Alan Gilbert Winds Down His Final Weeks With the NY Phil in Wagner's DAS RHEINGOLD Concert, 6/1
In the third of Alan Gilbert's final four subscription weeks as New York Philharmonic Music Director, he will lead an enhanced concert production of Wagner's Das Rheingold. Soloists include bass-baritone Eric Owens as Wotan, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton as Fricka (in her New York Philharmonic debut), baritone Christopher Purves as Alberich (debut), tenor Russell Thomas as Loge, mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor as Erda, bass Morris Robinson as Fasolt (debut), bass Stephen Milling as Fafner (debut), soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen as Freia (debut), tenor Brian Jagde as Froh (debut), bass-baritone Christian Van Horn as Donner (debut), tenor Peter Bronder as Mime (debut), soprano Jennifer Zetlan as Woglinde, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnson Cano as Wellgunde, and mezzo-soprano Tamara Mumford as Flosshilde. The enhanced concert production will be directed by Louisa Muller with costume design - featuring character-based treatment of modern concert attire - by David C. Woolard. The performances will take place Thursday, June 1, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, June 3 at 8:00 p.m.; and Tuesday, June 6 at 7:30 p.m.
Conducting opera has been an essential commitment of Alan Gilbert's during his tenure as Music Director. In June 2013 he conducted A Ring Journey, his own arrangement of music from the Ring cycle, as part of the season-concluding Gilbert's Playlist. He has also led the Orchestra in music from Wagner's Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, Rienzi, Tannhäuser,Tristan und Isolde, and Die Walküre, as well as Siegfried Idyll. Alan Gilbert's opera productions at the Philharmonic include critically celebrated staged productions of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre (2010) and Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen (2011), both cited as the top cultural events of their respective years. At The Metropolitan Opera, he led Mozart's Don Giovanni in 2015 and John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, which New York magazine declared one of the year's top ten classical events and the DVD/Blu-ray of which earned the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording.
"Performing great opera with the New York Philharmonic is special on many levels," Alan Gilbert said. "Very often it is music that the Orchestra is not as familiar with, which is wonderful: it's always a thrill to introduce new music to an orchestra discovering it for the first time. We've put together an ace cast starring Eric Owens as Wotan: the beauty of his voice and the kind of depth of his psychological understanding of the role, which is exactly what I think is demanded, is rare these days."
Bass-baritone Eric Owens served as the New York Philharmonic's 2015-16 Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence. The New York Times called his January 2016 Philharmonic performance as Wotan in the Final Scene from Act III of Wagner's Die Walküre an "impressive portrayal. His diction crisp, his tone dark and burnished, with an exciting undercurrent of muscular force." The New York Times wrote that when he appeared as Alberich in The Metropolitan Opera's 2010 production of Das Rheingold, "he seemed destined to play the king of the gods," and that when he appeared as Wotan in the Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2016 Das Rheingold production, "he sang with rich, deep sound and impeccable diction, and conveyed Wotan's essential dignity."
Alan Gilbert's final four subscription programs as Music Director reflect signature themes of his tenure and feature works that hold particular meaning for him and musicians with whom he has formed close relationships. They also include Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw paired with Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 (May 3-6 and 9); a concert highlighting the Philharmonic's close collaborations, with the New York Premiere of Kravis Emerging Composer Anna Thorvaldsdottir's Aeriality, the New York Premiere of Composer-in-Residence Esa-Pekka Salonen's Wing on Wing, and Brahms's Violin Concerto with Artist-in-Residence Leonidas Kavakos as soloist (May 19-20 and 23); and Alan Gilbert Season Finale: A Concert for Unity, which celebrates the power of music to build bridges and unite people across borders (June 8-10).
As Music Director of the New York Philharmonic since 2009, Alan Gilbert has introduced the positions of The Marie-Josée Kravis Composer-in-Residence, The Mary and James G. Wallach Artist-in-Residence, and Artist-in-Association; CONTACT!, the new-music series; the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today's music; and the New York Philharmonic Global Academy, partnerships with cultural institutions to offer training of pre-professional musicians, often alongside performance residencies. The Financial Times called him "the imaginative maestro-impresario in residence."
Alan Gilbert concludes his final season as Music Director with four programs that reflect themes, works, and musicians that hold particular meaning for him, including Beethoven's Ninth Symphony alongside Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw, Wagner's complete Das Rheingold in concert, and an exploration of how music can effect positive change in the world. Other highlights include four World Premieres, Mahler's Fourth Symphony, Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre, and Manhattan, performed live to film. He also leads the Orchestra on the EUROPE / SPRING 2017 tour and in performance residencies in Shanghai and Santa Barbara. Past highlights include acclaimed stagings of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen, Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd starring Bryn Terfel and Emma Thompson (2015 Emmy nomination), and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake starring Marion Cotillard; 28 World Premieres; a tribute to Boulez and Stucky during the 2016 NY PHIL BIENNIAL; The Nielsen Project; the Verdi Requiem and Bach's B-minor Mass; the score from 2001: A Space Odyssey, performed live to film; Mahler's Resurrection Symphony on the tenth anniversary of 9/11; performing violin in Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time; and ten tours around the world.
Conductor laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and former principal guest conductor of Hamburg's NDR Symphony Orchestra, Alan Gilbert regularly conducts leading orchestras around the world. This season he returns to the foremost European orchestras, including the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Munich Philharmonic, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, and Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. He will record Beethoven's complete piano concertos with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields and Inon Barnatan, and conduct Gershwin's Porgy and Bess at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, his first time leading a staged opera there. He made his acclaimed Metropolitan Opera debut conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic in 2008, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award, and he conducted Messiaen's Des Canyons aux étoiles on a recent album recorded live at the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Mr. Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies at The Juilliard School, where he holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies. His honors include Honorary Doctor of Music degrees from The Curtis Institute of Music (2010) and Westminster Choir College (2016), Columbia University's Ditson Conductor's Award (2011), election to The American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2014), a Foreign Policy Association Medal for his commitment to cultural diplomacy (2015), Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (2015), and New York University's Lewis Rudin Award for Exemplary Service to New York City (2016).
Bass-baritone Eric Owens launched the 2016-17 season with his role debut as Wotan in David Pountney's new production of Wagner's Das Rheingold at Lyric Opera of Chicago. He sings a trio of operas at The Metropolitan Opera: the house's premiere of Kaijo Saariaho's L'Amour de Loin, a new production of Dvo?ák's Rusalka under Mark Elder, and a revival of Mozart's Idomeneo conducted by James Levine. Other highlights include recitals with Susanna Phillips at Carnegie Hall and Lawrence Brownlee at Lyric Opera of Chicago, The Metropolitan Opera's 50th anniversary at Lincoln Center gala, and, for the third time, he joins the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's Negaunee Music Institute to present an interactive recital for incarcerated youth with Riccardo Muti and Joyce DiDonato. He rounds out his season singing Rimsky-Korsakov's Le Coq d'Or at Santa Fe Opera. Mr. Owens collaborates regularly with Muti, Simon Rattle, Michael Tilson Thomas, Alan Gilbert, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Franz Welser-Möst, Andrew Davis, Osmo Vänskä, and Donald Runnicles. In addition to performing with leading opera companies in Europe and North America, he has appeared with orchestras including the New York, Berlin, and Los Angeles philharmonic orchestras; Chicago, Boston, Toronto, Bavarian Radio, Atlanta, St. Louis, Baltimore, and Swedish Radio symphony orchestras; and the Cleveland and Minnesota Orchestras. Mr. Owens is featured on several recordings including excerpts from Richard Strauss operas (Telarc) and John Adams's A Flowering Tree (Nonesuch Records) and Doctor Atomic (Sony). A Philadelphia native, Eric Owens began studying piano at age six, and at eleven began formal oboe training under Lloyd Shorter of the Delaware Symphony and Louis Rosenblatt of The Philadelphia Orchestra. He studied voice while an undergraduate at Temple University and as a graduate student at the Curtis Institute of Music. He currently studies with Armen Boyajian. He serves on the boards of the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and Astral Artistic Services. Eric Owens made his New York Philharmonic debut in June 2003 singing selections from Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, led by then Philharmonic Music Director Lorin Maazel, during the Orchestra's residency at Sardinia's Teatro Lirico di Cagliari. He will have recently appeared with the Philharmonic in the May 2017 performances of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, led by Music Director Alan Gilbert.
Recently honored with the 2017 Beverly Sills Artist Award by The Metropolitan Opera, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton (Fricka) is also the winner of the 2015 Richard Tucker Award, both Main and Song Prizes at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and the 2007 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. This season, Ms. Barton released her debut solo album, All Who Wander, featuring songs by Mahler, Dvo?ák, and Sibelius. She returned to The Metropolitan Opera as Fenena in Verdi's Nabucco and Jezibaba in a new production of Dvo?ák's Rusalka, both simulcast in cinemas worldwide, and to Houston Grand Opera as Waltraute / Second Norn in Wagner's Götterdämmerung. She will make her Deutsche Oper Berlin debut this summer as Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo. The winner of the 2014 International Opera Award in the Young Singer category and the 2014 Marian Anderson Award, Ms. Barton has recently appeared as Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma at The Met, Los Angeles Opera, and San Francisco Opera; GiovAnna Seymour in Donizetti's Anna Bolena at The Met and Lyric Opera of Chicago; Fricka in Wagner's Das Rheingold and Die Walküre at Houston Grand Opera; Waltraute / Second Norn at Washington National Opera; Cornelia in Handel's Giulio Cesare at Oper Frankfurt; and Fenena at Seattle Opera and Royal Opera, Covent Garden. Ms. Barton's concert engagements include recent debuts at London's Wigmore Hall and with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, as well as returns to the Toronto and Iceland symphony orchestras. Ms. Barton premiered Jake Heggie's The Work at Hand at Carnegie Hall with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, and will return to New York next season for the World Premiere of Iain Bell's Of You, commissioned by Carnegie Hall. Other 2017-18 engagements include debuts with Madrid's Teatro Real, London Symphony Orchestra, and Taiwan's National Taichung Theater, as well as returns to Houston and New York as Adalgisa, to Washington, D.C. as Princess Eboli, and to San Francisco for Wagner's Ring Cycle. These performances mark Jamie Barton's New York Philharmonic debut.
Highlights of Christopher Purves's (Alberich) 2016-17 season include the title role in Richard Jones's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni for English National Opera; The Protector in George Benjamin's Written on Skin for Royal Opera, Covent Garden; the title role in Barrie Kosky's production of Handel's Saul at the Adelaide Festival; and Alberich in Wagner's Götterdämmerung for Houston Grand Opera. Recent highlights include Written on Skin led by Alan Gilbert at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart festival as well as on tour with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra; his debut at the Opéra national de Paris in Schoenberg's Moses und Aron; Alberich in Götterdämmerung at the Bavarian Staatsoper and in Wagner's Siegfried with Canadian Opera Company and Houston Grand Opera; his return to Glyndebourne Festival Opera as the Gamekeeper in Janá?ek's The Cunning Little Vixen; the title role in Puccini's Gianni Schicchi at Opera North; Golaud in Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande at Welsh National Opera; and the title role in Saul for Glyndebourne Festival Opera. Other operatic highlights include appearances at Royal Opera, Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Salzburg Festival, Berlin Staatsoper, and Netherlands Opera. These performances mark Christopher Purves's New York Philharmonic debut.
In the 2016-17 season, tenor Russell Thomas (Loge) returns to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Ismaele in Verdi's Nabucco; Canadian Opera Company and Lyric Opera of Chicago as Pollione in Bellini's Norma; and Los Angeles Opera as Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca. He also makes his debut at the Salzburg Festival singing the title role in Mozart's La clemenza di Tito. Concert highlights this season include performances of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the Detroit and Atlanta Symphony Orchestras, Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio with the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra at Tanglewood. Future engagements include debuts with the Bavarian Staatsoper, Washington National Opera, and Netherlands Opera, and returns to San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Canadian Opera Company, and Oper Frankfurt. Mr. Thomas's role debuts last season included Turiddu in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana with Deutsche Oper Berlin, the title role of a new production of Verdi's Stiffelio with Oper Frankfurt, Don José in Bizet's Carmen with Canadian Opera Company, and Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio with Cincinnati Opera. He made his Los Angeles Opera debut as Pollione in Norma and reprised his portrayal of Lazarus in John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary in Strasbourg. Russell Thomas made his New York Philharmonic debut in June 2012 performing the finale to Act I of Mozart's Don Giovanni, conducted by Alan Gilbert at Park Avenue Armory as part of the Philharmonic 360. He most recently joined the Orchestra in October 2015 for In Their Footsteps: Great African American Singers and Their Legacy, conducted by Thomas Wilkins.
Grammy Award-winning mezzo-soprano Kelley O'Connor's (Erda) 2016-17 season includes her Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in a program of Brahms, Purcell, and Stravinsky with Thomas Adès, Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder with Matthias Pintscher and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, John Adams's The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic and with David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Iván Fischer and the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with Louis Langrée and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and with Donald Runnicles and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. O'Connor also joins Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic for Mahler's Symphony No. 3. In recital, the California native returns to Collaborative Arts Institute Chicago in songs of Debussy, Massenet, Chausson, and Canteloube; joins Louis Langrée, as pianist, for recital programs in Cincinnati featuring songs of Brahms and Ravel; and is accompanied by her frequent collaborator, Donald Runnicles, at the Grand Teton Music Festival in works by Brahms and Bernstein. Kelley O'Connor has won acclaim for her performances of Osvaldo Golijov's Ainadamar in her debut with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Robert Spano, which led to a Grammy Award-winning recording on the Deutsche Grammophon label. Her discography also includes Lieberson's Neruda Songs with Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony, Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Gospel According to the Other Mary with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 with Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra for Deutsche Grammophon. Kelley O'Connor made her New York Philharmonic debut in October 2006 in Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortilèges conducted by then Music Director Lorin Maazel. She most recently joined the Orchestra in October 2013 for Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, conducted by Music Director Alan Gilbert.
Morris Robinson (Fasolt), a graduate of The Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2002 in Beethoven's Fidelio. He has since appeared there as Sarastro in Mozart's The Magic Flute, Ferrando in Verdi's Il trovatore, and in productions of Verdi's Aida and Nabucco, Wagner's Tannhäuser, Berlioz's Les Troyens, and Richard Strauss's Salome. He has also appeared at San Francisco Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, Dallas Opera, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. His many roles include Osmin in Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio, Ramfis in Aida, Sparafucile in Verdi's Rigoletto, Commendatore in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Grand Inquisitor in Verdi's Don Carlos, Timur in Puccini's Turandot, and Fasolt in Wagner's Das Rheingold. A prolific concert singer, Mr. Robinson recently made his BBC Proms debut in a televised performance of the Verdi Requiem. He has also appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall and with the Philadelphia, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Met Chamber orchestras; the Chicago, Boston, Montreal, and São Paulo symphony orchestras; and at the Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, Verbier, and Aspen festivals. In recital he has been presented by Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This season, Mr. Robinson made his debut at Milan's Teatro alla Scala in the title role of the Gershwins' Porgy and Bess and returned to The Met for The Magic Flute and Aida, and to Los Angeles Opera in The Abduction from the Seraglio. Upcoming engagements include returns to Washington National Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Dallas Opera, Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Ravinia and Tanglewood festivals. Mr. Robinson's first album, Going Home, was released by Decca. These performances mark Morris Robinson's New York Philharmonic debut.