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Jaap van Zweden To Lead New York Premiere By John Luther Adams


Jaap van Zweden To Lead New York Premiere By John Luther Adams Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden will conduct the New York Philharmonic in a program pairing the New York Premiere of Pulitzer Prize winner John Luther Adams's Dark Waves with Act I of Wagner's Die Walküre (in concert), with soprano Heidi Melton as Sieglinde, tenor Simon O'Neill as Siegmund (in his New York Philharmonic debut), and bass John Relyea as Hunding.

The performances take place Wednesday, February 14, 2018, at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, February 15 at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, February 17 at 8:00 p.m. The February 15 performance will be broadcast free on Facebook Live, the Philharmonic's fifth live concert broadcast on Facebook. Directed by Habib Azar, the broadcast - available at will also feature live interviews with the evening's artists. The concert will be available soon afterward for on-demand viewing on the Philharmonic's website, YouTube, and Facebook.

The program connects the theme of primordial nature in Dark Waves with the struggle between life and death in Die Walküre.John Luther Adams writes: "As I composed Dark Waves, I pondered the ominous events of our times: terrorism and war, intensifying storms and wildfires, the melting of the polar ice and the rising of the seas. Yet, even in the presence of our deepening fears, we find ourselves immersed in the mysterious beauty of this world. Amid the turbulent waves, W. May still find the light, the wisdom, and the courage we need to pass through this darkness of our own making." In October 2010 Jaap van Zweden led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a performance of Dark Waves.

"The New York Philharmonic has a long history of presenting new work, and I continue to be committed to building on this tradition," said Music Director Designate Jaap van Zweden. "Dark Waves is a work that I am very pleased to be conducting again, and to be introducing to New York audiences in these concerts. The power of Wagner speaks for itself and is a strong coupling with this work of John Luther Adams."

Jaap van Zweden led the Philharmonic in the Prelude to Act I of Wagner's Lohengrin in November 2016 in what The New York Times called "a radiant account." In 2015 Mr. van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic embarked on a four-year project to present and record the first-ever concert performances in Hong Kong of Wagner's Ring Cycle. The recordings of Das Rheingold, Die Walküre, and Siegfried were released in November 2015, November 2016, and November 2017, respectively. Gramophonecalled the Die Walküre recording "an impressive ... achievement" and praised Heidi Melton's and Simon O'Neill's performances in the Siegfried recording: "Heidi Melton's Brünnhilde is courageous in the role's high-lying moments and freshly young-sounding. Moreover, O'Neill's Siegfried has retained more than enough voice to make this a genuine love duet. It's exciting."

The February 15 performance will be broadcast on Facebook Live, available at beginning at 7:20 p.m., directed by Habib Azar. The concert will be available soon afterward for on-demand viewing on the Philharmonic's website, YouTube, and Facebook.

Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents over the last decade. The 2017-18 season marks a major milestone as he completes his ten-year tenure as music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and becomes Music Director Designate of the New York Philharmonic, anticipating his inaugural season, in 2018-19, when he becomes Music Director. He continues as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. In addition to performances with the New York Philharmonic in New York and on tour, his 2017-18 season highlights include returns to the Chicago Symphony, Amsterdam's Royal Concertgebouw, Rotterdam Philharmonic, and Netherlands Radio Philharmonic orchestras.

Maestro van Zweden has also guest conducted The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; Boston, London, and Shanghai symphony orchestras; Los Angeles, Vienna, Berlin, and Munich philharmonic orchestras; Orchestre national de France; and Orchestre de Paris. In 2015 he launched the annual SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival with the Dallas Symphony, and embarked on a four-year project with the Hong Kong Philharmonic to conduct the first-ever Hong Kong performances of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, to be released on Naxos Records. In the summers of 2017-19 he serves as principal conductor of the Gstaad Festival Orchestra and Gstaad Conducting Academy.

Jaap van Zweden's acclaimed recordings include Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Britten's War Requiem, and complete cycles of the Beethoven, Brahms, and Bruckner symphonies. He recorded Mahler's Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Mozart piano concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray. His celebrated performances of Wagner's Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal (the last of which earned him the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012) are available on CD and DVD. On the Dallas Symphony's record label, he has conducted symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mahler, and Dvo?ák, as well as the World Premiere recording of Stucky's August 4, 1964. A new recording agreement with Universal Music Group's U.S. Classical Division and the New York Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden is being launched in the 2017-18 season.

Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra at 19. He began his conducting career 20 years later, in 1995. He is honorary chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as chief conductor, 2005-13, and conductor emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. He also held the post of chief conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra, 2008-11. Maestro van Zweden was named Musical America's 2012 Conductor of the Year.

In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism, including by training music therapists and musicians. In August 2015 the opening of Papageno House, a home for autistic young adults and children, in Laren, the Netherlands, was attended by Her Majesty Queen Maxima.

This season, American dramatic soprano Heidi Melton returns to the New York Philharmonic for Act I of Wagner's Die Walküreand to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra to sing Brünnhilde in complete performances of the opera, both conducted by Jaap van Zweden. She recently made her role debut as Brünnhilde in new productions of Wagner's Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe; made debuts with the London Symphony Orchestra and Berlin Philharmonic in Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre under Simon Rattle; and returned to Vienna for Mahler's Symphony No. 8 with the Tonkunstler Orchestra conducted by Andrés Orozco-Estrada. She appeared as Sieglinde in Die Walküre and Brünnhilde in Siegfried in concert performances with Jaap van Zweden and the Hong Kong Philharmonic recorded for Naxos Records, and in the summer of 2017 she recorded the role of Isolde in Wagner's Tristan und Isolde with Valery Gergiev and the Mariinsky Orchestra. Ms. Melton recently made her Vienna Philharmonic debut singing Brünnhilde's "Immolation Scene" from Götterdämmerung led by Mr. Gergiev at Vienna's Musikverein and Carnegie Hall. She returned to the Deutsche Oper Berlin as Venus / Elisabeth in Wagner's Tannhäuser with Donald Runnicles; she made her role debut as Isolde at Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe in a new Christopher Alden production conducted by Justin Brown, and reprised the role in her English National Opera debut in a new production conducted by Edward Gardner. Heidi Melton made her New York Philharmonic debut in January 2016 singing songs by Richard Strauss and the role of Brünnhilde in Act III of Die Walküre, conducted by then Music Director Alan Gilbert; she again performed Act III of Die Walküre with Alan Gilbert and the Orchestra during its July 2016 Bravo! Vail residency.

Tenor Simon O'Neill has performed in Wagner's Die Walküre (as Siegmund), Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg (Stolzing), and Lohengrin and Parsifal (title roles), and as Florestan in Beethoven's Fidelio at The Royal Opera, Covent Garden. He has also appeared in Berg's Wozzeck at The Metropolitan Opera and Hamburg Opera; Wagner's The Flying Dutchman at the Ravinia Festival; Puccini's Tosca in Tokyo, Berlin, and Hamburg; and Verdi's Otello and Wagner's Götterdämmerung at Houston Grand Opera. He has worked with conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Andrew Davis, Colin Davis, Fabio Luisi, Kent Nagano, Antonio Pappano, and Christian Thielemann. Mr. O'Neill has performed at Milan's Teatro alla Scala, Deutscher Staatsoper, Bavarian Staatsoper, Bayreuth Festival, San Francisco Opera, and Vienna Staatsoper. In concert, he has sung Fidelio in Rome, Schoenberg's Gurrelieder at the Edinburgh Festival and BBC Proms, Die Walküre with the Berlin Philharmonic and Edinburgh Festival, Wagner's Ring Cycle with the Berlin Staatskapelle at the BBC Proms, and the title role in Wagner's Siegfried in Hong Kong with Jaap van Zweden, released on Naxos. His discography also includes his award-winning solo album Father and Son,Wagner Scenes and Arias (EMI), Weber's Der Freischütz (LSO Live), and Mozart's The Magic Flute (Salzburg Festival DVD). Simon O'Neill's engagements for 2017-18 and beyond include Wozzeck in Hamburg, R. Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten at the Deutsche Staatsoper, Die Walküre (as Siegmund) and Parsifal (title role) at the Bavarian Staatsoper, Tannhäuser at the Deutsche Oper, and a return to the Vienna Staatsoper as Parsifal. Concert performances include Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde with the London Symphony Orchestra, Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 in Berlin, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, Act I of Die Walküre with Jaap van Zweden and the Dallas Symphony Orchestra as well as the New York Philharmonic, and the title role in Siegfried with the Hallé Orchestra. He is a Fulbright Scholar, was awarded the Arts Laureate of New Zealand and Doctor of Music (honoris causa) from Victoria University of Wellington, and became Officer of New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honors list. These performances Mark Simon O'Neill's New York Philharmonic debut.

Winner of the 2009 Beverly Sills Award and 2003 Richard Tucker Award, John Relyea has appeared on many of the world's great operatic stages, including The Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Paris Opéra, Teatro alla Scala (Milan), Mariinsky Theater (St. Petersburg, Russia), and The Royal Opera, Covent Garden (London). His diverse repertoire includes the title roles in Verdi's Attila, Massenet's Don Quichotte, Rachmaninoff's Aleko, Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, and Bartók's Bluebeard's Castle, as well as Bertram in Meyerbeer's Robert the Devil, the Four Villains in Offenbach's The Tales of Hoffmann, Marke in Wagner's Tristan and Isolde, King Phillip in Verdi's Don Carlo, Caspar in Weber's Der Freischütz,Nick Shadow in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, Collatinus in Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, and The Water Sprite in Dvo?ák's Rusalka. In concert, Mr. Relyea has performed with major orchestras including Hamburg's NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra; Berlin, New York, and Vienna philharmonic orchestras; The Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras; and the London, Chicago, Boston, Atlanta, Dallas, and San Francisco symphony orchestras. He has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl; the Tanglewood, Ravinia, Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lucerne, and Mostly Mozart festivals; and at the BBC Proms. This season Mr. Relyea returns to the Paris Opéra for Bluebeard's Castle and to the Teatro dell'Opera di Roma as Claggart in Britten's Billy Budd; performs with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra; and makes his debut at the Teatro di San Carlo as Fiesco in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra. John Relyea made his New York Philharmonic debut in March 2001 in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius, conducted by Colin Davis. He most recently appeared in the December 2016 performances of Handel's Messiah led by then Music Director Alan Gilbert.

The music of John Luther Adams (b. 1953) is deeply rooted in the natural world. Having experimented for a time with combining electronic and acoustic sounds, the orchestral version of Dark Waves (2007) is the first piece in which he'd done so for orchestra. Adams layers large choirs of virtual instruments, an "impossible orchestra," into expansive waves of sound, then adds the human element of the live orchestra. He writes: "Together, the orchestra and the electronics evoke a vast rolling sea. ... As I composed Dark Waves I pondered the ominous events of our times: terrorism and war, intensifying storms and wildfires, the melting of the polar ice and the rising of the seas. Yet even in the presence of our deepening fears, we find ourselves immersed in the mysterious beauty of this world. Amid the turbulent waves W. May still find the light, the wisdom and the courage we need to pass through this darkness of our own making." Commissioned by Musica Nova, Dark Waves was premiered by the Anchorage Symphony Orchestra in January 2007. This marks the Philharmonic's first performance of music by John Luther Adams.

Die Walküre is the second part of Richard Wagner's (1813-83) four-opera Der Ring des Nibelungen (The Ring of the Nibelung). Wagner wrote the libretto himself and based the work on Norse mythology, the Volsunga Saga, and Poetic Edda. He completed work on Die Walküre in March 1856, and it was premiered in Munich in June 1870. Act I of the opera begins with Siegmund, running from his enemies in the middle of a snowstorm, taking shelter in an unfamiliar house that turns out to belong to Sieglinde and her husband, Hunding. When it emerges that Hunding is a kinsman of Siegmund's enemies, Hunding informs Siegmund they will fight to the death in the morning. Left alone, Siegmund asks his father, Wälse (Wotan, leader of the gods, in human form), for the sword promised to him. Sieglinde reappears and tells Siegmund of a sword that was thrust into a tree at her wedding, and he promises to reclaim the sword and save her from her forced marriage. Sieglinde realizes Siegmund is her twin brother, and when he retrieves the sword, he claims her as his bride / sister. The Philharmonic presented the U.S. Premiere of Act I of Die Walküre in November 1876, with soprano Eugenie Pappenheim, tenor H.A. Bischoff, and baritone Franz Remmertz, conducted by Leopold Damrosch. Zubin Mehta led the recent performance of Act I in January 1985, with soprano Eva Marten, tenor Peter Hofmann, and bass Martti Talvela.

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