Friday Night Classics: A Night at the Opera

Friday 29 April 2011 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Stuart Stratford conductor
Susana Gaspar soprano
Ji Hyun Kim tenor
Daniel Grice baritone

Mozart: The Marriage of FigaroOverture

Bizet: CarmenPrelude and Aragonaise from Suite No.1 ;    Les Toréadors;    Micaëla’s Aria

Bizet: The Pearl FishersAu fond du temple saint

Wagner: LohengrinPrelude to Act III

Dvořák: RusalkaSong to the Moon

Tchaikovsky: Eugene OneginLensky’s Aria

Mozart: Don GiovanniLà ci darem la mano


Rossini: The Barber of SevilleOverture

Rossini: La CenerentolaCome un’ape

Donizetti: L’elisir d’amoreUna furtiva lagrima

Gounod: Roméo et JulietteJuliette’s Waltz Song

Verdi: AidaTriumphal March

Puccini: La BohèmeAct IV duet;    Quando me’n vo

Mascagni: Cavalleria Rusticana Intermezzo

Rachmaninov: AlekoAleko’s Cavatina

Verdi: La TraviataBrindisi

(Sung in original languages with English surtitles)

This evening’s fabulous array of opera-house favourites has it all: love, magic, flirtatious ladies, ‘gentlemen’ with one too many conquests to their name, and a fair few characters meeting rather unpleasant endings – some more well-deserved than others. The world of opera is not one known for understatement, so expect passions to run high as the CBSO and three world-class soloists treat you to a programme packed with great music. And following the announcement of the Royal Wedding taking place earlier on this very day, the CBSO joins in the celebrations with Mozart’s effervescent Marriage of Figaro Overture as the curtain-raiser.

Please note Ana James has withdrawn from the concert on Friday 29 April. We are grateful to Susana Gaspar who has kindly agreed to take her place at short notice.

The schedule and programme remains unchanged.

Review by Paul Marston, BehindtheArras:

…     “Three world class soloists – Portuguese soprano Susana Gasper, Korean tenor Ji Hyun Kim and British baritone Daniel Grice – turned on the style with some of those much loved arias, and the orchestra impressed with the Trumphal March from Verdi’s Aida.

Gaspar, who replaced Ana James at short notice, excelled in Dvorak’s Rusalka – Song to the Moon, while Kim and Grice thrilled the audience with the beautiful duet, Au Fond du Temple Saint, from Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers.”     …

Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring – 3D Performance

Thursday 21 April 2011 at 6.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Ilan Volkov conductor
Julia Mach dancer
Klaus Obermaier concept, artistic direction, choreography
Ars Electronica Futurelab interactive design & technical development
Alois Hummer sound design
Wolfgang Friedlinger lighting design

Varèse:  Tuning Up (sketch, completed by Chou Wen-Chung)

Ligeti: Lontano

Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

Any live performance of Stravinsky’s infamous Rite of Spring is a mind-blowing experience – the music alone is brim-full of raw emotion and ritualistic frenzy. Tonight, experience an astonishing interplay between reality and fantasy, as dancer Julia Mach’s live performance interacts with real-time computer-generated stereoscopic projections, translated into virtual reality with the aid of 3D spectacles for the audience. Digital wizardry meets the primeval world of Stravinsky’s ballet score!

Blog posts / review by Zyls:

…     “Tonight’s performance was very, very clever – the technology, commitment and work put into creating such a feast was impressive – the CBSO are truly world class, the dancer incredible and the capability of the technology – a brave mix of classical music, art and dance – hugely inspiring.”     …

Review by Roger Clarke, BehindtheArras:

“ANY visit to a theatre or concert is an experience but this is a theatrical experience that really means it. I defy anyone to leave at the end unscathed. Once in your mind you will never forget it.   […]

[…]  This takes 3D into whole new realms though, way beyond the fun and novelty stages. This 3D is a thing of art and beauty, of disturbing images, of despair and darkness, light and hope.Emotions and fears distilled on an electronic matrix.

It is astounding, fascinating, enthralling, stunning stuff – a new art form has been discovered. Classical music and ballet meets virtual reality.”     …

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

…     “It is the account of the music, though, that proves to be the show’s saving grace. It is quite superbly played by the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra under Ilan Volkov, and their hour-long programme begins – thankfully without glasses or choreography – with two more 20th-century classics. ”      …

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…     “This extraordinary presentation of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring was a total triumph, from the confident orchestral opening by the CBSO under the clear direction of Ilan Volkov (what fabulous delivery by Gretha Tuls of that notorious high bassoon solo!), through the mesmerically controlled movements of dancer Julia Mach, and the brilliant realisation of his own choreography by the concept-designer and artistic director Klaus Obermaier.”     …

Review by Geoff Read, MusicWeb:

…     “The swaying sensations of Spring Rounds were emphasised by the visions of Obermaier: the compulsive rhythm was synchronised to an undulating floor. Mach reminded me of a gymnast trying to keep her balance on a trampoline bed that’s been given a life of its own. This particular effect together with the computer enhancement as the dancer arms become elongated may be seen on Weird enough in two dimensions, the addition of the third made it even more mind-boggling. It was a magic carpet-ride on which Volkov wound up the CBSO strings and brass players to engage in the lethal blitz that followed, strains of Stravinsky that foreshadowed World War I. The flying 3D shapes returned, penetrating missiles akin to a game of paintballing, such was the suggestive power of Obermaier. I emerged unscathed from the battering.”     …

Ballets Russes

Thursday 14 April 2011 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
CBSO Chorus

Stravinsky: Petrushka 34′
Ravel: Daphnis et Chloé 50′

Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes launched twentieth-century art in a blaze of energy. As part of the CBSO’s ten-year 2020 project, we celebrate that astonishing moment with two of the revolutionary scores that Diaghilev commissioned from the most brilliant composers of the age. Stravinsky’s Petrushka tells a fantastic story of love and death amidst the marionettes at Russian spring fair; Ravel’s Daphnis et Chloé, meanwhile, is a love story of Ancient Greece, set to some of the most sensuous music ever written for the stage. It’s rarely heard in its entirety, and almost never in an acoustic as perfect as Symphony Hall. Prepare to be dazzled.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…     “Tattooing drums welded the scenes together (the phalanx of percussionists playing like a one-man drumkit), cornets and trumpets deployed both showmanship and sinister supernaturalism, solo woodwind evoked magic, and concertmaster Laurence Jackson added piquant violin solos.

This was a wonderfully colourful account of a score which demands so much in terms of melodic cell-nurturing and rhythmic cohesion.”   …..

Friday Night Classics: The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber

Friday 1 April 2011 at 7.30pm

Symphony Hall, Birmingham +44 (0)121-780 3333

 City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Nick Davies  conductor
Jacqui Scott  vocalist #
Robyn North  vocalist ~
Tim Rogers  vocalist >
David Shannon  vocalist *

Including hits from: Love Never Dies • The Phantom of the Opera • Cats • Evita •
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat • The Woman
in White • Starlight Express • Aspects of Love • Jesus Christ
Superstar • Whistle Down the Wind • Sunset Boulevard

The nation’s favourite song-smith, Andrew Lloyd Webber™ hasn’t been out of the public eye for decades – as a musical composer, theatre impresario, and now talent show judge. He’s broken records, won awards aplenty, and topped charts around the world. Join us as we revel in Lord Lloyd Webber’s unforgettable technicolor® tunes, in the company of great West End vocalists. Expect a night packed with all your best-loved songs, from Don’t Cry For Me Argentina to Love Changes Everything, Any Dream Will Do to Memory. We’ll even be giving you a taste of his latest show, Love Never Dies, the long-awaited sequel to Phantom.

Cats – The Jellicle Ball

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat®

A Pharaoh Story ~

Any Dream Will Do >

Jesus Christ Superstar

Heaven on Their Minds *

I Don’t Know How to Love Him #

The Woman in White – I Believe my Heart ~*


Magical Mr Mistoffelees >

Memory #

Song & Dance – Unexpected Song

Whistle Down the Wind

Whistle Down the Wind #

The Keys to the Vault of Heaven *


Love Never Dies

Coney Island Waltz

Love Never Dies ~

‘Til I Hear You Sing *

Sunset Boulevard

With One Look #

Too Much in Love to Care ~ >

Starlight Express – Starlight Express Sequence * >


Buenos Aires #

And the Money Kept Rolling In >

Don’t Cry for Me Argentina #

The Phantom of the Opera

The Phantom of the Opera ~ *

All I Ask of You ~ >

The Music of the Night *

EncoreAspects of Love – Love Changes Everything #~>*

Review by Paul Marston, BehindtheArras: (scroll down or “find on this page”!)


“THE magic of Andrew Lloyd Webber was there for all to hear in this brilliant concert with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra delivering the masestro’s music at its best.”     …