24 to 26 December
Stingray Classica celebrates Christmas with a series of seasonal favourites! From December 24 to the 26, invite holiday classics home to become part of your holiday tradition. With several enchanting ballets, celebratory oratorios, and spiritual concerts, this selection offers a colourful palette of captivating seasonal programs for everyone. Notable highlights are Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248), as presented by the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists on the 24th, and an enchanting interpretation of Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel from the Semperoper Dresden on December 25. Ending the Holidays on a spiritual note, Stingray Classica premieres a selection of Christmas Cantatas by J. S. Bach, performed by Collegium Vocale Gent, led by Philippe Herreweghe.
J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248)
Thursday, 24 December | 21:00
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a performance of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) Parts I to III/Parts IV-VI. Claron McFadden (soprano), Christoph Genz (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (alto), Dietrich Henschel (bass) are the soloists. The Christmas Oratorio is a series of six cantatas, each originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period during the winter of 1734 and 1735 in Leipzig. Bach took many of the arias and choruses from works which had previously been composed, and the music represents an expression of the parody technique, where music is adapted to a new purpose. Gardiner is one of the finest interpreters of Bach’s vocal music and seems to use the choir as a soloist. The size of the choir is similar to that which Bach probably used. This performance is recorded at the Herderkirche in Weimar, Germany, on December 23 and 27, 1999.
Handel - Messiah, HWV 56
Friday, 25 December | 10:00
The Messiah (HWV 56) by Georg Frederich Handel, also known as “A New Sacred Oratorio”, tells the life and suffering of Christ: a story of passion, fire, and sacrifice. This is one of Handel's best-known works, which took only three weeks to compose this oratorio and its famous "Hallelujah". The work has immense popularity since its premiere in Dublin in 1742, and is often presented at Easter. This performance of the Dutch ensemble Ribattuta Musica under the direction of conductor Dick Duijst was filmed in the grand church of the city of Ermelo, the Netherlands, in 2016. The soloists are Elvire Beekhuizen (soprano), Rosina Fabius (viola), Oscar Verhaar (counter-tenor) Satriya Krisna (tenor), and Hans Voschezang (bass). Ribattuta Musica is a professional ensemble that delivers authentic performances based on current musical practices at the time of the composers.
Humperdinck - Hänsel und Gretel
Friday, 25 December | 14:00
Recorded at the Semperoper Dresden in 2006, the orchestra of the Sächsische Staatskapelle is directed by Michael Hofstetter in a production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hänsel und Gretel. Soloists are Irmgard, Vilsmaier, Hans-Joachim Ketelsen, Antigone Papoulkas and Iris Vermillion. The composer of Hansel and Gretel, Engelbert Humperdinck, wrote was born in Germany in 1854. In the 1890s, his sister, Adelheid Wette, had written a libretto based on the Grimm fairy tale, and asked her brother to set it to music as a Christmas entertainment for her children. Later, Engelbert and Adelheid decided to turn this modest home project into a full-scale opera. Hansel and Gretel, premiered on December 23, 1893 at Weimar, was an instant hit and remains an everlasting masterpiece. The composer Richard Strauss, who was the assistant conductor for the premiere, called it "a masterwork of the first rank."
Tchaikovsky - The Nutcracker
Friday, 25 December | 21:00
This visually stunning production of Nutcracker is a graceful and timeless adventure on a grand scale. From the lovely Waltz of the Flowers to the crystalline beauty of the stunning Snowflake Waltz, each scene is more breathtaking than the last, bringing to life all the well-known and beloved characters with fresh sparkle and compelling originality. It is Christmas Eve and we are brought to a party at which Drosselmeyer gives young Clara a nutcracker doll - beginning a night that includes a magically growing Christmas tree, a midnight battle of toy soldiers at which the Nutcracker defeats the villainous Mouse King and his army of mice, and a headlong pas de deux in which Clara and Hans-Peter meet and celebrate their triumph before being enveloped in a magical snowstorm. Act II whisks the young pair off to the Kingdom of the Sweets, where they are entertained by the Sugar Plum Fairy with her handsome Prince and her glittering court in a series of dazzling dances. Under the direction of Andreas Morell, Valery Gergiev conducts the Mariinsky Orchestra and Choir. Soloists are Mikhail Makarov, lldar Abdrazakov, Anna Markarova, Sergei Skorokhodov, Timur Abdikeyev, Vladislav Sulimasky. This production was recorded at the Mariinsky Theatre in 2012.
J. S. Bach - Christmas Oratorio (BWV248) I-III
Saturday, 26 December | 10:00
Sir John Eliot Gardiner conducts The Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists in a performance of J. S. Bach's Christmas Oratorio (BWV 248) Parts I to III. Claron McFadden (soprano), Christoph Genz (Tenor), Bernarda Fink (alto), Dietrich Henschel (bass) are the soloists. The Christmas Oratorio is a series of six cantatas, each originally intended for performance on one of the major feast days of the Christmas period during the winter of 1734 and 1735 in Leipzig. Bach took many of the arias and choruses from works which had previously been composed, and the music represents an expression of the parody technique, where music is adapted to a new purpose. Gardiner is one of the finest interpreters of Bach’s vocal music and seems to use the choir as a soloist. The size of the choir is similar to that which Bach probably used. This performance is recorded at the Herderkirche in Weimar, Germany, on December 23 and 27, 1999.
Bach - Christmas Cantatas
Saturday, 26 December | 14:00
The Collegium Vocale Gent has built its reputation as one of the world's most prestigious choirs. Founded by conductor Philippe Herreweghe, their lively, musical approach strives for an authentic sound. This concert was recorded on December 23, 2015, at the Church of Saint-Roch in Paris. Owing to J. S. Bach's function as the Thomaskantor, the leading cantorate of Protestant Germany at the time, he composed many cantatas for the Lutheran liturgy. These Christmas cantatas are an invitation to reflect on the nature of Christmas. The orchestration evokes feelings of splendor while the counterpoint also carries on a festive mood. The wind instruments act as glorious messengers of joy and the soloists proclaim that the glory brings light. This unique program, consisting of the four cantatas BWV 40, 62 , 63 and 91, offers an elegant and very delicate interpretation of these works. Under the baton of Philippe Herreweghe, the Collegium Vocale delivers an interpretation free of exaggeration or vanity yet full of humility. A glorious concert in the spirit of Christmas.
Ice Dance: Swan Lake (2015)
Saturday, 26 December | 21:00
The Imperial Ice Stars are an ensemble of 24 world class skaters, holding more than 300 competition medals between them. Praised by critics and audiences alike, they never fail to enchant with creative and powerful story-telling, sumptuous sets, spectacular special effects and opulent costumes. Set to the original score of Tchaikovsky's masterpiece, the Imperial Ice Stars present their 2015 Ice Dance interpretation of Swan Lake, complete with an exhilarating choreography from leading ice director Tony Mercer. “Inspired by my research into Tchaikovsky’s original score and intentions for the story, I wanted to create a more realistic interpretation of this much-loved tale and transpose it onto ice, creating a new art form in the process – ice dance in a full theatrical setting,” the choreographer explains. “I always felt it was a natural fit, to have swans gliding on ice.”