Sounds of America The Scene
Susanna Mälkki: conducts Strauss in chicago
Jacques Lacombe: does Gershwin in
L e r f o w i M o N
:P H o t o g r a P H Y
New York Metropolitan opera Don Giovanni (October 13 – March 17) “I bet you every single director who is asked if they’re going to do a particularly sexed-up production of Don Giovanni says ‘Yeah, I’m going to do the really sexy Don Giovanni,’” says Tony Award-winning director Michael Grandage in a video for the Met. “I mean, the truth is that sex and sexual politics are at the centre of the piece and you just have to take them on.” Grandage directs a new – and presumably sexy – interpretation of Mozart and Da Ponte’s Casanovan classic, emphasising the religious aspect of the work, the class divisions of the characters and the colours of Seville.
His energies hopefully replenished, James Levine returns to the podium after a summer sabbatical, leading an enviable first night cast starring Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien as the scandalous Spaniard, Luca Pisaroni as Leporello, Marina Rebeka as Donna Anna, Barbara Frittoli as Donna Elvira and Ramón Vargas as Don Ottavio. A second cast in February and March of 2012 provides some persuasive arguments for a repeat viewing with some switch-hitters that include Annette Dasch as Donna Elvira, Isabel Leonard as Zerlina, Matthew Polenzani as Ottavio, John Relyea as Leporello, and Gerald Finley as the Don. www.metopera.org
CHiCago Chicago Symphony orchestra Mälkki Conducts Strauss (October 13–18)
Earlier this year, Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki made headlines when she conducted the world première of Luca Francesconi’s opera Quartet at La Scala – more notably for possibly being the first female conductor to take the operatic institution’s podium. Now in Chicago, she leads an orchestra currently under the leadership of former La Scala music director Riccardo Muti.
The off-kilter programme alternates Ives’s The Unanswered Question and Three Places in New England with Musgrave’s bass clarinet showpiece Autumn Sonata (with the CSO’s own J Lawrie Bloom) and Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra. A commanding figure to watch and possessive of a special flair for 20th- and 21st-century repertoire – she has served as the music director of Boulez-founded Ensemble InterContemporain since 2006 – Mälkki is ideally suited for an adventurous mix such as this, melding the familiar and offbeat. www.cso.org
Newark New Jersey Symphony orchestra Opening Night Celebration (October 14) Music director Jacques Lacombe commences his second season at the helm of the New Jersey Symphony with works that celebrate his Francophile leanings (Lacombe is from Québec), his American home team and the meeting of the two. The evening starts with the latter with George Gershwin’s An American in Paris, a simultaneous love letter to the New York region and the city of light, at turns frenetic and nostalgic. Also in its second season is the New Jersey Roots Project, which focuses on the works of composers from the Garden state, which continues tonight with a performance of Trenton-born George Antheil’s Symphony No 6, After Delacroix. Before capping off the evening with Ravel’s seductive Boléro, Lacombe and the NJSO are joined by mezzo Frederica von Stade in selections from Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne plus tunes from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I and Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music. www.njsymphony.org
LoS aNgeLeS Los angeles Chamber orchestra Illuminations (October 15-16) After a concert with Les Violons du Roy (see page V), soprano Karina Gauvin jets from Québec to Los Angeles to bring her acclaimed interpretation of Britten’s Les illuminations to the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra under director Jeffrey Kahane. Britten’s setting of Rimbaud is a searing composition of dramatic power and ecstatic emotion, perfect for Gauvin’s coppery soprano. Gauvin continues to sample her Britten album with the composer’s Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal. Also given a reading under Kahane’s baton are Dvořák’s Nocturne in B major and Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony No 3, completing a programme of evocative, heart-on-the-sleeve music. www.laco.org
Previews by olivia giovetti
VI GRAMOPHONE october 2011
www.gramophone.co.uk i-music 8553223]
[CAv lassics 72519]
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CELLO CONCERTOS (JULIAN STECKEL: CELLO) Extremely rare recordings of essential 20 th century concertos from versatile cellist Julian Steckel, First Prize winner at the ARD International Music Competition in 2010.
WAGNER: PARSIFAL [4 SACDs+Bonus DVD] (NETHERLANDS RADIO PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA/ JAAP VAN ZWEDEN: CND) This sublime version of Parsifal is a live recording of a memorable concert in the Concertgebouw in December 2010.
A PASSION FOR PAVAROTTI: THE BARCELONA RECITAL (LIVE) [DVD+Bonus CD] (LUCIANO PAVAROTTI: TENOR) One of Luciano Pavarotti’s finest performances, recorded live in concert in the exciting, vibrant, and colorful Spanish city of Barcelona.
THE MANY FACES OF WOMEN (ENCANTAR) The Encantar ensemble, founded at the end of 2006, features four young singers with the goal of introducing the rich polyphonic repertoire of the 14–16 th centuries to the public in a deliberatively contemporary fashion!
SACRED MUSIC: A CHRISTMAS HISTORY (CHRISTOPHERS: CND/THE SIXTEEN) A fascinating history of Christmas music! CORO brings the next installment of the BBC’s groundbreaking TV series, Sacred Music, to DVD.
ic Masterworks 28060]
TCHAIKOVSKY: THE NUTCRACKER SUITE/ SWAN LAKE SUITE (SIMONOV: CND/RPO) Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker and Swan Lake Suites have enjoyed enormous popularity since the mid-20 th century and are now frequently performed, especially during the Christmas season.
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PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION (NOBUYUKI TSUJII: PIANO) The second album featuring brilliant Japanese pianist Nobuyuki Tsujii, this time a solo album! Joint Gold Medalist of the Thirteenth Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, Nobu will be performing in the US throughout Fall 2011 including a November performance at Carnegie Hall!
BRUBECK–GANDOLFI–FOSS (CONCORD CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY) This debut album contains two world premiere recordings. The first, “Danza del Soul” for mixed sextet, is by Chris Brubeck, the son of legendary jazz musician and composer Dave Brubeck. The second is “Line Drawings” by Michael Gandolfini. Both pieces were performed to great acclaim at the Tanglewood Festival in August 2010!
BACH: TRIO SONATAS FOR ORGAN (ROBERT QUINNEY: ORGAN) Royal Wedding organist Robert Quinney presents his first solo disc of Bach Trio Sonatas for CORO. Recorded at The Queen’s College, Oxford, on the beautiful Frobenius organ, the Trio Sonatas are among Bach’s most popular and appealing organ works and are unique in the organ repertory.
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