For twenty years the Berliner Philharmoniker has celebrated its 1882 founding with a concert at a major European venue, and the 2011 event takes place at the magnificent Teatro Real in Madrid. The renowned orchestra, under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle, performs Joaquín Rodrigo’s beloved Concierto de Aranjuez, Emmanuel Chabrier’s exuberant España, and Sergey Rachmaninov’s dramatic Second Symphony. It is joined for the Concierto by the famous flamenco guitarist Cañizares, whose virtuosity and sensitivity are given full opportunity to shine in this multi-faceted and subtle work.
The Elbphilharmonie, the “hall of wonders” (The Guardian), is undoubtedly the new landmark of Hamburg, a monumental synthesis of breath-taking architecture, a unique location and a world-class concert hall. In varying instrumentation the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra under the baton of Principal Conductor Thomas Hengelbrock and several top-class soloists explores in the opening concert the possibilities of the Elbphilharmonie’s Grand Hall and ist acoustics with an exciting programme that spans across all musical eras, from the Renaissance to the present. It culminates in a brand-new commissioned work, created especially for this occasion by the most important living German composer, Wolfgang Rihm.
Gustav Mahlers 8th Symphony breaks the boundaries of the symphonic form in a world-embracing gesture. Riccardo Chailly is one of the staunchest performers of this work, and therefore it seemed appropriate in many ways that he chose this work for his inaugural concert as Claudio Abbados successor and new music director of the Lucerne Festival Orchestra. The artistic statement was combined with a deeply personal conviction: it should be a 'tribute to Claudio', the highly esteemed friend and colleague to whom Chailly, as he emphasizes, owes very much. On 12 August 2016, Claudio Abbados unfinished Mahler cycle with the Lucerne Festival Orchestra was completed in a breathtaking performance of the Mahler 8th, simultaneously heralding in a new era in Lucerne.
This must be one of the year's best performances of the Ninth Symphony. Not a trace of lofty heroism here - Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra bring out the life-affirming aspects of the work, culminating in a hymn of heartfelt naturalness from which the audience draws inner strength' (Mostly Classic).
On New Year’s Eve 2012 Joyce DiDonato became the first singer to take the title role in Donizetti’s Maria Stuarda at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. With her at its heart, the production became, in the words of Opera magazine, “a high point of the season and of the company’s performance history of bel canto operas”.
Andrea Chénier presents a fictionalized account of the last years of the French poet André Chénier, guillotined during the Reign of Terror in 1794. It is the greatest of Giordano’s operas and shows why Puccini sometimes feared Giordano as a rival. Taking the starring role of Chénier, with its three marvellous arias, is Jonas Kaufmann. Soprano Eva-Maria Westbroek sings the role of Chénier’s beloved Maddalena and baritone Željko Lučić stars as Carlo Gérard – the servant-turned-revolutionary who is Chénier’s rival for the love of Maddalena. David McVicar brings Giordano’s thrilling historical drama back to the Royal Opera House for the first time since 1985 in a stunning new production.
Captured live at London’s Royal Opera House, this Barbiere, with its unbeatable cast and the directors’ characteristic wit and intelligence, offers a unique dramatic twist: Joyce DiDonato, who had broken her leg on the opening night, went on with the show. As she said: “Being trapped in the wheelchair was a quite literal way of demonstrating Rosina's huge desire to break free.
Today it is difficult to imagine the impact on audiences at the beginning of the 20th century of Serge Diaghilev (1872-1929) and his Ballets Russes. In celebration of the debut of the Ballets Russes in Paris in 1909, this wonderful Stravinsky evening at the Mariinsky Theatre showcases the original Nijinsky version of The Rite of Spring for the first time on DVD along with The Firebird, both conducted by Valery Gergiev. Thanks to the relentless work of Millicent Hodson, Nijinsky's original choreography has now been recreated, performed by the lead dancers and Ballet Company of the Saint Petersburg's Mariinsky Theatre conducted by Valery Geriev, known the world over for his interpretation of Stravinsky's works.