferrari Edition” by the label Philartis Vienna.

Friedrich Haider not only wants to complete the orchestral series by the spring of 2011, he also wants to release recordings of Wolf-Ferrari’s violin concerto (with Benjamin Schmid), his “sacred mystery” the “Talitha Kumi”, and his complete a capella choral works. In the same year the conductor is also planning to publish a new edition of the composer’s writings.