The programme of the concert of the Orchestre de Paris revolves around the French composer Maurice Ravel (1875–1937). Dafnis et Chloé, the dramatic, pastoral love story about a goatherd and a shepherdess who are assisted in finding happiness by the mythological god Pan, received its premiere in ballet form in 1912. The famous Russian impresario Sergei Diaghilev commissioned the work from Ravel. Diaghilev is especially remembered in music history in connection with the scandalous premiere of Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring (which did not occur until the following year). Ravel wanted the music of Dafnis et Chloé to have a life of its own beyond the confines of the theatre. Thanks to the suite that he assembled from the ballet, we can also be enchanted in the concert hall by his inventive orchestration and his radiantly colorful harmonies.
Introducing herself in a selection from Canteloube’s famed Chants d’ Auvergne will be the American mezzo soprano Kate Lindsey, who is known to the public at large mainly for the live broadcasts of performances of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Joseph Canteloube (1879–1957) was a French composer, musicologist, and leading expert on French folklore. In this five-part collection, which he worked on from 1923 to 1930, he drew on his vast experience as a collector of folk songs, an activity to which he had devoted his entire life. The songs are surprising for the richness of their instrumentation and their unusual harmonies, through which the composer wished to give a vivid depiction of the outdoor atmosphere. One interesting aspect of the work is that Canteloube recorded the songs in the Occitan dialect (langue d’oc).
The evening will conclude with well-known Pictures at an Exhibition by Modest Petrovich Mussorgsky (1839–1881), originally a set of piano pieces that were ingeniously orchestrated by Maurice Ravel. Mussorgsky was inspired to compose the music by the experiencing of visiting a retrospective exhibition of the work of his friend Viktor Alexandrovich Hartmann. Ten miniatures – the individual pictures – are connected by the motif of the Promenades. The concert will be played under the baton of the magnificent conductor Thomas Hengelbrock, who received acclaim for his performance at the opening concert of the Prague Spring festival in 2015.
The American mezzo-soprano Kate Lindsey is a graduate of Indiana University and of the three-year Lindemann Young Artist Development Program of the Metropolitan Opera, in which she made her debut in 2005 as Javotte (Manon). Angelina (La Cenerentola), Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), and Sesto (La Clemenza di Tito) are just a few of the roles that she has sung on the world’s leading stages (Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Bayerische Staatsoper, Los Angeles Opera). As a sought-after concert artist, she has made appearances with the New York Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Royal Concertgebouw, and many other ensembles.
The German conductor Thomas Hengelbrock got his start as an assistant to Antal Dorati, Witold Lutoslavski, and Mauricio Kagel, who shaped his interest in contemporary music at the very beginning of his career. The current principal conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, director of the Balthasar–Neumann-Ensembles, and “Chef associé” of the Orchestre de Paris makes regular guest appearances with leading European orchestras (Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in Amsterdam) and collaborates with famed singers (Plácido Domingo, Cecilia Bartoli, Anna Netrebko). He is an acknowledged expert in the field of authentic interpretation of early music.
The European tour of the Orchestre de Paris in 2017 will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. The legendary conductor Charles Munch was behind the orchestra’s establishment in 1967. Among the conductors at the orchestra’s helm have been such figures as Herbert von Karajan, Sir Georg Solti, Daniel Barenboim, and Semyon Bychkov. It was the latter two who conducted the orchestra at its concerts at Prague Spring in 1986 and 1998. Daniel Harding has been appointed as the principal conductor during the current season, replacing Paavo Järvi. From 2010 to 2016, the orchestra was led under Järvi’s leadership, and January 2015 saw the grand opening of a modern concert hall called the Philharmonie de Paris by the architect Jean Nouvel, which has become the home stage for the Orchestre de Paris. Over a hundred concerts a year will take place there.
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