Charles Dutoit to Lead CSO in WAR REQUIEM, 11/14-16
Guest conductor Charles Dutoit leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) in Benjamin Britten's War Requiem, the English composer's impassioned denunciation of war on Thursday, November 14; Friday, November 15; and Saturday, November 16, all at 8 p.m.
The year 2013 marks the centennial of Benjamin Britten, who remains one of the central figures of 20th-century music. The CSO honors his legacy with a number of programs in the 2013-14 season that showcase his wide-ranging contributions to music. The War Requiem was written to mark the consecration of the new Coventry Cathedral, which was built alongside the ruins of the original, a 14th-century structure destroyed by the German Luftwaffe in World War II. Set to poems by the English war- poet Wilfred Owen, the 85-minute work is scored for soprano, tenor and baritone soloists, chorus, boys' choir, organ and two orchestras (a full orchestra and a chamber orchestra). To underscore the work's message of reconciliation, Britten, himself an ardent pacifist, wrote the solo parts specifically for an English tenor, a German baritone and the great Russian soprano Galina Vishnevskaya, whose participation in the Coventry premier was ultimately prohibited by Soviet authorities.
The CSO honors Britten's intentions in these performances by featuring soprano Tatiana Pavlovskaya and tenor John Mark Ainsley in their CSO debuts, along with baritone Matthias Goerne, the Chicago Symphony Chorus and Chicago Children's Choir. The performance of the War Requiem also anticipates the CSO's upcoming Truth to Power Festival in May and June 2014, which will highlight works by Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Britten with conductor Jaap van Zweden.
Charles Dutoit was recently appointed chief conductor and music advisor of the Philadelphia Orchestra as well as artistic director and principal conductor of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He has also performed regularly with all the great orchestras of Europe, including the Berlin Philharmonic and Amsterdam's Concertgebouw Orchestra as well as with all the London orchestras, the major orchestras of Japan, South America and Australia. Dutoit has recorded extensively for Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, EMI, Philips, CBS, Erato among other labels. His more than 170 recordings, half of them with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, have garnered over 40 awards and distinctions around the world. This performance for the Britten centennial is Dutoit's first performance with the CSO since conducting The Rite of Spring in the fall of 2012.