This time our Sunday concert series will focus on currents of European music theatre in various national shades and hues. All the works have one thing in common: an ability to reflect their time of origin as well as the present day – with themes such as love, illness and death, blind devotion, a longing for freedom and rapturous pleasure. A chamber play written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp is followed by a vocal pièce de resistance with a charmingly frivolous French touch, two Pushkin settings and finally an Alpine drama with Italian melodies. Pure listening pleasure in concert performances with sterling singers!
Chamber opera by Viktor Ullmann
Sunday, 10 October 2021, 7:00 pm
The times are dark: hidden in his palace, the Emperor of Atlantis declares war. But Death refuses to serve, and the suffering continues unabated. Composed in 1943 in Theresienstadt and banned after the dress rehearsal, Viktor Ullmann’s chamber opera The Emperor of Atlantis had to wait until 1975 for its première. This “play in one act” is a nightmarish portrayal of reality in a Nazi concentration camp. But it also reflects contemporary themes, with echoes of jazz and popular music of the 1920s, meaningful quotations and incisive orchestration.
Comic Opera by Gioachino Rossin
Sunday, 12 December 2021, 7:00 pm
Take an Italian opera buffa, add new ingredients, flavour the whole thing with a dash of French coquetry and elegance, and violà: you have a sparkling new comic opera. This is what happened in Paris in 1828 when Rossini created his next-to-last stage work Le comte Ory, drawing on his royal coronation opera Il viaggio a Reims. The result was a brilliant comedy about the amorous adventures of Count Ory, complete with a musical thunderstorm, drinking bouts and an “ill-starred” love trio.
Two one act operas by Sergej Rachmaninow
Sunday, 30 January 2022, 7:00 pm
Sergei Rachmaninoff, in his two one-act operas after Pushkin, shows the destructive power of human feelings as if under a magnifying glass. In Aleko (1893) the eponymous hero murders the mother of his child as well as his rival. The Miserly Knight who gave the title to the second one-acter (1906) pays for his greed and dreams of power with his life. Elements of the European operatic tradition, the musical idiom of the Russian school and even traces of Rachmaninoff’s visit to Bayreuth make these two pieces a special experience.
Dramma lirico by Alfredo Catalani
Sunday, 3 April 2022, 7:00 pm
Wilhelmine von Hillern’s best-selling novel Die Geier-Wally (The Vulture Maiden) formed the basis of an opera by Italian composer Alfredo Catalani, premièred at La Scala in in 1892. For this drama, set in the Ötztal Alps, Catalani offered an impressive score: we need only think of the title heroine’s aria “Ebben? Ne andrò lontana” as she strives for freedom and self-determination, or the prelude to Act IV, depicting the frozen wastes of the Murzoll Glacier. A grandiose work about strong emotions and forces of nature – and a perfect way for the Munich Radio Orchestra to celebrate its 70th birthday!
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