Matthias Goerne, the world- renowned German baritone, attempts the formidable challenge of singing Schubert’s three major song cycles over three days in Tokyo this month. This will be his third appearance at the Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, following rapturous praise for his performances in 2003 and 2005.

Born in 1967, Goerne has won both international competitions and concert audiences worldwide with his warm, fluid baritone. A singer currently in his prime, heralded “A master of song, operating at full power” by the New York Times earlier this year, he is particularly highly respected as a German Lieder (art song) singer, commanding the stage with profound interpretations and powerful expression.

Schubert’s “Die Schone Mullerin (The Miller’s Beautiful Daughter),” “Winterreise (Winter Journey)” and “Schwanengesang (Swan Song)” are three of the finest examples of German Lieder, songs performed by one voice and piano, catching the essence of romantic spirit in a spontaneous melodic expression of feeling. Goerne’s powerful, evocative voice is a perfect match for the sense of tragedy that overshadows Schubert’s masterpieces.

“Die Schone Mullerin,” portraying a young man who falls in love with the maiden in the mill, was written in 1823 when Schubert became seriously ill, while the despondent “Winterreise,” a story of unrequited love, was composed in 1827, a year before his death. Goerne crowns his Tokyo trip with “Schwanengesang,” a group of individual songs collected posthumously, whose lyrics, taken from poems by German poets Ludwig Rellstab and Heinrich Heine, venture into the supernatural.

Matthias Goerne will be performing with pianist Alexander Schmalcz. The concerts take place at Tokyo Opera City Concert Hall, Sept. 19 (7 p.m.), 21 (7 p.m.) and 24 (4 p.m.). Tickets are ¥3,000 to ¥5,000 for each performance, or ¥14,000 for the best seats at all three. For tickets, call the Tokyo Opera City Ticket Center on (03) 5353-9999 or visit www.operacity.jp.

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