The Cleveland Orchestra’s 100th Season
How many orchestras could draw 1,200 people to their concert hall without the ensemble even taking the stage? The Cleveland Orchestra can—and did—when they announced their centenary season with a gala event at Severance Hall on Friday, March 17. Along with the news were speeches from music director Franz Welser-Möst, executive director André Gremillet, the newly appointed president Richard K. Smucker, and orchestra musicians Massimo La Rosa (principal trombone), Martha Baldwin (cello), and Joshua Smith (principal flute), and celebratory short films.
Welser-Möst pointed out the duty of all involved to continue the orchestra’s long tradition of community involvement in building toward the future. He said that in all his travels around the world, he knew of no ensemble that had a closer relationship with its community, citing the organization’s educational programs and neighborhood outreach as long-running activities that other orchestras are now emulating. He also emphasized the orchestra’s insistence on producing meaningful art, and derided flashy “popularizing” of classical music as a missed opportunity to transform a listener’s life.
Prometheus, the Greek god who brought fire to humans, will be the overarching theme of the season, and Welser-Möst cited key pieces that changed the course of western music: Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, and Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps, all of which will be performed. The season will close with “The Prometheus Project,” Welser-Möst’s first full Beethoven cycle, as a two-weekend festival in May 2018.
The season will open in September with a revival of Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen, the orchestra’s innovative mix of minimal staging and digital animation, brought stunningly to life by Yuval Sharon. Tristan und Isolde will be presented in concert featuring Gerhard Siegel and Nina Stemme in the title roles. Those performances headline an April 2018 mini-festival called “The Ecstasy of Tristan and Isolde,” interlaced with performances of Messiaen’s Turangalila Symphony (featuring Jean-Yves Thibaudet and Cynthia Millar) and a program of sacred music stretching from the Renaissance through Liszt (featuring Paul Jacobs), all conducted by Welser-Möst.
The music director’s other concerts include Mahler’s Sixth and Ninth Symphonies, Verdi’s ballet music from Don Carlo, and Haydn’s The Seasons. In October 2017, Welser-Möst will lead the orchestra on a European tour in Austria, France, Germany, and Luxembourg with works by Beethoven, Stravinsky, Mahler, and Janáček. (Details of tour dates and venues will be announced in the coming months.) In January 2018, the orchestra will return to New York’s Carnegie Hall to perform Mahler’s Ninth Symphony and Haydn’s The Seasons. Welser-Möst will also lead a spring tour with all-Beethoven performances in Vienna and Japan.
Guest conductors in the coming season include Cleveland Orchestra music director laureate Christoph von Dohnányi (Brahms Symphony No.1), Vladimir Ashkenazy (Elgar Enigma Variations), Charles Dutoit (Ravel Daphnis et Chloe), Alan Gilbert (Dvořák Symphony No.8), Fabio Luisi (Bruckner Symphony No.4), Michael Tilson Thomas (Tchaikovsky Pathetique Symphony), and Stéphane Denêve (Rachmaninoff Symphony No.2).
Especially interesting are some rare visitors to Cleveland’s orchestral repertory: Suk’s Asrael Symphony (led by Jakub Hrůša), suites from Rameau’s Dardanus and Gluck’s Don Juan (Nicholas McGegan), and Elgar’s Symphony No.2 (Nicholaj Znaider).
The roster of guest soloists is impressive, including Emmanuel Ax (Beethoven Piano Concerto No.1), Marc-André Hamelin (Mozart Jeunhomme Concerto), Sergey Khachatryan (Brahms Violin Concerto), Richard Goode (Mozart Piano Concerto No.18), Thomas Hampson (Haydn The Seasons), Mitsuko Uchida (Mozart Piano Concerti Nos. 5 and 27), Isabelle Faust (Mendelssohn Violin Concerto), Yefim Bronfman (Beethoven Emperor Piano Concerto), Daniil Trifonov (Prokofiev Piano Concerto No.2), Alisa Weilerstein (Barber Cello Concerto), and Jory Vinokour in the Cleveland premiere of Poulenc’s Concert champêtre.
Two former Daniel R. Lewis Young Composer Fellows will have new works featured in the centenary season. Johannes Maria Staud’s Stromab, inspired by Algernon Blackwood’s short horror story “The Willows,” (co-commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, Vienna Konzerthaus, and the Royal Danish Orchestra) will receive its first Cleveland performance with Welser-Möst conducting. Julian Anderson’s Incantesimi (“Spells”) will be led by Christoph von Dohnányi. Fabio Luisi will lead the Cleveland premiere of a new piano concerto by Salvatore Sciarrino (co-commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Ensemble Intercontemporain) featuring Jonathan Biss as soloist. Paul Jacobs will be soloist for Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra by the late Stephen Paulus, with conductor Giancarlo Guerrero.
As part of the centennial season, the orchestra also announced the introduction of CODA, the Cleveland Orchestra Digital Archives, which will go online in autumn of 2017. Also previewed: a limited-edition chocolate bar, customized by the Sweet Moses Soda Fountain & Treat Shop in downtown Cleveland, featuring an imprint of Severance Hall. The commemorative treats—in dark and milk chocolate—will officially debut this fall, though event attendees on Friday were given first-run samples.
Season subscriptions are available at clevelandorchestra.com with single concert tickets going on sale in mid-August.
BAMPTON CLASSICAL OPERA 2017 – ANTONIO SALIERI’S THE SCHOOL OF JEALOUSY (La scuola de’ gelosi)
The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire: Friday, Saturday 21, 22 July
The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, Gloucestershire: Monday 28 August
St John’s Smith Square, London: Tuesday 12 September
Libretto: Caterino Mazzolà
New English translation: Gilly French and Jeremy Gray
Director: Jeremy Gray
Conductor: Anthony Kraus
Orchestra of Bampton Classical Opera (Bampton, Westonbirt)
CHROMA (St John’s Smith Square)
Following highly successful UK premières of Salieri’s Falstaff (in 2003) and Trofonio’s Cave (2015), this summer Bampton Classical Opera will present the first UK performances since the late 18th century of arguably his most popular success: the bitter comedy of marital feuding, The School of Jealousy (La scuola de’ gelosi). The production will be designed and directed by Jeremy Gray and conducted by Anthony Kraus from Opera North. The English translation will be by Gilly French and Jeremy Gray.
Setting a sharply cynical libretto by Caterino Mazzolà, this opera buffa was written in Venice and first performed at the Teatro San Moisè in 1778. It was selected to inaugurate the Emperor Joseph II’s new Italian opera troupe at the Burgtheater in Vienna in 1783, with an outstanding cast including the star English soprano Nancy Storace (later one of Mozart’s favourite sopranos and the first Susanna) as the Countess, and Francesco Benucci (later Figaro and Guglielmo) as Blasio. Salieri revised the score for these performances including new arias specially for Nancy Storace, and the librettist Lorenzo da Ponte added some textual adjustments. The opera made a huge impact and became one of the highlights of Storace’s career.
La scuola de’ gelosi was performed widely across Europe – from London to St Petersburg – for several decades, and was praised warmly by Goethe. The opera’s great success in Vienna almost certainly inspired Da Ponte and Mozart to create La scuola degli amanti which eventually became known by its alternative title Così fan tutte and there are many narrative parallels between the two. In both fidelity and honesty are tested by means of dangerous games and deceits, and the manipulative Lieutenant in Gelosi is a counterpart to Don Alfonso.
It was the first of Salieri’s works to be performed in London, in 1786: The Herald judged “it is the first lyric drama that may be termed strictly good, whether we advert to the poem itself, the music, or the performance” and the Morning Post called it a “masterly composition” that “does great honour to Salieri, whose reputation as a composer must rise infinitely in the musical world, from this very pleasing specimen of his abilities”. For performances in 1780 at the court theatre at Esterháza, Haydn composed two insertion arias.
La scuola de’ gelosi is enjoying a current revival across Europe, including performances this year in Florence and Vienna and a recording by L’arte del mondo on Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. Bampton has also selected the work to mark the bicentenary of the death of Nancy Storace in 1817.
The cast includes Nathalie Chalkley (soprano), Thomas Herford (tenor) and five singers making their Bampton débuts: Rhiannon Llewellyn (soprano), Kate Howden (mezzo-soprano), Alessandro Fisher (tenor), Matthew Sprange (baritone) and Samuel Pantcheff (baritone). Alessandro was the joint winner of the Kathleen Ferrier Competition 2016.
The Count Bandiera is a skilful philanderer, but takes a big risk when he invites Ernestina, wife of a pathologically jealous businessman, out on a shopping trip. A decidedly non-PC visit to a madhouse, fortune-telling gypsies and the lessons taught by paintings are just some of the bizarre situations encountered in this scintillating comedy of marital dis-harmony.
Countess – Rhiannon Llewellyn (soprano)
Ernestina – Nathalie Chalkley (soprano)
Carlotta – Kate Howden (mezzo-soprano)
Count – Alessandro Fisher (tenor)
Tenente – Thomas Herford (tenor)
Blasio – Matthew Sprange (baritone)
Lumaca – Samuel Pantcheff (baritone)
Bampton Classical Opera was founded in 1993 by its artistic directors, Gilly French and Jeremy Gray, and stages less familiar works from the late Classical period, many of which might not otherwise be heard. The performances are of the highest musical quality, yet are relaxed and welcoming with fresh and accessible English translations, and can be enjoyed even by those with little opera experience. The company also provides valuable performance opportunities for the country’s finest young professional singers, and hosts a Young Singers’ Competition every two years.
Bampton Classical Opera stages productions in rural venues in Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire as well as regularly in London at St John’s Smith Square. Other significant venues and festivals have included Wigmore Hall and Purcell Room, Buxton Festival, Cheltenham Festival and Theatre Royal Bath. Amongst their many performances have been UK premières of Bertoni Orfeo, Marcos Portugal The Marriage of Figaro, Paer Leonora, Benda Romeo and Juliet, Gluck Il Parnaso confuso, Philemon and Baucis, Salieri Falstaff and La grotta di Trofonio.
The delightful Deanery Garden at Bampton provides a charming and picturesque venue for open-air opera, with an excellent natural acoustic. Westonbirt School is a spectacular Victorian mansion, with extensive Grade I listed gardens: the performances take place in the Orangery Theatre. Audiences are encouraged to bring their own garden chairs and enjoy a pre-performance or interval picnic.
St John’s Smith Square is the most historic of London’s concert halls and provides an outstanding and appropriately eighteenth-century setting for this performance.
The School of Jealousy performances, with free pre-performance talks:
The Deanery Garden, Bampton, Oxfordshire OX18 2LL
7.00 pm Friday 21 and Saturday 22 July
The Orangery Theatre, Westonbirt School, near Tetbury, Gloucestershire GL8 8QG
5.00 pm Monday 28 August
St John’s Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA
7.00 pm Tuesday 12 September
Booking Information, Bampton and Westonbirt
Tickets: £35 (under 18: half-price)
By Telephone: 01993 851142
By Post: Bampton Classical Opera, 1 Deanery Court, Broad Street, Bampton, OX18 2LY
Booking information, St John’s Smith Square
PLEASE NOTE BOOKING OPENS IN JULY: Tickets: £18, £28, £38
By Telephone: 020 7222 1061
By Post: St John’s Smith Square, London SW1P 3HA
Leeds Lieder Announces Seventh Festival of Song
Friday 21st – Sunday 23rd April 2017: “Songs of Travel”
Supported by Arts Council England, Leeds Lieder – ‘one of the most exuberant and far-reaching festivals of art-song in the UK The Times – is delighted to announce details of its seventh Festival, under the Artistic Directorship of pianist Joseph Middleton. Read more
Zurich Opera in 2017/2018
English National Ballet announces its 2017 – 2018 Autumn/Winter Season
English National Ballet performs Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Song of the Earth and Frank Andersen’s La Sylphide for the first time, with performances on tour and at the London Coliseum.
Roland Petit’s Le Jeune Homme et la Mort returns with performances at the London Coliseum.
Akram Khan’s Giselle returns to London and tours to Liverpool for the first time.
Rudolf Nureyev’s Romeo & Juliet returns to Bristol in its 40th anniversary year. Read more
BOOKING OPEN FOR LONGBOROUGH FESTIVAL OPERA 2017
General booking is now open for Longborough Festival Opera 2017: from 10am on Monday 6 March keen opera fans can purchase sought-after tickets to this hidden gem of the Cotswolds.
For its 2017 season, Longborough presents a revival of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, plus three new productions. Director Orpha Phelan and designer Madeleine Boyd, winners of the 2016 Best Opera Production award at the Royal Danish Opera, make their Longborough debuts with Beethoven’s Fidelio; Thomas Guthrie returns to direct Mozart’s The Magic Flute in the 300th anniversary of the founding of the Freemasons; and Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice is Longborough’s Young Artist production for 2017, uniting emerging singers and players. Read more
Lucerne Summer Festival – from 11 August to 10 September 2017 Riccardo Chailly and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra will devote themselves to symphonic programmes featuring works by Mendelssohn, Strauss, Stravinsky, and Tchaikovsky. Read more
Southbank Centre announces a global, future-focused 2017/18 Classical Music Season, reflecting the changing landscape of classical music
Southbank Centre today launches its 2017/18 Classical Music Season, with its four internationally-renowned Resident Orchestras the London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Together with Southbank Centre’s family of Associate Orchestras – Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Europe’s first BME orchestra Chineke! Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain – the new season puts innovation and new music at the front and centre, with an international outlook that reflects the world today. Read more