Daniel Harding © Peter Fischli/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
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Daniel Harding © Peter Fischli/LUCERNE FESTIVAL
Daniel Harding © Julian Hargreaves
Symphony Concert 17
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam | Daniel Harding | soloists
“O sink hernieder, Nacht der Liebe”: Hardly any other work manifests the power of music as strongly as Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, whose second act includes these words (“Descend, o night of love”) in its love duet between the two protagonists, weaving an almost narcotic spell with its ecstatic waves of sound. This is music whose effect on the subconscious is immediate, drawing the listener in with intoxicating power. Resistance is futile. And it was inspired by an unful- filled relationship. When a rapturous letter from the composer to the charming Mathilde Wesendonck, wife of his Zurich patron, was intercepted by Wagner’s jealous wife Minna, it brought an abrupt end to the affair before they could give in to their passion. But Wagner fulfilled his dream of love in music. And he had an inkling about what it was he had succeeded in creating: “I fear the opera will be forbidden,” he wrote to Mathilde. “Only mediocre performances can save me! Completely good ones will drive people to insanity.” So be prepared for everything when Daniel Harding lifts up his baton …
Food & Drinks during the Summer Festival 2019
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Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam/© Anne Dokter
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam
The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam (RCO) was founded in 1888 as the Concertgebouworkest for the opening of Amsterdam’s concert hall; it officially received the appellation “Royal” to mark its 100th anniversary. Willem Kees was the first chief conductor and in 1895 passed the reins on to Willem Mengelberg. For a half-century, Mengelberg influenced the orchestra and established its great Mahler tradition. Eduard van Beinum was the first to helm the RCO following the Second World War and was succeeded by Bernard Haitink (1961–1988), Riccardo Chailly (1988–2004), Mariss Jansons (2004–2015), and Daniele Gatti (2016–2018). Leading composers such as Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss conducted the RCO on more than one occasion. The orchestra still regularly collaborates with contemporary composers and premieres their works. In addition to some 90 concerts in Amsterdam, the RCO gives 40 concerts at leading concert halls throughout the world each year and will tour to Japan and Taiwan this November. In the 2019-20 season, the violist Tabea Zimmermann will serve as artist-in-residence and the British composer and conductor Thomas Adès will play a major role with a six-part concert series. More than 1,100 recordings on LP, CD, and DVD to date, which since 2004 have been released on its in-house label, document the RCO’s artistic achievements. The orchestra is also committed to developing talent through the RCO Academy, collaborative efforts with other institutions, and Young, a youth orchestra for “hidden talent” from all over Europe launched in 2019. The RCO is co-funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture, and Science; the Municipality of Amsterdam; sponsors; funds; and numerous donors all over the world. The largest portion of its income is generated by proceeds from the concerts it gives in and outside the Netherlands.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 3 September 1972 in a program of music by Stravinsky and Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony under Bernard Haitink.
Further information: www.concertgebouw.nl
Daniel Harding © Julian Hargreaves
Daniel Harding, who was born in 1975 in Oxford, began his career as an assistant to Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado. He made his debuts with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 1994 and, in 1996, with the Berlin Philharmonic, with which he continues to perform regularly. His first leadership positions led him to the Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, which elected him Honorary Conductor for Life. He has been Principal Conductor of the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra since 2007 and has extended his contract there until 2023. From 2016 to the summer of 2019, he headed the Orchestre de Paris and, from 2007 to 2016, he was additionally Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra. Harding also works with the Vienna Philharmonic, the Saxon Staatskapelle, the Gewandhaus Orchestra Leipzig, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the leading American orchestras. As an opera conductor, Harding has been a regular guest at the Aix-en-Provence Festival since 1998, where he led Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress in 2017. He has conducted works including Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro at the Salzburg Festival and Verdi’s Falstaff as well as Schubert’s Fierabras at La Scala in Milan. The Vienna, Bavarian, and Berlin Staatsoper companies as well as the Royal Opera House in London have also engaged him for a variety of productions. Daniel Harding was awarded the Premio Abbiati (Italian Critics’ Prize) in 2011. His recordings have garnered the Choc de l’Année, the Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros, the Gramophone Award, and a Grammy. He has been a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres since 2002 and a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Music since 2012.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL debut on 16 August 2003 with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in works by Haydn, Kelterborn, and Schumann.
Stuart Skelton © Sim Canetty-Clarke
The Australian tenor Stuart Skelton began his vocal training at the Conservatory of Music in his native Sydney. After winning the McDonald’s Aria Competition, he continued his education in the United States at the University of Cincinnati, gaining practical experience as a scholarship fellow in San Francisco Opera’s Merola Opera Program. In 1997 he won first prize at the International Belvedere Singing Competition in Vienna and launched his career, which soon led him to Wagner. At the age of just 29, he made his role debut as Lohengrin in Karlsruhe, but his repertoire has since expanded to include Parsifal, Rienzi, Erik in The Flying Dutchman, Siegmund in Die Walküre, and Tristan. By no means confined to Wagner, Skelton also performs roles by Beethoven (Florestan in Fidelio), Tchaikovsky (Hermann in Pique Dame), Strauss (Bacchus in Ariadne auf Naxos), and Janáček (Laca in Jenůfa and Boris in Kát’a Kabanová). He is especially acclaimed for his interpretation of Britten’s Peter Grimes. Skelton performs at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Royal Opera House in London, La Scala in Milan, and the Opéra national de Paris, as well as the Bavarian, Saxon, and Vienna Staatsoper companies. He sang the title role in Verdi’s Otello with the Berlin Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta at the Baden-Baden Easter Festival in 2019, where he appeared as Tristan in 2016 under Sir Simon Rattle. Skelton has also collaborated with Rattle to record Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. He has additionally worked with such conductors as Daniel Barenboim, Mariss Jansons, Vladimir Jurowski, Sir Antonio Pappano, and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Skelton was named Singer of the Year at the 2014 International Opera Awards.
Christine Goerke © Arielle Doneson
The American soprano Christine Goerke comes from New York State. She completed her music studies at the State University of New York at Fredonia, initially with a focus on clarinet, before deciding to become a singer in 1989. She began her career as a member of the Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, to which she belonged from 1994 to 1997. Her first major role at the Met was Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. But Goerke soon switched to dramatic soprano and has since been especially successful performing heroines from in the operas of Richard Strauss and Richard Wagner. Credits include engagements at San Francisco and Los Angeles Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, and Houston Grand Opera in the United States, while in Europe she has appeared at the Royal Opera House in London, the Opéra national de Paris, La Scala in Milan, Deutsche Oper in Berlin, and the Teatro Real in Madrid. Most recently, in the spring of 2019, she sang Brünnhilde in Wagner’s Ring cycle at the Metropolitan Opera; in the 2019-20 season, she will return there as Puccini’s Turandot. She will also make her debut at the Vienna Staatsoper in Strauss’s Elektra and will appear as Brünnhilde in a new production of Götterdämmerung in Chicago. Goerke additionally sings a wide range of concert repertoire, including the Stabat Mater settings by Dvořák, Poulenc, and Szymanowski. She has worked with such conductors as James Levine, Zubin Mehta, Andris Nelsons, Seiji Ozawa, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Christian Thielemann, and Michael Tilson Thomas. Christine Goerke won the Richard Tucker Award and has garnered the Grammy Award twice. She was named Vocalist of the Year in 2015 by Musical America and received the 2017 Opera News Award.
Claudia Mahnke Claudia Mahnke © Monika Rittershaus
The German mezzo-soprano Claudia Mahnke studied at the Dresden Academy of Music under Heidi Petzold. From 1996 to 2006, she was a member of the Stuttgart Opera ensemble, where she acquired a broad repertoire and was appointed Kammersängerin in 2006. She subsequently moved to Frankfurt Opera, where she remains a permanent member. Guest engagements have taken her to such stages as the Bavarian Staatsoper, San Francisco Opera, Los Angeles Opera, and Opéra National de Lyon. Claudia Mahnke made her Bayreuth Festival debut as Fricka in the Ring. In the 2019-20 season, her assignments as a Wagner singer include performing the roles of Brangäne in new productions of Tristan und Isolde in Frankfurt and Cologne and of Kundry (Parsifal) at the Hamburg Staatsoper. She will also appear in Spontini’s La Vestale at the Theater an der Wien and as Dorabella in Mozart’s Così fan tutte at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.
Mark Omvlee © Yuri van der Meer
The Dutch tenor Mark Omvlee, who was born in 1977, studied with Hein Meens at the Amsterdam Conservatory. He has taken master classes with Siegfried Jerusalem and Wolfgang Brendel and is currently being mentored by Robert Gambill. Omvlee began his career as an ensemble member at Opera Zuid in Maastricht before being regularly engaged by Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam. He has also made guest appearances at the Salzburg Landestheater and the opera companies in Dijon, Limoges, Caen, and Lille and has worked with such conductors as Marc Albrecht, Sté-phane Denève, Charles Dutoit, Da-niele Gatti, Pablo Heras-Casado, Jakub Hrůša, and Christophe Rousset. Omvlee’s repertoire ranges from the Baroque to the present day; one of his signature roles is Jack Twist from the cowboy opera Brokeback Mountain by Charles Wuorinen. In the concert hall, he also sings the Evangelist roles in Bach’s Passions, for which he has collaborated with Reinhard Goebel.
The German baritone Stefan Astakhov, who was born in Moscow 1997 and is just shy of 21, began his vocal training with Caroline Thomas at the Detmold Conservatory of Music in 2015. He has continued his studies with Bogdan Makal in Wrocław since October 2018, while at the same time attending the Opera School at the National Theater in Warsaw. Last year he won the “Ton und Erklärung” Competition, the jury for which was chaired by Brigitte Fassbaender, and also received the Young Talent Prize at the s’Hertogenbosch International Singing Competition. Astakhov has sung the title roles in Mozart’s Figaro and Don Giovanni at the Wrocław Opera House and has been in the cast of Britten’s Billy Budd at the National Theater in Prague. He has also appeared at the Landestheater Detmold and at the Jennersdorf Festival in Austria. In 2019 he was one of the scholarship fellows at Thomas Hampson’s Lied Academy at the Heidelberg Spring Festival.
Goerne, Matthias © Marco Borggreve
Born in 1967 in Weimar, the baritone Matthias Goerne completed his vocal training with Hans-Joachim Beyer, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, and Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. His artistic work focuses on lieder singing and has led him to partnerships with such pianists as Alfred Brendel, Christoph Eschenbach, Markus Hinterhäuser, and Daniil Trifonov. Goerne is also successful in music theater and has appeared in works by Mozart, Strauss, Wagner, Berg, and Hindemith at the Vienna, Bavarian, and Saxon Staatsoper companies; the Royal Opera House in London; the Metropolitan Opera in New York; La Scala in Milan; and the Opéra national de Paris. He regularly performs at the Salzburg Festival. In the 2018-19 season, Goerne was artist-in-residence with the New York Philharmonic. His discography, which includes a twelve-part Schubert edition, has garnered a Grammy Award, the Diapason d’or, the ICMA Award, and the German Record Critics’ Award.
LUCERNE FESTIVAL (IMF) debut on 1 September 1999 singing Schubert’s Winterreise, with Alfred Brendel at the keyboard.
11.00 and 14.00 | Richard Wagner Museum
Concert Introductions with Susanne Stähr (in German)
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