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The Mahler Chamber Orchestra's Fall Tour

09-17-2010 08:50 PM CET | Arts & Culture

Press release from: Mahler Chamber Orchestra e.V.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO) takes two very different programmes to this year’s autumn festival at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden. Principal Conductor Daniel Harding will lead a concert version of Verdi’s Otello starring Anja Harteros, Ben Heppner and Franco Vassallo. This programme will then go on tour to Luxembourg (3 October), Dortmund (6 October) and Paris (9 October).

Another high point is a concert with Kent Nagano on 2 October in Baden-Baden, with Gustav Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde and the world premiere of Toshio Hosokawa’s Sternlose Nacht. For the first time in its history, the MCO, with support from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, commissioned a work itself. The ensemble chose Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa, who was born in Hiroshima in 1955, studied in Germany, and lives today in Nagano, Japan.

On 7 October, the MCO will perform Brahms’ First and Second symphonies as the first part of a Brahms cycle in the Philharmonie Essen. Afterwards, a small ensemble of MCO soloists will perform a special encore: chamber works by Brahms in a Late Night Concert. The Brahms symphony concert will be repeated on 10 October in the Alte Oper Frankfurt and recorded by the Hessische Rundfunk.

Verdi’s second-to-last opera Otello is one of the masterworks of the Italian opera literature. This performance will feature the two-time Grammy winner Ben Heppner (Otello), the Greek soprano Anja Harteros (Desdemona) and the Milanese Franco Vassallo (Iago). In Dortmund, Bulgarian singer Krassimira Stoyanova, one of the most well-versed singers of our time, will take on the role of Desdemona, as Ms. Harteros could not make the performance due to scheduling difficulties.
The performance in Baden-Baden will be recorded by WDR Radio. In Paris, the performance on 9 October will be broadcast live from the Théatre des Champs-Elysées by Radio France, Francemusique. Following the live broadcast, the opera will be streamed on www.radiofranc.fr/francemusique for 30 days.

Contemporary music and premieres are regular features on MCO programmes. However, the premiere of Sternlose Nacht marks new territory for the MCO — it is the first piece the orchestra has commissioned itself. Toshio Hosokawa’s oratorio, for orchestra, two soloists, and choir, consists of nine movements and follows the cycle of the seasons. Built into it are remembrances of historical tragedies: a memento of the destruction of Dresden, which took place in the month of February, a commemoration of the atomic bombing of Hosokawas birthplace Hiroshima in August. The composer chose poetry of Georg Trakl and others for the libretto. Matched with the premiere is a work by the orchestra’s namesake Gustav Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde.

The MCO will take a short trip to its NRW Residence city of Essen as a short interlude during the Otello tour. Here, with Brahms’ First and Second Symphonies, the orchestra will start a Brahms cycle to be completed in May 2011. Daniel Harding and the orchestra will give an introductory lecture at 19:30 as part of the series “The Art of Listening.” After the concert, a special encore awaits the Essen audience: a late-night concert featuring MCO soloists performing Brahms’ Sextet No. 2. The guests will be invited to enjoy a drink in the lobby between symphonic and chamber music concerts. It is also possible to just attend the late-night concert (start: 22:20). Entrance is free.

The Mahler Chamber Orchestra (MCO), with its unusual structure, internationality and outstanding quality, is an ensemble unique to the present time. Its organisation and method of operation make it a model for the future of the European orchestral landscape. Composed of around 40 musicians from 20 different nations, and independent of external sponsorship, the MCO plays operas and concerts all over the world, in cities as well as at exclusive festivals from the North Pole to the Red Sea. The orchestra was founded in 1997 by the musicians themselves and Claudio Abbado, and the two have been reaching milestones of European musical life together ever since.

Merit Vareschi
Communications Manager
Mahler Chamber Orchestra e.V.
Hasenheide 54 / D-10967 Berlin
Phone + 49.30.41 71 79-21
Fax +49.30.41 71 79-29
Mobile +49.160.90 96 91 03
www.mahler-chamber.eu

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