BIRMINGHAM INTERNATIONAL CONCERT SEASON 2011/12
Fri 21 Oct 7:30pm at Symphony Hall
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.” …
Article about the production by Jessica Duchen, Independent:
Philharmonia players blog about Duke Bluebeard’s Castle:
The Making of Bartok’s Duke Bluebeard’s Castle:
Review by Andrew Clements, Guardian:
… “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:
… “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:
… “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.”