Monday, February 20, 2017
Interesting things coming up with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the Royal Festival, in contrast to the sad blandness that marks the South Bank's antipathy to serious music. Next for e will be Esa-Pekka Salonen's concert on 19th Feb with Pierre-Laurent Aimard playing Ligeti's Piano Concerto, The complete Debussy Daphnis et Chloé and .Stravinsky's "lost" Funeral Song - read more here about the premiere where Gergiev conducted it in context with Eimsky-Korsakov and The Firebird. On 2nd March, Pablo Heras-Casado conducts Stravinsky The Firebird complete 1910 version with de Falla and Ravel. Preceding this an early evening concert with Pascal Rophé featuring Isang Yun whose music isn't heard nearly as often as it should be. Benjamin Zander returns to London after along absence on 13th March in an all-Beethoven concert which includes Beethoven 9. Then Jakub Hrůša conducts Brahms on 23/3 and Dvořák 6 on 6/4. The early evening concert that day features Bent Sørensen who's very good. Salonen and Pierre Laurent again on 4/5 and 7/5 first with Debussy and Boulez, then with Bartok and Mahler 6.Veteran Philharmonia emeritus Christoph von Dohnányi conducts Schumann and Mendelssohn on 8/6. Elgar and RVW Sea Symphony with Roderick Williams on 29/6. The Philharmonia's 2017 2018 season kicks off on 28/9 with an unusual concert in which Salonen will conduct Sibelius 6 with Thorvaldsdottir and Bjarsen. Since Sibelius so dominates music in Finland, Salonen avoided conducting him until he felt he had something original to express. When Salonen did turn to Sibelius his insights were a revelation. I'll never forget his series at the Barbican a dozen years ago. Infinitely better that a conductor should approach things like that rather than churn things out on autopilot like some wildly popular conductors I won't mention. Equally exciting, Salonen conducts Mahler 3rd on 1st October, which he conducted when the Royal Festival Hall reopened 10 years ago after renovations. What a revelation that was, too, full of energy, light and freshness ! He's conducting Mahler 9 on 30 November, another must go. Also a must for me, on 8/10 Smetana Ma Vlast with Jakub Hrůša. Lots more, too much to write about. And then it's Xmas all over again.
Valery Gergiev made the extraordinary claim in Belgrade, attributing the statistic to the Russian culture minister. The Mariinsky now has two theatres in St Petersburg and a third on the Pacific seaboard. Bolshoi, anyone?
Anna Kasatkina, head of PR at the Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg and personal press secretary to Valery Gergiev, has been appointed director of the Primorsky Opera, the Mariinsky’s Pacific offshoot at Vladivostok. Anna has made it clear that all creative decisions will remain in Gergiev’s hands.
The St Petersburg company is in shock at the sudden death of bass-baritone Edward Tsang, aged 38. Edward, a member of the company since 2008, was taken ill at rehearsal on Friday and sent to hospital. He was discharged on Friday night, went home and was found dead on Saturday. No cause of death has yet been given. Valery Gergiev called it ‘a terrible loss’. Tsang, who came from the small Komi Republic, toured with the Mariinsky to London, Paris and across Germany. He sang Leandro in the Teatro Real’s new production of Prokofiev’s Love for Three Oranges in Madrid and was also engaged at Aix-en-Provence and Luxembourg.
It has been announced in Moscow that the Mariinsky conductor will lead an extraordinary concert on December 29 in memory of those who died in the Tupolev crash on Christmas Day. Among the 62 Red Army ensemble members who lost their lives were, a spokesman, said ‘colleagues and friends who were associated with creative projects of Valery Gergiev, the Mariinsky Theatre and the Moscow Easter Festival.’
In September, the Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård stepped in at three days notice to conduct the Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam. Last month, he stood in for Valery Gergiev with the London Symphony Orchestra. Next week, he’s replacing Dan Ettinger for Turandot at the Bavarian State Opera. He’s classical music’s last-minute.com.