Norwegian Chamber Orchestra

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Norwegian Chamber Orchestra (Photo by Mona Ødegaard)

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Lucas Debargue plays Domenico Scarlatti, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Maurice Ravel, Franz Liszt, Erik Satie and Frédéric Chopin – Grange de Meslay, 2016 (HD 1080p)














Rising French pianist Lucas Debargue performs four sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, Maurice Ravel's three-part suite Gaspard de la nuit, Franz Liszt's Mephisto Waltz No.1, Erik Satie's Gnossienne No.1, and Frédéric Chopin's Grande valse brillante in E flat major. Recorded at the Grange de Meslay, Fêtes Musicales en Touraine on June 26, 2016.



There hasn't been a foreign pianist who has caused such a stir since Glenn Gould's arrival in Moscow in the midst of the Cold War, or Van Cliburn's victory at the Tchaikovsky Competition. — Olivier Bellamy, Le Huffington Post

French pianist Lucas Debargue was discovered through his performances at the 15th International Tchaikovsky Competition held in Moscow in year 2015. Although placing only fourth in the final round, he was the only musician across all disciplines who was awarded with the coveted Moscow Music Critic's Prize as a pianist who's "incredible gift, artistic vision, and creative freedom have impressed the critics as well as the audience".

Straight after this incredible breakthrough Lucas Debargue was invited to play solo and with leading orchestras in the most prestigious concert halls of the world: the Grand Hall of Tchaikovsky Conservatory and the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow; Mariinsky Theatre Concert Hall and St Petersburg Philharmonic Hall; Theatre des Champs Elysées, Salle Gaveau and Paris Philharmonic; Conservatory of Milan; Wigmore Hall and Royal Festival Hall in London; Amsterdam's Concertgebouw; Prinzregententheater in Munich and the Berlin Philharmonic Hall; Konserthuset in Stockholm; Carnegie Hall in New York and further prestigious concert halls in Tokyo, Osaka, Chicago, Montréal, Toronto, Seattle, Mexico, Beijing, Taipei, Shanghai, Seoul...

He also collaborates with such famous conductors as Valery Gergiev, Andrey Boreyko, Mikhail Pletnev, Vladimir Spivakov, Yutaka Sado, Tugan Sokhiev and he also appears regularly in chamber music ensembles with Gidon Kremer, Janine Jansen and Martin Fröst.

Lucas Debargue was born in 1990. His path to becoming a pianist was all but conventional: he began studying piano when he was 11 but soon switched to literature and graduated from Paris Diderot University with a Bachelor's Art Degree. Although focusing on literature, he also took time to work his way through a large part of the core piano repertoire during his younger years.

He began his professional piano training only after he had turned 20 years old. This came about after a meeting with the celebrated piano teacher Rena Shereshevskaya, who offered him the opportunity to join her class at the École Normale de Musique de Paris "Alfred Cortot" in 2011. This decision committed him to a musical path. In 2014 he won the 1st prize at the 9th Gaillard International Piano Competition (France) before becoming one of the prize winners at the 15th Tchaikovsky Competition. In April 2016 he obtained a "Diplôme Supérieur de Concertiste" and a Special Cortot Prize from the Cortot School. He currently continues to work with Rena Shereshevskaya at the postgraduate level of the same school.

A performer of fierce integrity and dazzling communicative power, Lucas Debargue draws inspiration from literature, painting, cinema and jazz and develops very personal interpretation of a carefully selected repertoire. Though the core piano repertoire is central in his career, Lucas Debargue is also known to present works by lesser-known composers such as Nikolai Medtner, Nikolai Roslavets or Milosz Magin. He also composes and performs his own music: a concertino for piano, percussions and string orchestra with Kremerata Baltica was premiered June 2017 in Cēsis, Latvia and a piano trio was performed in September 2017 at the Paris Fondation Louis Vuitton.

Lucas Debargue's record label is Sony Classical and he has already released three solo albums – "Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel" (2016); "Bach, Beethoven, Medtner" (2016) and "Schubert & Szymanowski" (2017). In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious German music prize "ECHO Klassik".

He has also been the subject of a documentary "Lucas Debargue: To Music", directed by Martin Mirabel and produced by Bel Air Media. The movie follows the pianist in the aftermath of his success at the Tchaikovsky Competition and was released in the autumn 2017.

Source: lucasdebargue.com



Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)

♪ Sonata in A major, K.208, L.238 [1:15]*
 Sonata in A major, K.24, L.495 [5:15]
 Sonata in C major, K.132, L.457 [9:55]
♪ Sonata in D minor,  K.141, L.422 [14:34]


Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)

♪ Piano Sonata No.8 in A minor, K.310 (1778) [17:45]

i. Allegro maestoso
ii. Andante cantabile con espressione
iii. Presto


Maurice Ravel (1875-1937)


♪ Gaspard de la nuit, M.55 (1908) [35:23]

i. Ondine
ii. Le Gibet
iii. Scarbo


Franz Liszt (1811-1886)

♪ Mephisto Waltz No.1, S.514 "Der Tanz in der Dorfschenke / The Dance in the Village Inn" (1860) [58:35]



Encores:

Erik Satie (1866-1925)

♪ Gnossienne No.1 (1890) [1:10:24]


Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849)

♪ Grande valse brillante in E flat major, Op.18 (1833) [1:13:36]



Lucas Debargue, piano

Direction by François-René Martin

Grange de Meslay, Fêtes Musicales en Touraine, June 26, 2016

Uploaded on Youtube for the Blog "Faces of Classical Music"

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each work



















































More photos


See also

Olivier Messiaen: Quatuor pour la fin du temps – Martin Fröst, Lucas Debargue, Janine Jansen, Torleif Thedéen (Download 96kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)

Lucas Debargue plays Franz Schubert & Karol Szymanowski (Download 96kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)


Maurice Ravel: Gaspard de la nuit – Lucas Debargue (HD 1080p)


Lucas Debargue plays Johann Sebastian Bach, Ludwig van Beethoven & Nikolai Medtner (Download 96kHz/16bit)


Lucas Debargue plays Scarlatti, Chopin, Liszt, Ravel, Grieg & Schubert (Download 44.1kHz/16bit)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Sergei Prokofiev: Romeo and Juliet Suites – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Mei-Ann Chen (HD 1080p)














Under the baton of the Taiwanese American conductor Mei-Ann Chen, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra performs Sergei Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet Suites, Op.64a. Recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall, on May 4, 2018.

Shakespeare's immortal drama inspired some of the most original and colourful music Prokofiev wrote in his career. It follows and comments the tragic love story with powerful orchestral explosions and sympathetic themes which seem to be aware of the characters' inner feelings and thoughts. When the music was edited into suites, the music conquered the world and since then belongs to the repertoire of great orchestral music.



Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)

♪ Romeo and Juliet, Suite for orchestra, Op.64a No.1 (1936) [00:30]*

i. Folk Dance
ii. Scene
iii. Madrigal
iv. Minuet
v. Masks
vi. Balcony scene
vii. Death of Tybalt


♪ Romeo and Juliet, Suite for orchestra, Op.64a No.2 (1936) [32:40]

i. The Montagues and the Capulets
ii. Juliet - The Little Girl
iii. Friar Laurence
iv. Dance
v. Romeo and Juliet Before Parting
vi. Dance of the Maids from the Antilles
vii. Romeo at Juliet's Grave


Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Mei-Ann Chen

Gothenburg Concert Hall, May 4, 2018

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each work















Suite No.1

Sergei Prokofiev extracted three orchestral suites and a set of ten piano transcriptions from his ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet (1935-1936). It was his practice to recycle music from his larger works, and he scored a number of successes doing so. The Second Suite from Romeo and Juliet, for example, has become the most popular offshoot and is more familiar than the ballet itself.

The First Suite has nearly attained that level of currency, as well, in the both concert hall and on record. Its seven numbers do not follow the chronology in the ballet and sometimes incorporate music from more than one section. This was typical of Prokofiev's method in his fairly literal transcriptions and suites, as he sought to create a composition with a somewhat different emotional center of gravity from the source work.

Structurally, each movement in the Suite No.1 is sounder than its more action-defined counterpart in the ballet. The opening movement is Folk Dance, derived from the first dance in the Second Act (No.22). The music here is festive and joyous, at times sounding ecstatic and as far removed from the work's ultimate tragedy as it could be. The orchestration is colorful, the rhythmic main theme catchy and danceable, and the overall effect invigorating. The second movement, Scene comes from No.3, The Street Awakens. The music here is jovial and features an air of nonchalance in its sparse but colorful orchestration. At about a minute-and-a-half, it is the shortest of the seven numbers here.

Madrigal is derived from the like-named No.16 in the First Act. The music here depicts the burgeoning love of Romeo for Juliet. Minuet is next, bringing the bright, celebratory music of No.11 from the ballet. A more festive and high-spirited mood would be hard to imagine.

Masques is the ensuing movement and corresponds to No.12 in the First Act. It is music that features an infectious theme, a simple but deftly-orchestrated rhythm, and thoroughly colorful writing throughout. Oddly, this movement sounds tamer in any orchestral version compared with the grittier piano rendering in the Ten Pieces from Romeo and Juliet. Up to this point, the selections in the Suite No.1 correspond closely with the order in the Ten Pieces, for piano: the first two and the fifth are the same, and the fourth here corresponds to the third in the piano version.

The sixth and seventh, however, like the third, have no actual counterpart in the piano version, even if some themes are shared. Romeo and Juliet, the penultimate movement here, relates mainly to No.21 in the First Act, Romeo and Juliet's love dance, but also incorporates music from No.19, Balcony Scene. Prokofiev made minor changes in the orchestration of this section, in the end distilling some of the most passionate and powerful music he ever wrote. This movement features the famous love theme, one of the two most popular melodies in the ballet, the other being the march-like theme that depicts the conflict between the Montagues and Capulets, which appears in the Second Suite.

The last movement, Death of Tybalt derives mainly from Nos. 33, Tybalt and Mercutio fight, and 35, Romeo avenges Mercutio's death. But, again, Prokofiev makes some changes in the orchestration that enhance the suspenseful, exhilarating music in the first half. The brassy, funereal music in the latter part is left essentially as it appears in the ballet.

A concert performance of this music lasts about a half-hour. Prokofiev published the score in 1938.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)



Suite No.2

Frustrated by the delays in getting his full-length ballet Romeo and Juliet premiered – both the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow and the Kirov in Leningrad, which commissioned it, originally rejected it as "undanceable" – Prokofiev assembled two suites for concert use, adding a third some years later. The Second Suite is the one most often encountered; it was first performed in Leningrad in 1937.

The half-hour suite does not follow the action (which hews closely to Shakespeare); instead, it is a series of character pieces and scenes, almost a "greatest hits" collection drawn from the full work. The number-one hit leads off the suite: Montagues and Capulets. This begins with a gradually layered brass chord that results in a crushing dissonance soon resolved into soft string chords, all of which represents the conflict between Romeo's family and Juliet's. The sequence is repeated once, then goes straight into what in the full ballet is called Dance of the Knights; this is the heavy, snarling, angular march- like music to which the macho Capulet men dance at their masked ball. This contrasts with a delicate, somewhat unsettling minor-mode woodwind minuet for Juliet and her suitor, the young nobleman Paris. The knights' music returns, again exploiting the orchestra's lowest registers.

The Young Juliet, with its skittering string scales and playful use of woodwinds and light percussion, begins as a portrait of a squirmy teenager. A more tender clarinet theme represents Juliet's innocence. After a brief return of the opening material, broad, lyrical themes for the woodwinds and cello, and eventually the other strings, suggest the girl's budding emotional maturity. A slow, sensitive coda perhaps alludes to the tragedy in her immediate future. Friar Laurence is a plodding but sympathetic portrait of the man of the cloth who facilitates Romeo and Juliet's romance – and, inadvertently, their deaths. The man is represented by a solemn legato theme kept low in the orchestra.

Dance has nothing to do with the plot. It's a light, brilliant scherzo, something of a tarantella, with the ever-rising tune melting from one brass or woodwind instrument to another in mid-phrase. Romeo at Juliet's Before Parting opens with a wistful flute solo – the flute represents Juliet through much of the score. This is a slow, quiet, nocturnal segment that begins to open up with a short horn phrase that leads straight into the cadential chords associated with Romeo near the beginning of the full ballet. The music's ardor and instrumental thickness gradually increase, mingling the Romeo and Juliet material, then the ecstatic, yearning horn theme breaks out in full, topped off with the Romeo motif. This material repeats, fuller and louder, yet ultimately backs down into a long, mysterious passage that foreshadows the main theme from the tomb scene at the story's (and suite's) end.

Dance of the Antilles Girls is brief, quiet, and rather ritualistic, with another sinuous, upward-reaching melody that is passed among the orchestral soloists. Romeo at the Grave of Juliet is drawn from the ballet's concluding pages; it begins with a long, slow, anguished theme for the strings that is taken up briefly by the horns. The other brass instruments enter with their own slight variants. The earlier love music struggles forward, now in a minor mode, but is overpowered by the brass with the funereal material that opened the section. A delicate reminiscence in the woodwinds of the love music eases the suite to a quiet, resigned conclusion.

Source: James Reel (allmusic.com)















Praised for her dynamic, passionate conducting style, Taiwanese American conductor Mei-Ann Chen is acclaimed for infusing orchestras with energy, enthusiasm and high-level music-making, galvanizing audiences and communities alike. Appointed Music Director of the MacArthur Award-winning Chicago Sinfonietta in 2011 and as Artistic Director & Conductor for the National Taiwan Symphony Orchestra Summer Festival since 2016 she is highly regarded as a compelling communicator and an innovative leader both on and off the podium. A sought-after guest conductor, she continues to expand her relationships with orchestras worldwide.

North American guesting credits include appearances with the Symphony Orchestras of Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Chicago, Detroit, Fort Worth, Houston, Indianapolis, National, Nashville, Oregon, Pacific, River Oaks Chamber, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Vancouver, to name a few. Overseas guest engagements include the symphonies of BBC Scottish, Denmark's National, Aalborg, Aarhus, and Odense, Sweden's Gavle, Gothenburg, Helsingborg, Malmo, and Norrkoping, Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra at the Concertgebouw, Norwegian Radio and Trondheim Symphony, Finland's Tampere Philharmonic, Austria's Grosses Orchester Graz, Germany's Badische Staatskapelle Karlsruhe, Brazil's Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra and Minas Gerais Philharmonic, Orquesta Sinfonica Nacional de Mexico, and Taiwan Philharmonic, National Taiwan & Taipei Symphony Orchestras. Her U.S. summer music festival credits include Aspen, Grant Park, Grand Teton, Ravinia, Texas, and Wintergreen. Future engagements include debuts with Austria's Tonkunstler Orchester, Denmark's Copenhagen Philharmonic on a 7-city tour, Germany's Wurth Philharmonic, Netherlands Residentie Orkest, Norway's Oslo Philharmonic, Switzerland's Basel, Turkey's Bilkent, and return engagement highlights include Atlanta Symphony Orchestra for its Gala program with Lang Lang, and multiple return engagements to Austria's Recreation Grosses Orchester Graz and Sweden's Malmo Symphony Orchestra.

Recognized as someone who has redefined the orchestra experience, amongst Ms. Chen's honors and awards are being named one of the 2015 Top 30 Influencers by Musical America, (the bible of the performing arts industry); 2012 Helen M. Thompson Award from the League of American Orchestras; Winner, the 2007 Taki Concordia Fellowship; and First Prize Winner, the prestigious Malko Competition in 2005. Ms. Chen also is the recipient of several ASCAP awards for innovative programming during her tenure as the Music Director of Chicago Sinfonietta and Portland Youth Philharmonic in Oregon (2002-2007). Ms. Chen is also Conductor Laureate of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, having served as Music Director from 2010 to 2016.

Born in Taiwan in 1973, Mei-Ann Chen came to the United States to study violin in 1989 and became the first student in New England Conservatory's history to receive master's degrees simultaneously in both violin and conducting. She later studied with Kenneth Kiesler at the University of Michigan, where she earned a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in conducting. Ms. Chen participated in the National Conductor Preview, National Conducting Institute, Aspen American Academy of Conducting, and Pierre Monteux School.

Source: meiannchen.com







































More photos


See also


Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra – All the posts

Friday, June 15, 2018

Dan Forrest: Jubilate Deo – Nikki Eoute, Laura Brundage, Heather Huron, Rivertree Singers Festival Chorus, Rivertree Singers, Warren Cook (HD 1080p)














Watch the Southeast premiere of Dan Forrest's newest major work, Jubilate Deo, under the baton of Warren Cook! The festival performance, June 25, 2016 was in Greenville, South Carolina, and featured over 190 singers, orchestra, and comments from the composer. Jubilate Deo is a seven-movement setting of Psalm 100: "Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth". The work presents portions of the Psalm in eight different languages, representing "all the earth" resounding with joy. Festival singers also enjoyed a reception with Dan Forrest hosted by Rivertree Singers. The concert was held at Rodeheaver Auditorium on the campus of Bob Jones University.

Dan Forrest states: Jubilate Deo portrays the global aspect of the traditional Psalm 100 text, "O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands", by setting it in seven different languages and drawing from a wide spectrum of musical influences. Each movement combines some characteristics of its language-group's musical culture with the composer's own musical language. The opening movement sets the ancient liturgical Latin translation of the Psalm in a rather American musical idiom and introduces key musical motives for the work. The second movement sets the "from age to age" portion of the text in Hebrew and Arabic, evoking ancient cultures from the Middle East. The music intentionally intertwines the two languages in a symbolic gesture of unity between these cultures. Movement three, in Mandarin Chinese, is a tranquil setting of the shepherd-sheep metaphor from Psalm 100 and quotes "the Lord is my shepherd" from Psalm 23. The orchestra evokes the sounds of traditional Asian instruments. The fourth movement sets celebratory portions of the text in Zulu and draws from African vocal and drumming traditions. Movement five represents Latin America, setting Spanish text to a folk-song style melody and blending traditional folk instrumental sounds with imitative textures. The sixth movement, "Song of the Earth", portrays the Earth itself singing – first wordlessly, but eventually finding its own voice – and leads seamlessly into the final movement. The finale unites many of the key themes and cultures from previous movements with other material, both old and new, as all the earth sings as one, "omnis terra, jubilate!"



Dan Forrest (b. 1978)

♪ Jubilate Deo (2016)

i. Jubilate Deo... [00:50]*
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song. Be ye sure that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. O go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise; be thankful unto him, and speak good of his name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth from generation to generation. (Psalm 100, Latin Vulgate)

ii. Ve adthdor vador (From age to age) [09:40]
Bless his name. For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting, and his truth endures from age to age. (From Psalm 100:4-5, Hebrew and Arabic)

iii. Ta cao chang de yang (The sheep of his pasture) [18:35]
It is he that has made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. (From Psalms 100:3 and 23:1, Mandarin Chinese)

iv. Ngokujabula! (With great rejoicing!) [27:15]
Shout with triumph to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with joy, come before his presence with singing. Know that the Lord is God! (From Psalm 100:1-3, Zulu)

v. Bendecid su nombre (Bless his name) [32:27]
Enter his gates with thanksgiving, his courts with praise. Be thankful, and bless his name. (Psalm 100:4, Spanish)

vi. Song of the Earth [39:28]
Alleluia. (Praise Jehovah – nearly universal transliteration)

vii. ...Omnis Terra! [44:56]
Sing for joy, dance in gladness, shout for joy, all the earth! (Adapted from various English translations)

Nikki Eoute, soprano
Laura Brundage, soprano
Heather Huron, soprano

Rivertree Singers Festival Chorus
Rivertree Singers

Artistic Director, Conductor: Warren Cook

Rodeheaver Auditorium on the campus of Bob Jones University, Greenville, South Carolina, June 25, 2016

(HD 1080p)

* Start time of each movement













Dan Forrest (b. 1978) has been described as "a composer of substance" (Columbus Dispatch), whose works have been hailed as "magnificent, very cleverly constructed sound sculpture" (Classical Voice), and "superb choral writing... full of spine-tingling moments" (Salt Lake Tribune). Dan's music has become well established in the repertoire of choirs in the United States and abroad. Dan's choral works have received dozens of awards and distinctions, including the ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer's Award and the ACDA Raymond Brock Award. His music has been premiered in major venues around the world and has been broadcast multiple times on American Public Media's "Performance Today". His critically acclaimed Requiem for the Living (2013) has quickly become his best-known work, with performances across the United States and in South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Dan holds a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Kansas and a master's degree in piano performance from Bob Jones University. He keeps a full schedule of commissions, workshops, recordings, adjunct professorships, and residencies with universities, churches, and community choirs, collaborating as accompanist, presenting his music, and teaching composition.















Founded in 2010, Rivertree Singers is a choral ensemble of young professionals who love living and working in Greenville, SC. The name reflects a love for the beautiful trees and river that have been the inspiration for the city's model revitalization. The singers are alumni of collegiate choral organizations at Converse College, Erskine College, Presbyterian College, Shenandoah Conservatory of Music, Bob Jones University, Furman University, Winthrop University, University of Georgia, and the University of South Carolina. They share a passion for choral singing and the belief that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

Known for expressive performances of serious choral music and spirited renditions of folk and popular song, Rivertree Singers enriches Greenville's thriving arts community with a three-concert season. Commissioning and performing works by emerging choral composers and partnering with choral arts musicians and organizations further extends the choir's mission to delight and inspire through singing.

Rivertree Singers recently appeared as an invited performing choir at the Southern Division ACDA convention in 2014, the South Carolina ACDA Fall Conference in 2015, and the Southern Division ACDA Convention Worship Event in 2016. They are also regularly featured at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival Spotlight Series in Charleston, SC.

As part of the mission to delight and inspire, Rivertree Singers is proud to host its annual Rivertree Singers & Friends Choral Festival.















Warren Cook, founder and artistic director of Greenville's Rivertree Singers, earned a DMA in Choral Conducting Performance at the University of South Carolina and studied at Westminster Choir College and Bob Jones University. As Director of Choral Activities at Bob Jones University, he conducts the two premier choral organizations and oversees a graded program of six choirs enrolling 350 students. He teaches undergraduate and graduate conducting, literature, and methods courses, and conducts choral-orchestral performances. Cook regularly appears across the U.S. as adjudicator, clinician, and conductor for choral workshops and festivals. His choirs have been auditioned performers at international, national, NAfME and ACDA events. In addition to his teaching and performing, Cook served as Pastor of Worship for over 30 years.































































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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, for string orchestra – Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Terje Tønnesen














The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra performs Arnold Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht, for string orchestra (arr. from String Sextet, Op.4). Artistic director: Terje Tønnesen. The concert was recorded at Gothenburg Concert Hall in 2014.

Schoenberg arranged his 1899 Sextet, subtitled "Verklärte Nacht" (Transfigured Night), for string orchestra in 1917, and then made minor revisions in 1943. The work was inspired by a poem by Richard Dehmel entitled "Weib und Welt", in which a young woman reveals to her betrothed she is pregnant by a former lover. The young man consoles her by declaring the child will be treated as his and that their love will flourish.

Despite the programmatic features of "Verklärte Nacht", it can be viewed strictly as abstract music – a large-scale symphonic poem – though fairly specific emotional states can be associated with various passages of the music. Cast in a single movement and lasting about a half-hour, the work has four distinct sections. The first, marked Grave, begins in a somber mood, a motif murmuring in the lower strings. The influence of Wagner is evident from the start, but the voice of Brahms co-exists happily throughout the work as well. The music turns intense in the middle part, conveying an agonizing sense, a sense perhaps of guilt or of apprehension.

These feelings linger into the second section (Poco adagio), though here the mood is sweet and gentle at the outset, setting the stage for the grim intensity that soon grips the proceedings. The music works itself up to a climax of tragic aspect, after which it struggles to continue, then seems to cry out in agony.

After a numbed peacefulness, the third section (Adagio), begins in a consoling, hopeful mood. Here the music is songful and lovely, the sense of conflict restrained, if not banished altogether. Soon the music turns almost ethereal in its lyrical loveliness, the upper strings soaring to the heavens with rapturous sonorities and reaching a positively ecstatic climax. The rest of the music here is equally euphoric, and the final section (Adagio – molto tranquillo) is serene, almost surreal in its sense of peace and reconciliation. Here, when disruptive elements appear, they are quickly drawn harmoniously into the otherwise blissful music.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)



Arnold Schoenberg (1874-1951)

♪ Verklärte Nacht, for string orchestra (arr. from String Sextet, Op.4) (1917)

i. Sehr langsam
ii. Etwas bewegter
iii. Schwer betont
iv. Sehr breit und langsam
v. Sehr ruhig

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Artistic director: Terje Tønnesen

Stage direction: Bud Beyer

Gothenburg Concert Hall, 2014

(HD 720p)















Since its formation in 1977 the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra has established itself as one of the foremost chamber orchestras on the international classical music scene today. Renowned for its innovative programming and creativity, the NCO is a project orchestra comprised of Norway's finest instrumentalists. Through integrating experienced musicians with talented young instrumentalists, the Orchestra continuously develops its unique style and innovative culture, thereby greatly contributing to the position Norwegian musicians and ensembles hold internationally.

The artistic directors and guest leaders throughout its history have been Iona Brown, Leif Ove Andsnes, Isabelle van Keulen, Martin Fröst, François Leleux and Steven Isserlis together with our current artistic director Terje Tønnesen who has held this role since the orchestra's formation.

The Orchestra's international tours to Europe, Asia and North America have received outstanding reviews at many of the world's prestigious concert halls and festivals. With nearly 40 recordings to date, the NCO has recorded comprehensive chamber orchestra repertoire with distinguished soloists, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Terje Tønnesen, Iona Brown, Truls Mørk, Lars Anders Tomter and Tine Thing Helseth. Highlights include the Norwegian award "Spellemannpris" winning recordings of Grieg and Nielsen works and Haydn piano concertos with Leif Ove Andsnes.

The Orchestra draws on an enviable roster of Norwegian and international soloists and has always been dedicated to presenting contemporary music as part of its concert repertoire.

The NCO currently presents its own concert series at the University Aula in Oslo and performs in major concert venues in Norway.

Between 2011 and 2016, the NCO served as the resident chamber orchestra at the Risør Chamber Music Festival.

Source: kammerorkesteret.no/nco















Terje Tønnesen is one of Norway's most revered musicians, with a career spanning over forty years of music-making as violinist and artistic leader. Praised by public and press alike for his virtuosity and artistic individualism, Terje Tønnensen has established a firm place in the Nordic classical music scene through his position as Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He held the same position with the Camerata Nordica in Sweden for two decades until 2016.

After his critically acclaimed debut in 1972 which Norway's major newspaper called "a dazzling debut without any parallel", he furthered his studies with Max Rostal in Switzerland. In 1977, he was appointed Artistic Director to the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, a position he shared with Iona Brown in 1981-2002. Tønnesen has also maintained a distinguished career as a soloist by making regular appearances with major orchestras in Scandinavian countries as well as making extensive tours to various parts of Europe, USA, China and Russia.


His recordings as the orchestra's leader have received considerable critical acclaim and have received awards including the Spellemann Prize. Tønnesen has also done a number of recordings as soloist and chamber musician, and recorded several works commissioned for him.


In recent years Tønnesen has composed music for several theatre productions and devoted his time to arranging various chamber and orchestral works. A passionate advocate for finding new ways of presenting classical music, Tønnesen has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms, including American stage director Bud Beyer and choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard.


Terje Tønnesen has won several international awards and recognition such as the Grieg Prize and Lindeman Prize. In September 2015, Terje Tønnesen was appointed Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav. He performs on a 1756 Guadagnini lent to him by Dextra Musica, Sparebankstiftelsen.


Source: kammerorkesteret.no/tonnesen




























More photos


See also


Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings – Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Terje Tønnesen (HD 1080p)

Monday, June 11, 2018

Richard Strauss: Metamorphosen for 23 solo strings – Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Terje Tønnesen (HD 1080p)














The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra performs Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen, study for 23 solo strings, TrV 290. Artistic director: Terje Tønnesen. The concert was recorded at Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, on April 21, 2015.

Metamorphosen, study for 23 solo strings, is a composition by Richard Strauss, scored for ten violins, five violas, five cellos, and three double basses, typically lasting 25 to 30 minutes. It was composed during the closing months of the Second World War, from August 1944 to March 1945. The piece was commissioned by Paul Sacher, the founder and director of the Basler Kammerorchester and Collegium Musicum Zürich, to whom Strauss dedicated it. It was first performed in 25 January 1946 by Sacher and the Collegium Musicum Zürich, with Strauss conducting the final rehearsal.



Richard Strauss (1864-1949)

♪ Metamorphosen, study for 23 solo strings, TrV 290 (August 1944 - March 1945)

Norwegian Chamber Orchestra
Artistic director: Terje Tønnesen

Astrup Fearnly Museum of Modern Art, Oslo, April 21, 2015

(HD 1080p)
















How should we listen to the "Metamorphosen", and what do we hear in them? Is this last work of an aged and great composer truly a work of summational wisdom? And how do we hear and judge in this music the work of cultural mourning it claims to undergo–the mourning for Munich after its bombardment by the Allied Powers in the Second World War?

In the concluding passage to his recent book Musical Elaborations, Edward Said chose the "Metamorphosen" as the paradigm for enlightened and ethical musical experience, shared by composer and listener:

"In the perspective afforded by such a work as ‘Metamorphosen’, music thus becomes an art not primarily or exclusively about authorial power and social authority, but a mode for thinking through or thinking with the integral variety of human cultural practices, generously, non-coercively, and, yes, in a utopian cast, if by utopian we mean worldly, possible, attainable, knowable."

This laudatory view of the "Metamorphosen" is widely held, though rarely so eloquently expressed. But it was not always so apparent. In November 1947 an article in an Amsterdam newspaper accused Strauss of having written the work as a memorial to Hitler. The Swiss Strauss scholar Willi Schuh quickly responded with the archetypal argument of Strauss' apolitical nature. But the work has its own references. Strauss had written the first sketches for the "Metamorphosen" on the day the Munich Staatstheater was bombed in October 1943, and had given them the name "Mourning for Munich". The final work, completed in a month in March and April of 1945, indeed amounts to a lamentation for German aesthetic culture. To conflate this gesture with Nazi loyalty makes no sense. If in the 1930s Strauss was unable to distinguish between German and National Socialist ideas of culture, it is not to be assumed that he maintained that association. Neither music nor context supports this latter interpretation in any way. But the political references are present, and they are not at all clear.

If Strauss mourns for Munich through music in 1945, what is the moral position and quality of such an act of mourning and memory? Does the unquestionable beauty of the music serve to mystify the complicated associations necessarily invoked by the referent "Munich": the city of Bavarian beauty and art but also, as one musicologist reminds us, "the city of the regime"? We foreclose on too many important issues if we rush to bless the "Metamorphosen" as absolute music. Thus, in an important review of Edward Said's Musical Elaborations, the musicologist Rose Rosengard Subotnik puts this question squarely. "Recalling" she says, "how it was the bombing of an opera house (in the Third Reich) rather than the murder of fellow human beings that drew this expression of grief from Strauss, I remain troubled... by Said's choice of this particular work as the endpiece of his book".

The "Metamorphosen" offers its listeners a moving journey into the sonic representation of mourning and melancholy. In Sigmund Freud's classic essay of 1917 on "Mourning and Melancholia", mourning is defined as a form of psychic work successfully completed when the mourner is able to separate from the object of loss. Melancholy, on the other hand, is a psychic disorder that comes from the inability to work through to this act of leave-taking. What mourning allows, and what melancholy blocks, is the reemergence of a viable and coherent subjectivity. It is this sense of subjectivity which is ultimately missing in the "Metamorphosen". Sound, we might say, does not transform itself into subject. In the work's compositional context, as Subotnik correctly points out, the object of mourning is not historically or morally adequate. This context becomes musically manifest in the sound of the work. For that reason, we are more accurate and more sensitive listeners if we do not claim to find peace, resolution, or spiritual recovery in this work. Strauss' work of mourning is so limited in its scope that we cannot say that the work of mourning has been accomplished through the music in any meaningful way. As for the musical work itself in its unimpeachable beauty, it remains caught in melancholy as it remains imprisoned in history.

Source: Michael Steinberg, Cornell University (americansymphony.org)















Since its formation in 1977 the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra has established itself as one of the foremost chamber orchestras on the international classical music scene today. Renowned for its innovative programming and creativity, the NCO is a project orchestra comprised of Norway's finest instrumentalists. Through integrating experienced musicians with talented young instrumentalists, the Orchestra continuously develops its unique style and innovative culture, thereby greatly contributing to the position Norwegian musicians and ensembles hold internationally.

The artistic directors and guest leaders throughout its history have been Iona Brown, Leif Ove Andsnes, Isabelle van Keulen, Martin Fröst, François Leleux and Steven Isserlis together with our current artistic director Terje Tønnesen who has held this role since the orchestra's formation.

The Orchestra's international tours to Europe, Asia and North America have received outstanding reviews at many of the world's prestigious concert halls and festivals. With nearly 40 recordings to date, the NCO has recorded comprehensive chamber orchestra repertoire with distinguished soloists, including Leif Ove Andsnes, Terje Tønnesen, Iona Brown, Truls Mørk, Lars Anders Tomter and Tine Thing Helseth. Highlights include the Norwegian award "Spellemannpris" winning recordings of Grieg and Nielsen works and Haydn piano concertos with Leif Ove Andsnes.

The Orchestra draws on an enviable roster of Norwegian and international soloists and has always been dedicated to presenting contemporary music as part of its concert repertoire.

The NCO currently presents its own concert series at the University Aula in Oslo and performs in major concert venues in Norway.

Between 2011 and 2016, the NCO served as the resident chamber orchestra at the Risør Chamber Music Festival.

Source: kammerorkesteret.no/nco















Terje Tønnesen is one of Norway's most revered musicians, with a career spanning over forty years of music-making as violinist and artistic leader. Praised by public and press alike for his virtuosity and artistic individualism, Terje Tønnensen has established a firm place in the Nordic classical music scene through his position as Artistic Director of the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and concertmaster of the Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. He held the same position with the Camerata Nordica in Sweden for two decades until 2016.

After his critically acclaimed debut in 1972 which Norway's major newspaper called "a dazzling debut without any parallel", he furthered his studies with Max Rostal in Switzerland. In 1977, he was appointed Artistic Director to the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, a position he shared with Iona Brown in 1981-2002. Tønnesen has also maintained a distinguished career as a soloist by making regular appearances with major orchestras in Scandinavian countries as well as making extensive tours to various parts of Europe, USA, China and Russia.

His recordings as the orchestra's leader have received considerable critical acclaim and have received awards including the Spellemann Prize. Tønnesen has also done a number of recordings as soloist and chamber musician, and recorded several works commissioned for him.

In recent years Tønnesen has composed music for several theatre productions and devoted his time to arranging various chamber and orchestral works. A passionate advocate for finding new ways of presenting classical music, Tønnesen has collaborated with colleagues from across various art forms, including American stage director Bud Beyer and choreographer Ingun Bjørnsgaard.

Terje Tønnesen has won several international awards and recognition such as the Grieg Prize and Lindeman Prize. In September 2015, Terje Tønnesen was appointed Knight First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St Olav. He performs on a 1756 Guadagnini lent to him by Dextra Musica, Sparebankstiftelsen.

Source: kammerorkesteret.no/tonnesen



























More photos


See also


Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht, for string orchestra – Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Terje Tønnesen

Richard Strauss: Also sprach Zarathustra – Berliner Philharmoniker, Gustavo Dudamel (Download 96kHz/24bit & 44.1kHz/16bit)

Klaus Florian Vogt sings Richard Strauss – Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Santtu-Matias Rouvali (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Don Quixote – Pablo Ferrández, Francisco Regozo, Orquesta Sinfónica de Galicia, Dennis Russell Davies (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Ein Heldenleben (A Hero's Life) – Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Manfred Honeck (HD 1080p)

Richard Strauss: Four Last Songs & Alpine Symphony – Anja Harteros, Staatskapelle Dresden, Christian Thielemann

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Giacomo Puccini: Turandot – Othalie Graham, Jonathan Burton, Guanqun Yu, George Shirley, Morris Robinson – Michigan State University Children's Choir, Audivi, Opera MODO, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Jader Bignamini – Sunday, June 10, 2018, 03:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) – Livestream

Othalie Graham as Turandot at Nashville Opera (2015). Photo by Reed Hummel













What better way to celebrate Detroit Symphony Orchestra Music Director Leonard Slatkin's final program of his tenth season than with this full concert performance of Puccini's iconic final opera! Joined by Othalie Graham, Jonathon Burton and Guanqun Yu, the DSO will transport you to ancient China where the hard-hearted Princess Turandot dispatches her suitors with mind-bending and often fatal tasks to win her hand.

Premiering posthumously in 1926, Turandot was the last opera created by Puccini. An opera house and concert hall staple, it evokes a fantasy landscape of lush imperial palaces, enchanted forests and unexpected romance between Truandot and the brave, if not somewhat foolish Prince Calaf. Closing with the famed Nessun Dorma melody, it is an unmissable part of the repertoire in any setting.

Source: detroittheater.org



Detroit, May 15, 2018. The Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) today announced that Peter Oundjian, Robert Spano, and Jader Bignamini will step in to conduct the final three weekends of concerts in the orchestra's 2017-2018 Classical Series. DSO Music Director Leonard Slatkin was forced to withdraw from these programs two weeks ago after tests revealed that he needed heart surgery. Maestro Slatkin underwent a successful triple bypass heart operation on May 8 and is expected to fully recover and return to conducting in about three months.

The three programs, which were to be Maestro Slatkin's final concerts as DSO music director following his tenth anniversary season, are unchanged and feature major symphonic works, opera in concert, and world premieres by three young American composers.


In the third week, Jader Bignamini – whose conducting engagements include the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, and Bavarian State Opera – will close the 2017-2018 Classical Series, leading an opera-in-concert performance of Giacomo Puccini's Turandot with featured soloists Othalie Graham (soprano), Jonathan Burton (tenor), Guanqun Yu (soprano), and Morris Robinson (bass).


Source: publicnow.com



Sunday, June 10
Los Angeles: 12:00 PM
Lima: 13:00 PM
Detroit, New York, Toronto: 03:00 PM
Brasília: 04:00 PM
London: 08:00 PM
Paris, Brussels, Berlin, Madrid, Rome, Warsaw, Stockholm, Oslo, Cape Town: 09:00 PM
Athens, Kiev, Jerusalem, Beirut, Moscow, Ankara: 10:00 PM
Abu Dhabi: 11:00 PM

Monday, June 11
New Delhi: 12:30 AM
Beijing, Manila, Hong Kong: 03:00 AM
Tokyo, Seoul: 04:00 AM

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Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924)

Turandot (1924)

Lyric drama in three Acts and five Scenes

Libretto by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, after the play by Carlo Gozzi

Princess Turandot..........Othalie Graham, soprano
The Emperor Altoum, her father..........George Shirley, tenor
Timur, the deposed King of Tartary..........Morris Robinson, bass
The Unknown Prince (Calaf), his son..........Jonathan Burton, tenor
Liù, a slave girl..........Guanqun Yu, soprano
Ping..........Hunter Enoch, baritone
Pang..........Alex Mansoori, tenor
Pong..........Jason Ferrante, tenor
Mandarin..........Evan Ross, bass-baritone
Prince of Persia..........Adrian Leskiw, tenor

Michigan State University Children's Choir
Audivi, vocal ensemble
Opera MODO, chorus

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Conductor: Jader Bignamini

(HD 720p)


Live from Orchestra Hall, Max M. Fisher Music Center, Detroit

Sunday, June 10, 2018, 03:00 PM EDT (GMT-4) / 10:00 PM EEST (UTC+3)


Live on Livestream



Canadian-American soprano Othalie Graham (b. 1973) continues to receive critical acclaim throughout North America and is widely known for her interpretations of the title roles in Turandot and Aida and her commitment to Wagnerian repertoire. The Boston Globe noted that for her interpretation of Turandot her "timbre and power were thrilling – steely ring from top to bottom – and her path from imperiousness to passion was convincing".

Upcoming appearances include the title role in Turandot at the Teatro Cervantes de Málaga, and with Knoxville Opera, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Leonard Slatkin, as part of his final season as Music Director of the DSO. Ms. Graham also covers the title role in Elektra at the Teatro di San Carlo in Napoli. Upcoming concert engagements include a Gala with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra celebrating the 90th birthday of Leontyne Price with works by Strauss, Verdi and Barber.


Ms. Graham has performed the title role of Turandot with Edmonton Opera, Nashville Opera, Opera Carolina, Orquesta Filhamónica de la UNAM, Opera de Nuevo León, Boston's Chorus Pro Musica, Arizona Opera, Michigan Opera Theatre, Sacramento Opera, Opera Columbus, Opera Delaware, Utah Festival Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, Pensacola Opera, the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, the Harrisburg Symphony, and at the Gran Teatro Nacional del Perú in Lima with the Asociación Cultural Romanza.


Recent performances have included the title role in Aida with Opera Carolina, Toledo Opera, and at the Teatro Greco di Siracusa in Sicily with Marcello Giordani; the title role in Ariadne auf Naxos with Festival Opera; and the role of Minnie in La Fanciulla del West with Nashville Opera and Indianapolis Opera. Recent concert highlights include all-Wagner programs in Mexico City at Sala Nezahualcóyotl and at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, in Lima, Peru, and with the Washington Chorus at the Kennedy Center; Beethoven's 9th Symphony with The Philadelphia Orchestra; the Verdi Requiem with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Mississippi Symphony Orchestra; Serena in Porgy and Bess in concert with Toledo Opera and with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra and Jacksonville Symphony; Isolde in Tristan und Isolde in Zagreb, Croatia, and with the Washington National Chorus at the Kennedy Center; and the Britten War Requiem with the Fondazione Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi.


Additional appearances have included Odabella in Attila with Sarasota Opera; the title role of Aida for the inaugural performance of the Istanbul International Opera Festival; Leonora in Il Trovatore with Utah Festival Opera; the title role in Tosca with Festival Opera; and the title role in Elektra at Philadelphia's Academy of Vocal Arts. In the Wagnerian repertoire, Ms. Graham's notable roles also include Senta in Der Fliegender Holländer, Brünnhilde and Sieglinde in Wagner's Ring Cycle, and Elisabeth in Tannhäuser.


Other concert engagements include a New York recital debut with the Liederkranz Society; Isolde in Tristan und Isolde with the Young Musicians Foundation Orchestra in California; Brünnhilde excerpts from Die Walküre for the L'Opéra de Montréal gala; Elijah with Bryn Terfel and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir; Mahler's Symphony No.8 with the Washington National Chorus at the Kennedy Center; a featured appearance with Eve Queler at the Dahesh Museum of Art; as well as opera galas for Pacific Opera Victoria, Vancouver Opera, Orquesta Sinfonica de Xalapa, and Canada's Oakville Symphony.


Ms. Graham has recently been included on the Brampton Arts Walk of Fame in her hometown of Brampton, Ontario, honoring those who have achieved excellence in the arts and entertainment industry. She previously was the first-place winner of the Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competition in the Wagner Division; the first-place winner of the Joyce Dutka Competition; a recipient of a Sullivan Foundation Grant; a first-place winner in the Wagner Division of the Liederkranz Competition, winner of the Jean Chalmers prize in the Canadian Music Competition, winner of the Edward Johnson Competition, and first place recipient of the Jeunes Ambassadeurs Lyriques Competition.


Source: othaliegrahamsoprano.com



Photo by Jeremy Reed
American tenor Jonathan Burton has been praised for having "thrilling power and beauty" (Baltimore Sun) and for being "an engaging all-around singer with a powerful, full-bodied sound" (Opera News). For his recent turn as Calaf in Turandot, Opera News proclaimed that he "produced a wonderfully shaded ‘Nessun Dorma’ that included brilliant top notes" and the Herald Tribune raved him "a tenor who can add substantial flesh to Calaf as well as deliver the most famous aria of Italian grand opera to satisfaction is a rare find... Burton hit the jackpot with his delivery of ‘Nessun dorma’ that could stand confidently next to our worn recordings of Corelli, Domingo and Pavarotti".

During the 2015-2016 season this exciting tenor joins Nashville Opera as Calaf in Turandot, Sarasota Opera as Radames in Aida, and finally Knoxville Opera and Central City Opera as Cavaradossi in Tosca. During the previous season Mr. Burton took the stage as Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West with Des Moines Metro Opera where Opera Today raved "Jonathan Burton poured out impassioned, emotionally generous phrases as Dick Johnson (Ramerrez). Mr. Burton has an exciting squillo in his full-bodied tenor that is riveting. But Mr. Burton can also exude a persuasive charm as he croons gentler phrases and caresses them with a knowing legato". Additional engagements during the season included Manrico in Il Trovatore with Knoxville Opera, the title role in Don Carlos with Sarasota Opera, and both Dick Johnson in La Fanciulla del West and Florestan in Fidelio with Kentucky Opera. On the concert stage he made his debut with the Munich Philharmonic.

During the 2013-2014 season, he took the stage as Don Jose in Carmen with Opera Omaha and Tulsa Opera where he was praised for a performance that was "bright, crisp and confident" (Tulsa World), Cavoradossi in Tosca with Dayton Opera, as Calaf in Turandot with Utah Opera, Canio in I Pagliacci with Opera Naples, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with the Castleton Festival.

Mr. Burton made his European debut during the 2012-2013 season as Dick Johnson in Fanciulla del West with Sinfónica de Galicia under the baton of Lorin Maazel. He later reprised the role at the Castleton Festival where Opera News wrote that he delivered the role with "an attractively beefy tone". Additional engagements during the season included portraying Cavaradossi in Tosca with Kentucky Opera, Calaf in Turandot with Sarasota Opera and Rodolfo in La bohème with the Royal Opera House Muscat in Oman where he "was charming as Rodolfo. His voice was strong and passionate, and as Rodolfo he was smitten and sweet" (Times of Oman).

Additional highlights of recent seasons include Cavaradossi in Tosca with Annapolis Opera, Opera New Jersey, Utah Festival Opera and Opera on the James, Don José in Carmen with Central City Opera, Lyric Opera of Virginia, and Opera Omaha, Rodolfo in La bohème with Palm Beach Opera and the Castleton Festival, Canio in Pagliacci with Annapolis Opera, and Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Phoenix Opera. He portrayed Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Opera on the James and Shreveport Opera. In addition, he has performed numerous supporting roles with Florida Grand Opera, Opera Omaha, and Palm Beach Opera, and during his formative years he performed in over twenty leading roles with the Southern Ohio Light Opera Company, in roles ranging from Alfred in Die Fledermaus, to Camille in The Merry Widow, and Caliph in Kismet. On the concert stage he has been engaged by the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra to sing Rene Clausen's A New Creation, the Lexington Philharmonic for Beethoven's Symphony No.9, Southern Ohio Symphony Orchestra for Handel's Messiah and Mendelssohn's Elijah, and the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for Verdi's Requiem. Mr. Burton studied at Westminster Choir College and the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati and was a member of Florida Grand Opera's Young Artist Program.

Source: jburtontenor.com


Guanqun Yu (b. 1982) is one of the most promising sopranos of the younger generation and appears regularly at big opera houses worldwide.

Born and educated in China, Yu already sang big roles as Pamina (Die Zauberflöte) and Gilda (Rigoletto) as part of the opera education programme during her studies in Shandong and Shanghai and participated in concerts at important events.


She finally became known outside of China by winning the first price at the famous Belvedere Singing Competition.


In September 2008 Yu became a member of the opera studio at the Teatro Comunale di Bologna where she sang many roles of the Italian repertoire. In June 2010 she debuted in Honegger's Jean d'Arc under the baton of Bertrand de Billy at the Musikverein Wien. This was followed, amongst others, by Mimi (La Bohème) at the Pacific Festival in Sapporo conducted by Fabio Luisi and Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni) in Bologna. In spring 2012 she sang Lina in Stiffelio at the Teatro Regio di Parma, which was also published on DVD.


Invited by the Metropolitan Opera, Yu gave her debut in New York in fall 2012 with a highly celebrated Trovatore-Leonora which she had already sung at the Verdi Festival Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Busseto in summer. The same year she was the award recipient of the Placido Domingo Operalia Singing Competition and on Domingo's wish she sang on his side as Lucrezia in Verdis I due Foscari at Palau de les Arts Valencia. During the same season she returned to Valencia as Desdemona (Otello) under the baton of Zubin Metha. In summer 2013 Yu gave her debut as Countess Almaviva (Le Nozze di Figaro) at the National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing and as Anna (Nabucco), also on the side of Placido Domingo. In 2013-2014 she returned to the Metropolitan Opera New York as Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) and to Valencia as Maria Boccanegra (Simon Boccanegra) amongst others.


Moreover Yu debuted at the Deutsche Oper Berlin, when she agreed o fill in at the last minute and gave a startling performance as Desdemona (Otello).


In 2014-2015 Yu was Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte) and Desdemona (Otello) at Oper Köln, debuted as Nedda (Pagliacci) at the Staatstheater Klagenfurt and as Rosina at the Los Angeles Opera in the sequel opera productions Ghosts of Versailles and Le Nozze di Figaro.


Furthermore she was Liù (Turandot) at the Bregenzer Festspiele and Maria Boccanegra at Oper Frankfurt and Semperoper Dresden. Future engagements will lead Yu to Berlin (Pagliacci), Zurich (Boheme), Marseille (Così fan tutte), as well as once more to the Bregenzer Festspiele.


She will also debut in Munich as Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro.


Source: operamusica.com



Photo by Virginio Ledrio
Jader Bignamini begins his career at the Orchestra Sinfonica laVerdi in 1998 when he is chosen as E flat clarinet by Riccardo Chailly. This institution then sees Bignamini move from the orchestra ranks to the podium, becoming Assistant Conductor in 2010 and Associate Conductor in 2012. In 2016 he becomes officially Resident Conductor of Orchestra Sinfonica LaVerdi in Milan.

Bignamini was born in 1976 in Crema and studied at the Piacenza Music Conservatory. After his studies, he starts at a very young age to collaborate with several orchestras also as a soloist and concurrently he conducts chamber groups, symphonic and operatic orchestras.

In the autumn of 2012 he participates for the second consecutive time in the MITO Festival with Berlioz's Messe Solennelle. He continues his extensive collaboration with laVerdi Orchestra, conducting the season opening and many other performances with operatic and symphonic programs (Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Glinka, Mussorgsky, Prokofiev, Ravel, Respighi, Rimsky-Korsakov, Paganini, Piazzolla, Stravinsky, Vivaldi) both in Milan and on tour in Russia (Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow and Glinka Philharmonic Hall in St Petersburg), collaborating with soloists such as Karen Gomyo, Francesca Dego, Natasha Korsakova, Kolya Blacher and Lylia Zilberstein.

Bignamini makes his symphonic debuts at the Otsu Biwako Hall in Japan, at the Teatro Municipal de Sao Paulo, Brasil, with the Orchestra Sinfonica Siciliana in Palermo and with Maggio Musicale in Florence.

In the 2013-2014 season, Bignamini opens the 39th Festival della Valle d’Itria in Martina Franca with Crispino e la Comare, the 20th Symphonic Season of laVerdi and the 2013 Verdi Festival in Parma with Simon Boccanegra – after which the Teatro Regio (Parma) invited him to lead the next three festival productions, and he was the assistant conductor of Riccardo Chailly for the Mahler Symphony No.8 in Milan in November 2013.

Besides conducting symphonic concerts and the Verdi Requiem with laVerdi, highlights of Bignamini's current season include the opening concert of the Orchestra Filarmonica del Teatro Comunale di Bologna with Carmina Burana, La Bohéme at the Municipal de Sao Paulo and La Fenice, L'Elisir D'Amore in Ancona, Tosca at the Comunale di Bologna, La Forza del Destino at the Verdi Festival in Parma, La Bohéme and Cavalleria Rusticana with L'Amor Brujo at Teatro Filarmonico di Verona.

In the last operatic season, he conducted productions of Aida at Rome's Teatro dell'Opera, Madama Butterfly at La Fenice, and he made his North American operatic debut with Rigoletto at the Santa Fe Opera in New Mexico and in september he had his debut at La Scala for a concert.

After his last success in Frankfurt with Oberto conte di San Bonifacio by Verdi, in this season Bignamini will conduct the Orchestra laVerdi in symphonic concerts and a long tour of concerts in Asia with Mrs Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.

Regarding opera highlights in 2016 among others he had Andrea Chénier at the Tokyo National Opera, Traviata at Rome's Teatro dell'Opera with the direction by Sofia Coppola and Traviata at the Arena of Verona.

During summer 2016 he will have his debut at the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro conducting Ciro in Babilonia by Rossini, at Teatro Massimo of Palermo with Madama Butterfly in Palermo, and at the Bolshoi conduction Manon Lescaut with Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov.

Next season he will be again in Rome and Frankfurt for Il Trovatore and in Moscow for the revival of Manon Lescaut.

Source: jaderbignamini.it/en/


Leonard Slatkin (Photo by Donald Dietz)
















The 2017-2018 season marks Leonard Slatkin's tenth and final year as Music Director of the DSO before he transitions to the new role of Music Director Laureate. Maestro Slatkin's commitment to new music, reaching audiences in new ways, and the American orchestral tradition has had a transformational effect on the DSO. On Friday, May 4, Slatkin announced that he would need to undergo heart surgery and withdraw from conducting the final Classical Series concerts of his tenth anniversary season. As Music Director Laureate, Leonard will conduct eight programs in the 2018-2019 season, including Opening Weekend, the February American Festival, and the season finale in June.

On June 23, the DSO will honor Slatkin at its eighth annual Heroes Gala alongside philanthropists and longtime DSO supporters Penny and Harold Blumenstein. Additional details about the Heroes Gala will be announced in the near future.


The DSO Classical Series is generously sponsored by PVS Chemicals, Inc. The May 31 - June 2 Rite of Spring performances are additionally supported by Honigman LLP.


Source: publicnow.com



Othalie Graham and Jonathan Burton in Nashville Opera's Turandot (2015).
Photo by Reed Hummell

















Giacomo Puccini: Turandot

Puccini was nearing the completion of Turandot, when he died in rather short order following surgery for throat cancer. At the behest of Arturo Toscanini, Franco Alfano, a former student of Puccini, finished the opera – the final duet and last scene – using Puccini's sketches. Turandot was premiered on April 25, 1926, at Il Teatro alla Scala in Milan, in a performance led by Toscanini; strangely enough, the maestro did not then use Alfano's ending, instead ending the performance where Puccini's finished score left off.

Turandot's libretto was fashioned by Giuseppe Adami and Renato Simoni, based on Schiller's adaptation of a Carlo Gozzi drama. The story is set in Imperial China, Act One beginning near the walls of Beijing. A royal edict from Princess Turandot, daughter of the Emperor, is read: she will marry the first man of royal blood able to answer three riddles. Failure by the suitor will result in his death. Accompanied by his slave girl Liu, the old vanquished Tartar king, Timur, now blind, falls to the ground. Prince Calaf comes to his aid and recognizes him as his father, with whom he had lost contact. The crowd gathering outside cries for the head of the latest failed suitor, the Prince of Persia. Calaf becomes enraged at Turandot's cruelty in requiring the executions, but when he sees her, he becomes instantly enamored of her. Over the objections of Timur and Liu, Calaf seeks to answer the three riddles, which he does successfully. Turandot begs her father for release from the terms of the edict, but is refused. Calaf, however, offers to sacrifice his life if she can learn his name before dawn. Liu and Timur are brought to Turandot, but the latter commits suicide rather than divulge his name. Later Calaf, alone with Turandot, kisses her passionately and then trusts in her sudden change of heart by revealing his name. They later appear before the Emperor and Turandot discloses his name – Love.

Puccini's score features his usual quota of popular numbers and brilliant scoring. There are effective choruses, as well: "Muoia! Noi vogliamo il carnefice", sung when the crowd calls for the execution of the Prince of Persia, and in the dark and atmospheric "Arrota! Che la lama guizzi", sung by the executioner's assistants. But it is the individual numbers that are best known in this opera. Liu's "Signore Ascolta" is the slave girl's beautiful attempt to dissuade Calaf from seeking to be Turandot's suitor. His heartfelt response to her comes with his "Non pangiere, Liu".

The most famous aria in the opera, though, is "Nessun dorma", sung by Calaf, confident Turandot will not learn his name. As for this composition's artistic worth, Turandot may well be Puccini's finest opera.

Source: Robert Cummings (allmusic.com)


Jonathan Burton as Calaf in Nashville Opera's Turandot (2015). Photo by Reed Hummell
















More photos


See also


Giacomo Puccini: Turandot – Mlada Khudoley, Riccardo Massi, Guanqun Yu, Michael Ryssov – Wiener Symphoniker, Paolo Carignani – Marco Arturo Marelli (Bregenz Festival 2015 – Download the opera)

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