Symphony Concert 10

Berlin Philharmonic | Berlin Radio Choir | Kirill Petrenko | soloists

Berg | Beethoven

Wed, 28.08. | 19.30 | No. 19327

KKL Luzern, Concert Hall

Vergangenes Konzert

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Summer Festival

16.08.-15.09. 2019




    Symphony Concert 10

    Berlin Philharmonic | Berlin Radio Choir | Kirill Petrenko | soloists

    (Gijs Leenaars chorus master)

    Kirill Petrenko  conductor
    Alban Berg (1885–1935)
    Symphonic Pieces from the opera Lulu
    Ludwig van Beethoven (1770–1827)
    Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125

    “All humanity will become brothers”: Hardly any other work declares such a resolute political vision as Beethoven’s Ninth, which sets to music Schiller’s poem An die Freude. But this symphony also stands apart from any other in terms of being appropriated for the purposes of power – from many different sides. The Socialists made it resound as a triumphal song for the struggling working class, the Nazis used it as a screen on which to project the obsession of “Germanness” with victory, the EU chose the final melody as an anthem to celebrate united Europe. For the Berlin Philharmonic as well, the Ninth will be connected to a special occasion this summer, as Kirill Petrenko officially inaugurates his tenure as new chief conductor with it – on the Spree as well as on Lake Lucerne. Before the Ninth we will hear a “medley” from Alban Berg’s opera Lulu as an equally fitting contribution to the Festival theme of “Power.” The title heroine is a dominatrix, a kind of female Don Juan, who attracts whoever approaches her like a magnet and rips them apart, leading to their ruin: Lulu, “the true, the wild, beautiful animal,” as the libretto puts it.

    Food & Drinks during the Summer Festival 2019

    You can purchase the digital concert program here.

    Berlin Philharmonic

    In 1882 a group of 54 ambitious musicians in Berlin formed an orchestra to perform concerts under their own aegis, thus giving birth to the Berlin Philharmonic. As their leader they chose Hans von Bülow, one of the finest conductors of the era, who laid the foundations for the Philharmonic’s culture of distinguished playing. His successors have included Arthur Nikisch (1895–1922), Wilhelm Furt-wängler (1922–54), and Herbert von Karajan (1955–89), all of whom developed the signature Berlin sound. It was in the Karajan era that the Berlin Philharmonic attained worldwide fame through its tours and many prize-winning recordings. Since October 1963, the Philharmonic’s home has been the Philharmonie in Berlin, a 2,400-seat concert hall designed by Hans Scharoun. After Karajan’s death in 1989, the players elected Claudio Abbado as their leader. He expanded the repertoire to include contemporary works and introduced program cycles focusing on specific themes. Sir Simon Rattle, who stood at the helm from 2002 until the summer of 2018, performed music from the Baroque to the present. Kirill Petrenko began his tenure as Chief Conductor in August 2019; in his inaugural season, he will conduct such symphonic milestones as Beethoven’s Ninth and Mahler’s Sixth as well as music by Sergei  Rachmaninoff and Josef Suk. With its Digital Concert Hall, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2019, the orchestra meanwhile reaches an audience of millions around the world and annually streams 40 concerts live on the Internet. The ensemble has been releasing CDs and DVDs on its in-house Berliner Philharmoniker Recordings label since 2014. Once a year, the musicians also perform as an opera orchestra during their Easter Festival, which has been taking place in Baden-Baden since 2013. The Berlin Philharmonic performed Verdi’s Otello there in 2019, and for 2020 they have programmed Beethoven’s Fidelio, conducted by Petrenko.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) on 30 August 1958 playing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under the direction of Herbert von Karajan.

    For further information on this ensemble, visit their homepage at:

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    Berlin Radio Choir

    The Rundfunkchor Berlin was founded in 1925 and already stood out in the first years of its existence through its collaborations with such conductors as George Szell, Otto Klemperer, Hermann Scherchen, and Erich Kleiber, as well as by giving significant world premieres, including of works by Arthur Honegger, Ernst Krenek, Darius Milhaud, and Kurt Weill. The choir, which is praised for its warm sound, homogeneity, and precision, today gives about 60 concerts per year, including at its home base with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and the Rundfunk-Sinfonierochester Berlin, but also in international guest performances. For example, its project human requiem, which is a staged adaptation of the Brahms Requiem with the Compagnie Sasha Waltz & Guests, has taken the singers to New York, Hong Kong, Paris, Brussels, Athens, and Australia in recent years. In the 2018-19 season, they performed concerts in Szczecin, Barcelona, and Istanbul. With its community projects such as the annual Sing-Along Concert, the Festival of Choral Cultures, and the Song Exchange for children and young students, the Rundfunkchor Berlin hopes to attract as many people as possible to singing. It moreover promotes the next generation of professionals with an academy and a master class. The choir’s recordings have won numerous prizes, among which are three Grammy Awards. Gijs Leenaars, who was born in the Netherlands in 1978, has been the Rundfunkchor’s chief conductor and artistic director since 2015. He previously helmed the Dutch Radio Choir and is a committed advocate of contemporary music. The Rundfunkchor Berlin is an ensemble of Rundfunk-Orchester und -Chöre GmbH, and its shareholders include Deutschlandradio, the Federal Republic of Germany, the State of Berlin, and Radio Berlin-Brandenburg.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 29 August 2006 in works by Weill, Schoenberg, and Bernstein conducted by John Axelrod.

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    Kirill Petrenko

    Kirill Petrenko, who became Chief Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic as of August 2019, was born in the Siberian city of Omsk in 1972. At the age of 18, he moved with his family to Vorarlberg in Austria. Following his conductor training at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, he worked as an assistant and lead conductor at the Vienna Volksoper starting in 1997; he subsequently became Music Director at the Meiningen Theater (from 1999 to 2002). Petrenko first attracted international attention in 2001 when he conducted Richard Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen in the production by Christine Mielitz with designs by Alfred Hrdlicka. From 2002 to 2007, he was General Music Director of the Komische Oper Berlin. He also appeared at the Bavarian and Vienna State Opera companies, Dres-
    den Semperoper, Oper Frankfurt, the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, Opéra Bastille in Paris, the Maggio Musicale in Florence, and the Salzburg Festival. From 2013 to 2015, he conducted a new production of Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Bayreuth Festival. In the fall of 2013, Petrenko took up his post as General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera, which he will hold until the end of the 2019-20 season. In the concert hall, he has conducted the Vienna Philharmonic, the Berlin and Dresden Staatskapelle, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the London and Israel Philharmonics. Kirill Petrenko made his debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in February 2006 with works by Bartók and Rachmaninoff. The orchestra elected him to be its future Chief Conductor in June 2015. During his first season at the helm, he will conduct the musicians in five programs and in May 2020 will tour with them to Israel.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut  on 7 September 2016, when Petrenko conducted the Bavarian Staatsorchester in a Wagner-Strauss program.

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    Marlis Petersen

    A native of Sindelfingen, Germany, soprano Marlis Petersen studied at the Stuttgart Academy of Music, where Sylvia Geszty was one of her teachers. Her first permanent engagement took her to Nuremberg in 1994; in 1998 she joined the ensemble of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Düsseldorf, where she remained a member until 2003. While there, she took on such roles as Konstanze in Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio, Sophie in Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, and Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale. Marlis Petersen made her Vienna Staatsoper debut in 2002 as Berg’s Lulu. Soon after came her debuts at the Royal Opera House in London as Zerbinetta in Strauss’s Ariadne, at both the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Chicago Lyric Opera as Adele in Die Fledermaus, and as Zdenka in Strauss’s Arabella at the Bavarian Staatsoper. She has appeared at the Salzburg Festival and the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence as a Mozart interpreter. Petersen has also taken part in several world premieres: as Aphrodite in Henze’s Phaedra at the Berlin Staatsoper, as Marta in Trojahn’s La grande magia at the Semperoper in Dresden, and in the title role of Reimann’s Medea at the Vienna Staatsoper. In recent years, she has gradually expanded her repertoire to encompass more dramatic roles. Under the direction of René Jacobs, she sang Leonore in the original version of Beethoven’s Fidelio, appeared in Frankfurt as Hanna Glawari in Lehár’s The Merry Widow and as Marietta in Korngold’s Die tote Stadt in Warsaw, and, in June 2019, made her role debut as Strauss’s Salome at the Bavarian Staatsoper. She will be artist-in-residence with the Berlin Philharmonic during the 2019-20 season. The critics of Opernwelt magazine have chosen Marlis Petersen as Singer of the Year three times: in 2004, 2010, and 2015. She was awarded the Austrian Music Theater Prize in 2013.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 29 August 2004 with works by Beethoven in a concert by the Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under Christian Arming.

    August 2019


    Elisabeth Kulman

    Elisabeth Kulman, who was born in 1973 in Burgenland, Austria, initially focused on Slavic languages and Finno-Ugric Studies in Vienna, but in 1995 she decided to study singing with Helena Lazarska and graduated with distinction in 2001. In the same year, Kulman made her debut at the Vienna Volksoper as Pamina in The Magic Flute, launching a successful career as a soprano. In 2005 she made a transition to the mezzo and alto repertoires, which she has sung ever since. Credits include Gluck’s Orpheus at the Opéra national de Paris and the Salzburg Festival; Prince Orlofsky (Die Fledermaus), Mrs. Quickly (Falstaff), and Herodias (Salome) at the Vienna Staatsoper; and Carmen at the Berlin Staatsoper. Kulman covers an historical and stylistic spectrum that ranges from Baroque opera and bel canto through Richard Wagner to contemporary music. She performed in Offenbach’s Barbe-Bleue at the styriarte as well as in a Mozart-Da Ponte cycle at the Theater an der Wien with Nikolaus Harnoncourt. Herbert Blomstedt, Mariss Jansons, Zubin Mehta, Kirill Petrenko, Sir Simon Rattle, and Christian Thielemann are also among her partners on the podium. Since 2015, Kulman has concentrated her artistic activities on lieder recitals, concerts, and concert opera performances. These also include such interdisciplinary programs as Mussorgsky Dis-Covered with a jazz quartet, Mahler Lieder with the Ensemble Amarcord Wien, and Hungaro Tune with symphony orchestra and jazz soloists. Her most recent project is the “multi-genre music show” La femme c’est moi, which she performed in the 2018-19 season in Munich, Vienna, and Tokyo as well as at the Heidelberger Frühling Festival. Elisabeth Kulman is committed to the “art but fair” initiative, which advocates better working conditions for artists.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut in the summer of 2013 as Fricka and Waltraute in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen.

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    Benjamin Bruns

    Benjamin Bruns began his vocal career as an alto soloist in the boys’ choir of his native Hanover. After taking private lessons with Peter Sefcik, he studied at the Hamburg Music Academy with Renate Behle and was engaged during his training by the Bremen Theater, where he acquired a broad repertoire as a lyric tenor. Positions at Cologne Opera and the Dresden Staatsoper eventually led him to the Vienna Staatsoper starting in 2010, with which he remains associated as a resident artist. Bruns sings such Mozart roles as Belmonte (The Abduction from the Seraglio), Tamino (The Magic Flute), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), and Ferrando (Così fan tutte) and also performs Italian repertoire (for example, Don Ramiro in Rossini’s La cenerentola) and such selected Wagner roles as Erik in The Flying Dutchman, David in Die Meistersinger, and Loge in Das Rheingold. From 2012 to 2016, he played the Helmsman in Dutchman at the Bayreuth Festival. In the 2018-19 season, Bruns made his role debut as Alwa in Berg’s Lulu at the Teatro Municipal de Santiago and appeared as Hylas in a new production of Berlioz’s Les Troyens at the Vienna Staatsoper, as Tamino at the Bavarian Staatsoper, and as Wenzel in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride at the Dresden Staatsoper. Oratorio and lieder singing are a significant counterpart for Bruns to his work on the opera stage. His concert repertoire ranges from Bach and Handel to the Viennese classicists, Schumann, Mendelssohn, and Bruckner. He has performed with such renowned orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, the Dresden Staatskapelle, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Czech Philharmonic, and the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. 

    July 2019

    Kwangchul Youn

    The South Korean bass Kwangchul Youn began his education at the university of his native Chungju. He moved to Europe in 1990 to continue his vocal studies at the Music Academy in Sofia and later at the University of the Arts in Berlin, where he graduated in 1993. In the same year, Youn was a winner at Plácido Domingo’s Operalia Competition and became a permanent member of the Berlin Staatsoper ensemble, where he remained for eleven years. He made his debut there in numerous major roles of the bass repertoire, from Mozart, Beethoven, and Rossini through Meyerbeer and Lortzing to Verdi, Puccini, Wagner, and Strauss. Between 1996 and 2015, Youn was a permanent guest at the Bayreuth Festival, where he appeared as Landgrave Hermann in Tannhäuser, King Marke in Tristan, Fasolt and Hunding in The Ring, Gurnemanz in Parsifal, and Daland in The Flying Dutchman. He has also performed at such leading international venues as the Vienna and Bavarian Staatsoper companies, the Royal Opera House in London, the Metropolitan Opera in New York, La Scala in Milan, the Opéra national de Paris, and the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona. In the 2018-19 season, Youn appeared as Ferrando in Verdi’s Il trovatore at the Bavarian Staatsoper, King Heinrich in Wagner’s Lohengrin in Vienna, and, in Berlin, as Sarastro in Mozart’s The Magic Flute and Pogner in Wagner’s Die Meistersinger; he will return to the Metropolitan Opera in the fall of 2019 to sing in Massenet’s Manon. Youn has worked with many renowned conductors, including Daniel Barenboim, James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Kirill Petrenko, and Christian Thielemann. His artistic work has been documented on numerous CDs and DVDs. Kwangchul Youn was named a Berliner Kammersänger in 2018.

    LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 18 September 2011, when he sang the role of Hunding in a concert performance of the first act of Wagner’s Die Walküre with the Staatskapelle Berlin
    under Daniel Barenboim.

    July 2019

    18.30 | KKL Luzern, Auditorium
    Concert Introduction with Susanne Stähr (in German)

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