Mascagni´s opera Iris was released in March 2021 by Oehms Classics. This performance featuring the choir and orchestra of the Berliner Operngruppe under Felix Krieger is a live recording of the Berlin premiere of the opera, just before the Covid-crisis. The venue was the Konzerthaus Berlin. The Berliner Operngruppe was celebrating its 10th anniversary.

Pietro Mascagni (1863–1945) is one of those composers who are famous for a single work, in his case for Cavalleria rusticana, the rest of their output remaining practically unknown. His beautiful opera Iris, worldpremiered 1898 in Rome, is based on a libretto by Luigi Illica, who also wrote the libretti for Puccini operas such as La Bohème, Tosca and Madama Butterfly. It was Illica who gave birth to the idea of an opera about Japan. Exotic subjects set in distant lands were in vogue throughout Europe at the time, particularly those set in the Far East. It was Mascagni’s express wish to write ‘original’ music for this specific material, something that was previously unheard-of.

“The impression made by the orchestra of the Berliner Operngruppe under Felix Krieger was overwhelming, who brilliantly conveyed Mascagni’s multi-layered music with its shimmering strings, the impressionistic-melancholy mood and the luxuriant melody.” – Bernd Hoppe, Opera Lounge

Listen/buy the album here: Link