The Infernal Comedy

Starring John Malkovich

Confessions of a Serial Killer

Birmingham International Concert Season 2011/12

Saturday 26th May 2012

Symphony Hall

Written by Michael Sturminger
Based on an idea by Birgit Hutter and Martin Haselböck
Music concept and conductor Martin Haselböck
Stage director Michael Sturminger
Costume designer Birgit Hutter
Wiener Akademie
Martin Haselböck conductor
John Malkovich actor
Louise Fribo soprano
Marie Arnet soprano

Music includes:

Vivaldi Aria Sposa son disprezzata  
Beethoven Scene and Aria Ah, perfido  
Haydn Scena di Berenice  
Weber Scene and Aria Ah se Edmundo fosse l’uccisor!  
Mozart Recitative, Aria and Cavatina Ah, lo previdi  

The running time is approximately 1 hour 40 minutes with no interval.
Supported by Birmingham Repertory Theatre

John Malkovich stars in a stage play for baroque orchestra, singers and actor, based on the real-life story of convicted serial killer Jack Unterweger. Malkovich’s monologues journey through the life and mind of this notorious Viennese womaniser, writer and murderer, illustrated with music embodying joy, hatred, love, grief, and desire. Sometimes darkly comic, sometimes bleakly brutal, it’s a fascinating, provocative and sometimes controversial insight into the twisted mind of, as Malkovich says, “a bad, bad guy.”

Review by Diane Parkes, BehindTheArras:

Click here for full review

…     “Malkovich is the perfect actor for the part of Unterweger blending charm and charisma with calculation and a chilling disregard for the hopes, dreams and lives of others. It is a difficult role but one he carries off incredibly convincingly.”

Article by Marion McMullen, Birmingham Mail:

Click here for full article

…     “The 58-year-old actor started his performance by striding onto the stage and announcing – in a strong Austrian accent – “Hi, we’re at the Symphony Hall.. not the Hippodrome.”

He also dropped in references to Villa Park and even left the stage to walk down the aisles and sit among the audience in his guise as the charming and chilling killer Jack.”     …


Blog post by EnglishChouChou:

Click here for full post

Bell and Isserlis Play Brahms

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Sat 5 Mar 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Joshua Bell  violin
Steven Isserlis  cello

Haydn Symphony No 13 20’
Mendelssohn Symphony No 4, Italian 28’
Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello 32’

Joshua Bell and Steven Isserlis join forces in the radiant lyricism of Brahms’s Double Concerto. In addition Joshua Bell directs Mendelssohn’s exuberant Italian Symphony, and Steven Isserlis conducts Haydn’s Symphony No 13 – a delightful exercise in youthful high spirits.

Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, says of tonight’s recommended concert:
“A musical tour de force with two celebrated soloists who are also accomplished at conducting and directing. The Brahms Double Concerto should be a treat to behold.”

Review by David Hart, Birmingham Post:

…   “It was a pity he faced the orchestra for three movements, as it made his own playing redundant; but his full-frontal rendition of the Adagio’s meltingly lovely cello solo more than compensated.

In some ways this was the high spot of the evening. The Andante of Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello (with conductor Ian Brown in charge) came a close second and was beautifully shaped. Both soloists brought passionate energy to the other movements, even in those passages where Brahms’s inspiration seems to have deserted him.”    …

Takács Quartet

Birmingham International Concert Season 2010/11

Thu 11 Nov 7:30pm at Town Hall

Haydn String Quartet, Op 74, No 3 18’
Shostakovich String Quartet No 2 33’
Schubert String Quartet, Death and the Maiden 40’

 Generally regarded as Europe’s pre-eminent string quartet, the Takács return to Town Hall with quartets by Haydn and Shostakovich alongside Schubert’s gravely beautiful Death and the Maiden Quartet. ‘This is chamber-music playing of overwhelming intensity, insight and intelligence, simply the best I have ever heard in concert’, wrote the critic of The Guardian recently.

BBC Music magazine’s Editor Oliver Condy explains why he has recommended tonight’s concert:
“The Takács Quartet were the first ever winners of the BBC Music magazine’s Disc of the Year award back in 2006. I’ve since seen them live several times and have never yet failed to be entranced by their ability to breathe new life to into well-worn masterpieces.”

Review by Norman Stinchcombe, Birmingham Post:

…”The Takács Quartet used a wide dynamic range and their grip on the audience was as firm as their grip on the music. This was a magnificent performance which combined intense concentration with rhetorical flair.”…

CBSO 90th Birthday Concert

Wednesday 10 November 2010 at 7.30pm

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

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Andris Nelsons  conductor
James Ehnes  violin

Strauss: Der Rosenkavalier – Suite 21′
Haydn: Symphony No. 90 25′
Elgar: Violin Concerto 45′

Encore: Strauss: Salome’s Dance

On 10 November 1920 in Birmingham Town Hall, Sir Edward Elgar
mounted the podium to conduct the first official concert by the brand-new
City of Birmingham Orchestra – the future CBSO. And exactly 100
years ago in London, he conducted the world premiere of his Violin
Concerto: arguably his most personal work, certainly his most passionate.
Tonight Andris Nelsons, violinist James Ehnes and the CBSO celebrate
this double anniversary in lavish style, and mark another milestone on
the CBSO’s 10-year 2020 project with a second masterpiece from
1910: the sumptuous suite from Richard Strauss’s most gorgeous
opera (and that’s saying something). Haydn’s joyous 90th Symphony
completes this 90th birthday celebration.

Recorded for Radio 3 to be broadcast 7pm Thursday 11th November

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

…”The mood changed completely for the Elgar Violin Concerto, exactly a century old this evening. Rapport between Nelsons, the orchestra and soloist James Ehnes was miraculous, Ehnes singing a seamless song of wistful regret, his accompanists with him every step of this marathon way. Eventually we arrived at the famous cadenza, the orchestral strings shimmering, Ehnes musing nostalgically in dark rich tones.

A party may have launched the evening; it ended with an orgy, the Dance of the Seven Veils from Strauss’ Salome stirringly vivid from a hugely enlarged orchestra responding to Nelsons’ self-exhausting choreography.”

Haydn 200 : The Creation

Thursday 3 December 2009 at 7.30pm

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

Andris Nelsons  conductor
Ailish Tynan  soprano
Toby Spence  tenor
Vuyani Mlinde  bass
CBSO Chorus  

Haydn: The Creation (sung in English) 109′

“When I think of God, I can’t help writing cheerful music,” admitted Joseph Haydn. So it’s no wonder that his great oratorio The Creation is one of the freshest, happiest and most unstuffy pieces of religious music ever written. Fizzy operatic arias, blockbuster choruses and a visionary musical depiction of the birth of the Universe itself – they’re all part of Haydn’s shamelessly tuneful version of the Book of Genesis. Adam and Eve even get their own love-duet! There’s no more enjoyable way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Haydn’s death – and to hear the CBSO’s magnificent chorus in full, resplendent

Tonight’s concert is supported by the Tolkien Trust.

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

“…The result is irresistible in the right hands, and Nelsons’ were certainly those.

In addition to the sprightly orchestral playing (Peter Hill’s timpani looked modern but sounded so authentic) and vivid choral contributions, the continuo-playing of fortepianist Alistair Young and cellist Ulrich Heinen was alert and deliciously seasoned. …”

Haydn 200: II

Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 7.30pm

Town Hall, Birmingham 0121 780 3333

Jean-Christophe Spinosi – conductor
Rinat Shaham – mezzo-soprano

Mozart Overture to Cosi fan tutte, K. 588
Mozart Recit & Smanie Implacabile (Cosi Fan Tutti)
Mozart Voi Che Sapete (Marriage of Figaro)
Haydn Symphony No. 83 “La Poule”
Rossini Overture to Il barbiere di Siviglia
Rossini Cruda sorte (L’Italiana in Algeri)
Rossini Una Voce Poco fa (Barber of Seville) 26′
Haydn Symphony No. 82 “The Bear”

One of the stars of the period instrument music scene and now a leading opera conductor, Corsican-born Jean-Christophe Spinosi makes his CBSO debut with a sparkling programme featuring this year’s anniversary composer Haydn. Two of the latter’s splendid Paris symphonies are separated by arias by Rossini, sung by one of today’s leading mezzos, acclaimed for her ‘Carmen’ at Glyndebourne.

Review by Geoff Read, Seen and Heard, UK:

“…Shaham’s allure was equally to the fore in Rosina’s Una voce poco fa from Il Barbiere – a natural for the part of Rossini’s sex kitten. She was a veritable minx, but one with also a sting in her tale as her vigorous tantrum demonstrated. The orchestral closure after her thrilling climactic top was overtaken by the applause. We loved her but an encore in the middle of a concert? Not an option.  … “

Review by Christopher Morley, Birmingham Post:

Murray Perahia Plays Bach and Mozart

Fri 13 Nov 7:30pm at Symphony Hall

Academy of St Martin in the Fields
Murray Perahia piano/director

J C Bach Sinfonia Concertante in E flat, T288/7
Mozart Piano Concerto No 17 in G, K453
J S Bach Concerto No 3 in D, BWV1054
Mozart Symphony No 38, Prague

Maturity, elegance and simplicity are hallmarks of Murray Perahia’s performances. In the great classical works he is ardent, persuasive, but never dull. With this concert Perahia extends his range, directing Mozart and Bach from the keyboard and taking up the baton for the Prague Symphony – a work of grandeur, majesty and celebratory exuberance.

Encore: Final movement Haydn Symphony?

Review by Rian Evans, Guardian: 

“The Academy of St Martin in the Fields is celebrating its half-century by touring Europe with Murray Perahia as pianist/director. ….The Academy players were alert to Perahia’s every nuance, with flautist Adam Walker and oboist Christopher Cowie outstanding.” 5/5