Duke Bluebeard’s Castle

BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SEASON 2011/12

Fri 21 Oct 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Philharmonia Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor
Sir John Tomlinson Bluebeard
Michelle DeYoung Judith
Juliet Stevenson narrator
Nick Hillel director

Debussy Prélude à L’Après-midi d’un faune 10’
Janáček Sinfonietta 23’
Bartók Duke Bluebeard’s Castle (semi-staged) 60’

Please note Measha Brueggergosman will be replaced by Michelle DeYoung.

Fresh from last year’s breathtaking Tristan und Isolde, Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia celebrate their return to Symphony Hall with the blazing fanfares of Janácek’s sunny Sinfonietta. But then we step into the darkness of Bluebeard’s castle for a world premiere production: a groundbreaking video installation transforms the Hall into the lair of one of classical music’s greatest villains. Sir John Tomlinson plays the formidable duke whose new bride discovers shocking secrets hidden behind seven doors, each evoked by Bartók’s spine-tingling score.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor, Oliver Condy, recommends tonight’s concert: “Bartók’s great psychological thriller is high up on my list of works that I’d encourage first-time opera-goers to give a try. A gripping evening awaits…” www.thsh.co.uk 

Article on Sir John Tomlinson, by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:
“It was growing up in the heart of industrial Britain which steered one of the great Wagnerians of our time to a career in music.” …

Read More:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/10/21/taking-wagner-to-deeper-levels-65233-29622426/#ixzz1bSwH9m20

 

Article about the production by Jessica Duchen, Independent:

http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/classical/features/electronic-nightmares-on-bluebeards-battlements-2366466.html

 

Philharmonia players blog about Duke Bluebeard’s Castle:

http://philharmonia.co.uk/bartok/blog

The Making of Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle:

http://www.esapekkasalonen.co.uk/video/the-making-of-bartoks-duke-bluebeards-castle 

 

Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:

Click:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/culture/2011/oct/24/philharmonia-salonen-bartok-review

…     “The parade of images – weeping walls, bloodstained jewels, luxuriant blooms and a final sad parade of the silhouettes of Bluebeard’s former wives – is fine as far as it goes, but entirely superfluous when the performance is as good as it was here. Salonen conjured every orchestral colour from the Philharmonia with tremendous panache – the huge C major climax at the opening of the fifth door was sumptuous – while DeYoung and Tomlinson focused the drama superbly, she a wonderful mix of naivety and obsession, he remarkable in his portrait of cruel implacability and sheer, despairing loneliness.”

 

Review by Elmley de la Cour, Birmingham Post:

Click:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/10/28/review-duke-bluebeard-s-castle-philharmonia-orchestra-at-symphony-hall-65233-29664730/

…     “But musically it was excellent. Michelle DeYoung dealt nimbly with Judith’s declamatory lines.

John Tomlinson’s Hungarian sounded wonderful, and, shrouded in his cloak, was every inch the mysterious, tortured duke.

Esa-Pekka Salonen navigated clearly through the work’s abounding details, and the orchestra played well for him, particularly the phalanx of strings.”     …

 

Review by Christopher Thomas, SeenandHeard MusicWeb:

Click:

http://www.seenandheard-international.com/2011/10/28/triumphant-new-semi-staged-production-of-bartok%e2%80%99s-duke-bluebeard%e2%80%99s-castle/

…     “Nick Hiller’s production and dramatic visuals proved to be nothing short of a triumph, enthralling totally from the very start, whilst it is well nigh impossible to imagine a more chilling, atmospheric and powerful performance than that given by Sir John Tomlinson, Michelle DeYoung and the forces of the Philharmonia. With the production now set to go on tour, this is a Bluebeard not to be missed.”

Tragedy and Triumph

Wednesday 1 June 2011 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons conductor
Jean-Efflam Bavouzet piano

Tchaikovsky: Francesca da Rimini 24′
Bartók: Piano Concerto No. 2 28′
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 44′

The horns blast out a savage fanfare; the trumpets scream in reply…and you know this isn’t going to be any ordinary symphony. It’s Tchaikovsky’s Fourth, the no-holds-barred emotional autobiography in which one of the most troubled – but inspired – composers of all time wrestles publicly with his personal demons in music of startling rawness and power. The reason? Well, maybe his tone-poem Francesca da Rimini offers a clue – a tale of forbidden love and desperate torment, set to some of even Tchaikovsky’s most passionate music.

Please note Mihaela Ursuleasa has withdrawn from this concert and we are grateful to Jean-Efflam Bavouzet who has kindly agreed to take her place at short notice. www.cbso.co.uk

Jean-Efflam Bavouzet’s encore – Ravel –

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2011/06/04/review-tchaikovsky-andris-nelsons-cbso-at-symphony-hall-birmingham-65233-28826210/

…     “This was an urgent, gripping reading, and so was Nelsons’ account of Tchaikovsky’s tremendous Fourth Symphony, brilliantly responsive to its structure, ebbing and flowing in emotional intensity, and a tribute all the time to the immense trust and love between conductor and orchestra.”     …

Beethoven’s Pastoral

Thursday 24 June 2010 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Ludovic Morlot  conductor
Renaud Capuçon  violin

Bartók: Two Pictures 17′
Ligeti: Violin Concerto 28′
Beethoven: Symphony No. 6 (Pastoral) 40′

It’s summer – so it must be Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony. From its dewy-fresh opening to the serene Shepherd’s Hymn with which it closes, no composer has ever captured the healing power of nature more timelessly. Two centuries on, it’s still a candidate for the most relaxing piece of music ever written. Guest conductor Ludovic Morlot brings a uniquely Gallic lightness of touch to Beethoven’s inspiration – and plenty of colour for Bartók’s folk-flavoured miniatures. They’ll stand him in good stead for the amazing sound-world of Ligeti’s Violin Concerto. French virtuoso Renaud Capuçon brings all his skill to bear on the ravishing colours, child-like humour and crackling energy of this true modern classic.

Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

http://www.birminghampost.net/life-leisure-birmingham-guide/birmingham-culture/music-in-birmingham/2010/06/28/review-cbso-ludovic-morlot-renaud-capucon-at-symphony-hall-birmingham-65233-26741193/

…”Capuçon was dazzling, in both musicality and sheer physicality, as he tried to outwit his opponents by playing faster, quieter, louder and even by charming them with a beautiful, rapt romantic solo.” …

…”The CBSO’s wind players excelled in Bartok’s Two Pictures especially in the rumbustious village folk dances.”…