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Puccini - La bohème
In 2012, Norwegian opera director Stefan Herheim brought Giacomo Puccini's opera La bohème to the stage of the Norwegian National Opera in Oslo. About his choice for this updated version, Herheim explained: “In bringing La bohème into a present-day setting with this new production we hope to revive the immediate power of suggestion and importance that this work at one time revelled in.” The opera about the Bohemian lifestyle of the poor seamstress Mimì and her artist friends is a fast-moving story, and offers some of the greatest arias Puccini ever wrote. Norwegian conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen leads the Orchestra and Chorus of the National Opera Oslo. Among the soloists are Marita Sølberg (Mimì), Diego Torre (Rodolfo), Vasily Ladyuk (Marcello), and Jennifer Rowley (Musetta).
Mozart Live from Beijing
On January 27, 2006, Chinese virtuoso pianist Lang Lang celebrated WA Mozart's birthday with a performance of the Piano Concerto No. 24 in the Forbidden City Concert Hall of Beijing with the China Philharmonic Orchestram directed by Long Yu. The concert hall is located inside the walls of the Forbidden City, in the beautifully maintained gardens of Zhongshan Park, directly adjacent to Tiananmen Square. The program of the concert also includes the opening of Cosi fan tutte, Symphony No. 25, KV 183, "Hai gia came the causa!" from Le Nozze di Figaro, "Finch'han dal vino" from Don Giovannia, and Piano Sonata No. 10, K. 330.
The 12 Cellists - Documentary
Directed in 2012 by Enrique Sánchez Lansch, the documentary The 12 Cellists follows the 12 cellists of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra. Since 1972, this group is a staple of the international musical universe. Whether they play classical music, jazz, tango or avant-garde music, these talented musicians invariably enthrall audiences with the wide range of unique and bewitching sounds they produce with their cellos. Their combination of seriousness and humor, depth, and lightness promises to captivate listeners of all ages.
Brahms - Symphony No. 4, Op. 98
Franz Welser-Möst conducts The Cleveland Orchestra in this performance of Brahms' Symphony No. 4. This is the final of the composer's short selection of symphonic works. Described by music critic Malcolm Macdonald as one of the “supreme creative acts of the Romantic era,” Brahms' Fourth Symphony is endowed with a strong undercurrent of subdued melancholy. It seems to pine for an irretrievable past. The past lives on majestically in this work, particularly in the sighing theme of the first movement reminiscent of Baroque practice, and, above all, in the use of the Baroque form of the chaconne in the last movement, around which Brahms spins over 30 variations on a solemn, stately theme. This performance was recorded at Severance Hall in Cleveland, USA, in 2014.
CMIM Voice 2022 - Semi-final: Meredith Wohlgemuth
Soprano Meredith Wohlgemuth (USA, 1995) performs ‘Shadowinnower’ from Joseph Schwantner’s Two Poems of Agueda Pizarro; ‘Erwartung’ and ‘Erhebung’ from Arnold Schoenberg’s 4 Lieder, Op. 2; ‘Lied der Delphine’ from Franz Schubert’s Zwei Szenen aus dem Schauspiel ‘Lacrimas’, D. 857; Francis Poulenc’s Trois poèmes de Louise Lalanne, FP. 57; and ‘Rose’, ‘Gris’, and ‘Mauve’ from Lionel Daunais’s song cycle Fantaisie dans tous les tons, during the semi-finals of the Art Song division of the Concours musical international de Montréal 2022 (CMIM). This performance was recorded at the Bourgie Hall of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts.
Schumann - Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22
After recording all 32 Ludwig van Beethoven piano sonatas to celebrate the composer's 250th birth anniversary, celebrated Italian pianist Riccardo Schwartz decided to record solo piano works by Robert Schumann. In this performance, Schwartz presents Schumann’s Piano Sonata No. 2 in G minor, Op. 22. The composer completed the work in 1838. Of Schumann’s three piano sonatas, Piano Sonata No. 2 is performed and recorded most frequently. It opens with an energetic first movement, followed by a beautiful, slow Andantino based on Schumann’s song ‘Im Herbste’ (1828). The third movement is a short Scherzo. At the request of his future spouse, Clara, the composer replaced the original finale by a less demanding movement. Acclaimed pianist Riccardo Schwartz (1986) has performed as a soloist with many world-renowned conductors, including Gustav Kuhn and Yuri Temirkanov. His acclaimed performances include recitals and concertos for piano and orchestra in many prestigious concert halls.
Beethoven's Octet and Dvořák's Serenade
The Berliner Philharmoniker is an orchestra based in Berlin, Germany and is ranked as one of the best orchestras in the world. In 1990, orchestra members played beautiful chamber music, such as Ludwig van Beethoven's Octet in E-flat major and Antonin Dvořák's Serenade in D minor. Even though both compositions were written for wind instruments, Beethoven reworked and expanded his String Quartet No. 1 for this composition. The performance was recorded at the famous Jaspis-Hall in the New Chambers, besides Sanssouci, the Summer Palace of Friedrich the Great.
Rimsky-Korsakov - Kitezh Suite
Russian conductor and pianist Mikhail Pletnev leads the Russian National Orchestra in performances of Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov's music. On the program are Suite for Orchestra after the opera 'The Legend of the Invisible City of Kitezh and the Maiden Fevroniya', and Musical Pictures for Orchestra from the opera 'The Tale of Tsar Saltan'. Part of the latter is the famous 'Flight of the Bumblebee'. This concert was recorded at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall of the Russian Philharmonic Society in 2017.
Haydn - The Creation
Together with the RIAS Kammerchor and several vocalists, the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra performs Joseph Haydn's The Creation at the 25th anniversary edition of the Swiss Verbier Festival in 2018. The performance is conducted by Gábor Takács. The Creation is one of Haydn’s masterpieces. Despite its biblical subject (the seven days of the creation of the world), it remains a secular work, written for a concert hall rather than a church. It also takes a few liberties with the libretto, notably by including angels (the 5 solo parts and choir) alongside God. This libretto and the instrumentation, very often imitative of the described action, give The Creation much humour, in addition to the joyousness characteristic of most of Haydn’s works. In this Verbier version, the 5 solo parts are beautifully sung by Miah Persson (singing both Gabriel and Eve), Bernard Richter (Uriel), Andreas Bauer (Raphaël) and Peter Mattei (Adam), joined by the extremely powerful Rias Kammerchor: an impressive cast up to the greatness of the work.
CMIM Voice 2022 – Semi-final: Sarah Dufresne
Soprano Sarah Dufresne (Canada, 1994) performs ‘Eccomi in lieta vesta … Oh! Quante volte’ from Vincenzo Bellini’s opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi; ‘Exsultate jubilate – Allegro’ from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s motet Exsultate, jubilate (Exult, rejoice), K. 165; and ‘Pâle et blonde’ from Ambroise Thomas’s opera Hamlet, during the semi-finals of the Aria division of the Concours musical international de Montréal 2022 (CMIM). She is accompanied by the Montreal Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Jacques Lacombe. This performance was recorded at the Montreal Symphony House.
England, my England - I
From August 28 to September 6, 2015, the Early Music Festival Utrecht focused on England, my England. On the basis of the festival theme, presenter Lex Bohlmeijer takes the viewer in a two-part documentary on an intriguing journey through England of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque, and relates this to the city of Utrecht. Episode 1 offers a peek into the inner city churches of Utrecht, visiting the source of inspiration if this year's festival: the English estate Boughton House, where the Duke of Buccleuch shows us around.
Franck - Prélude, Choral et Fugue pour Piano
In recent years, a new generation of Chinese pianists has emerged on the international scene. But there are many more young Chinese artists, who the Académie France-Chine aims to enable to deepen their art by introducing them to and giving them a platform within French and European culture. Four of these artists are Chen Xue-Hong, Zhang Cheng, Chen Yunjie and Chen Sa, who made their joint debut in Paris in this unique concert at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées that showcased their extraordinary talent. On the program are Chopin's Piano Sonata No. 2, Schumann's Piano Sonata No. 1, Scriabin's Piano Sonata No. 8 and Paysage (No. 3) and Mazeppa (No. 4) from Liszt's Études d'Exécution Transcendante. The concert closes with Messiaen's Regard de l’Esprit de la joie (No. 10) from Vingt regards sur l’Enfant-Jésus.
Beethoven - Symphony No. 9
In honor of Ludwig van Beethoven’s 250th anniversary in 2020, the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería performed Beethoven’s symphonic cycle at the Academia de Música del Palacio de Minería in Mexico City in 2019. Mexican conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto leads the orchestra, four vocal soloists, the Vocal Essence choir, and the choir of Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería in this performance of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. Prieto has been serving as music director of the Orquesta Sinfónica de Minería since 2008, and is considered the foremost Mexican conductor of his generation. Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 is widely considered his greatest composition. He completed this piece in 1824, when he was almost deaf. This symphony is unique, since Beethoven included a choir and vocal soloists in the last movement. Here, Beethoven set to music parts of Friedrich Schiller's poem “Ode an die Freude” (“Ode to Joy”). The symphony consists of four movements: Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso, Molto vivace, Adagio molto e cantabile, and Finale. The four vocal soloists are Katherine Whyte (soprano), Grace Echauri (mezzosoprano), Thomas Studebaker (tenor), and Kevin Deas (bass).
Bach - Goldberg Variations (BWV 988)
Chinese pianist Zhu Xiao-Mei performs J. S. Bach's Goldberg Variations (BWV 988) at the Leipzig Bach Festival. This June 2014 concert was recorded at St. Thomas Church, where Bach spent most time of his career as 'Thomaskantor', the musical director of the Thomanerchor church choir. The Goldberg Variations consist of one aria and a set of 30 variations. The work was first published in 1741 and was named after harpsichordist Johann Gottlieb Goldberg. In contrast to melodic variations on a theme, the Goldberg Variations do not follow the melody, but rather use the aria's bass line and chord progression. Every third variation in the series of 30 is a canon that follows an ascending pattern. The Goldberg Variations are among Bach's most celebrated works, which gained an even larger audience thanks to Glenn Gould's legendary recordings of the work in 1955 and 1981.
Teatro Regio behind the scenes
Few Italian theatres can boast of being an absolute point of reference for national and world culture. The Teatro Regio in Turin is both a symbol of excellence in the national operatic tradition and a prestigious stage hosting operas, ballets, concerts, and musicals of great substance. This short documentary offers a behind-the-scenes tour of the Teatro Regio Torino and bears witness to the enviable reputation that has prevailed since its opening in 1740.
Schumann - Märchenbilder for viola & piano, Op 113
Vilde Frang, Tabea Zimmermann and conductor/pianist András Schiff team up for a concert at the 25th anniversary edition of the Swiss Verbier Festival in 2018. András Schiff’s versatile artistry excels both as pianist and conductor, as this program illustrates. He is joined by Vilde Frang, a superlative Mozart interpreter, and master violist Tabea Zimmermann for Mozart’s Sinfonia concertante. The work exemplifies the vast range of emotion Mozart is capable of instilling in one single work: from serene and joyful in the outer movements, to thoughtful and sad in the central movement. Schumann and Brahms - Schiff accompanies Tabea Zimmermann in the core 19th century viola repertoire. Unlike Schumann, whose Märchenbilder were written with the viola in mind, Brahms’ wrote his Op.120 for clarinet and piano. He soon provided a viola transcription, which has become as popular than the original.
Dvorák - Scherzo capriccioso in D♭ major, Op. 66
The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Neeme Järvi presents the world premiere of Rodion Shchedrin's Double concerto for cello, piano and orchestra. Soloists are Martha Argerich (piano) and Mischa Maisky (cello). The concert program features Antonín Dvořák's Scherzo capriccioso Des-Dur Op. 66, B 131, Shchedrin's aforementioned Double concerto "Romantic Offering", César Franck's Sonata for piano and cello in A, and Dmitri Shostakovich's Symphony No. 9, Op. 70. This première performance was recorded at the Culture and Congress Centre of Lucerne, KKL, on February 9, 2011. The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra is orchestra-in-residence at KKL Luzern. The Lucerne Symphony Orchestra is Switzerland’s oldest symphony orchestra and has won an international standing that extends far beyond its home base.
Karl Jenkins - The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace
For this truly unique, historic occasion, Welsh composer Sir Karl Jenkins conducts The World Orchestra for Peace and around 2,000 singers from nearly 30 countries to Sing for Peace at the Berlin's Mercedes Benz Arena on November 2, 2018. Soloists are vocalists Leah-Marian Jones, Yumeji Matsufuji, Pauline Rathmann, Amir Aziz, violinist Krzysztof Wisniewski and cellist Valentino Worlitzsch. The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace is the most performed work by any living composer. This performance is the largest ever staged, and was uniquely performed in synchronization with a specially commissioned war-archive film that reinforces the narrative of the work – the build up to war, war itself, and the consequences of war. Projected on to five giant screens, the film delivers a poignant backdrop to the moving musical narration providing the audience with a powerful and emotional multimedia experience.
Mahler - Symphony No. 4
The program is introduced with a short documentation about Schönberg's Pelleas et Melisande, based on a text by Claudio Abbado. Every musical theme relates to a special colour appearing on screen. What has been so remarkable about Abbado’s Mahler performances is that their impact has never been achieved at the expense of the multiple sensitivities, subtleties and extreme sophistication. Together with the world's leading youth orchestra – the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester (GMJO) – Abbado performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 4 and Schönberg’s Pelleas und Melisande, Op. 5. The Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester was founded in Vienna in 1986, by Abbado’s initiative. The orchestra's high level of artistic quality and its international success have moved important conductors and soloists to work with the ensemble.
Khachaturyan Piano Concerto & Borodin
The Svetlanov Symphony Orchestra of Russia and pianist Boris Berezovsky are led by conductor Vladimir Verbitsky in a performance of works by Aram Khachaturyan and Alexander Borodin. The concert was recorded in December of 2016 at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow and features Borodin´s In the Steppes of Central Asia, and Khachaturyan’s Piano Concerto in D-flat Major and “Adagio from Spartacus and Phrygia” (transcription for piano and orchestra). The programme is produced by the Moscow Philharmonic Society, which Saint Petersburg-born composer Dmitri Shostakovich himself once described as playing a significant role "in the development of musical life [in Russia]. It is a kind of university which is attended by millions of music lovers and thousands of musicians.” The Moscow Philharmonic Society was founded in 1922 by then-Commissar for Culture, Anatoly Lunacharsky, and has over the years come to be Russia's leading concert organizing institution.
Schumann - Fantasie in C, Op. 17
After recording all 32 Ludwig van Beethoven piano sonatas to celebrate the composer's 250th birth anniversary, celebrated Italian pianist Riccardo Schwartz decided to record solo piano works by Robert Schumann. Schumann composed his Fantasie in C, Op. 17 in 1836, revising it prior to publication in 1839. Bearing a dedication to Franz Liszt, it is one of Schumann's greatest works for solo piano, and a central work of the early Romantic period. Written in a loose sonata form, the first movement is rhapsodic and passionate, the middle movement is a grandiose rondo, and the finale is slow and meditative. Acclaimed pianist Riccardo Schwartz (1986) has performed as a soloist with many world-renowned conductors, including Gustav Kuhn and Yuri Temirkanov. His acclaimed performances include recitals and concertos for piano and orchestra in many prestigious concert halls.
Beethoven - Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor
Conductor Eduard Topchjan leads the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37. Russian-born pianist Maya Oganyan (*2005) makes her solo debut with the orchestra. Beethoven composed this concerto in 1800 and played the piano part himself at the piece’s premiere in 1803. Like two of his other major works –Symphony No. 5 and Piano Sonata No. 8 ‘Pathétique’ – this piano concerto is written in the key of C minor, which contributes to the work’s stormy character. As an encore, Oganyan performs Der Bote (‘The Messenger’) by Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov. This performance was recorded at the Aram Khachaturian Concert Hall in Yerevan, Armenia, in 2021.
First Snow
One of the first Christmas carols ever written is Perotin the Great’s Salvatoris Hodie. This brilliant 12th century composition, one of the first works ever written for four voices, opens First Snow: the atmospheric Christmas concert by the Brussels Philharmonic. Straying from ‘ars antiqua’, the program also features a performance of two contemporary melodies penned by conductor Bo Holten based on texts by the Icelandic poet Gunnar Gunnarsson (1889-1975). As an added bonus, a hand-picked selection of various Polish and French Christmas songs rounds off this enjoyable yuletide program.
Liszt Competition 2017 - Semi Final Transcriptions
Pianist Leon Bernsdorf performs Liszt's Sonetto 123 del Petrarca (S161/6) from the Années de Pèlerinage: Deuxième Année (Italie), Bagatelle sans tonalité (S216) and the complete Grandes Études de Paganini (S141) during the semi finals of the International Liszt Competition 2017 at TivoliVredenburg, Utrecht.
BBC Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 - Round 1
Every two years, promising young vocalists gather in Wales’ capital city to take part in one of the world’s most prestigious singing competitions: the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition. Past editions have helped launch the careers of some of the biggest stars in opera, including Karita Mattila, Dmitri Hvorostovsky, and Bryn Terfel. This broadcast features the 2021 edition of the renowned competition, in which sixteen young opera singers compete for their chance to become the next international opera star. Enjoy the performances of the four competitors of the first round. In this episode, the following young singers take the stage: baritone Ankhbayar Enkhbold (Mongolia), soprano Maria Brea (Venezuela), tenor Chuan Wang (China), and mezzosoprano Natalia Kutateladze (Georgia). All participants are accompanied by the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera under the baton of American conductor Michael Christie, recorded at St David’s Hall in Cardiff, Wales.
Mozart - Piano Concerto No. 25 & Symphony No. 35
Stefano Conticello leads the Orchestra of Teatro Comunale di Bologna in a Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart program. The concert opens with the Overture from Mozart’s popular opera “The Magic Flute”. This is followed by Piano Concerto No. 25 in C major, K. 503, with Maurizio Baglini as the featured soloist. Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 25 is just one of the twelve great piano concertos he composed during 1784 and 1786. The concert ends with Symphony No. 35 in D major, K. 385, also known as the “Haffner Symphony”. On the occasion of the ennoblement of Sigmund Haffner in 1782, the prominent Salzburg Haffner family of businessmen and philanthropists commissioned Mozart to compose a new piece. Mozart agreed, and initially wrote a serenade before recasting it as a symphony a few months later: the “Haffner Symphony”. This performance was recorded at the Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Italy.
Bach - Brandenburg Concerto No. 2
J. S. Bach’s six Brandenburg Concerto’s belong to his best-known works. The composer wrote these concertos between 1711 and 1720 and dedicated them in 1721 to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg. In celebration of the pieces’ 300th anniversary, Czech harpsichordist and conductor Václav Luks and the renowned Baroque ensemble Collegium 1704 recorded all six Brandenburg Concertos on historical instruments in 2021. The concertos are based on the Italian concerto grosso form, in which a group of solo instruments is set against a large ensemble. Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos feature remarkable combinations of solo instruments and virtuoso solos. In this performance at the Hall of Mirrors in the Köthen Castle, Germany, Luks and his Collegium 1704 present Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major, BWV 1047. This piece features trumpet, violin, recorder, and oboe solos. Especially outstanding are the high, virtuoso trumpet parts.