Saturday 6 July 2013

Looking forward to the summer

As the London season winds down, festival time comes upon us. I still have a couple of Wigmore Hall concerts to attend, and the small matter of a concert performance of Capriccio at Covent Garden; other than that, however, July, August, and the beginning of September in London will be a matter of the Proms. This year, since I shall be away for most of August, my visits will be severely curtailed; yet, although I shall miss Parsifal, Tannhäuser, and a host of wonderful-looking orchestral concerts, at least I shall catch Daniel Barenboim’s Ring, Semyon Bychkov’s Tristan, and the odd other concert. It will be my first Ring of the summer, the second being in Seattle, where I have been invited to contribute to the Seattle Opera’s Ring symposium; I am not sure whether I shall write in full on the Seattle Ring, since being an invited guest does not necessarily grant one the necessary, or at least desirable, ‘objectivity’, for want of a better word. However, I shall try at the very least to give a report of my impressions. Apart from a few days’ holiday in San Francisco – my first visit there, and indeed to anywhere on the West Coast – a good part of the rest of August will be devoted to not just one but two visits to the Salzburg Festival. Unable to make timetabling work so as to attend the three operas I desperately wished to see, I made the doubtless foolhardly decision to make a special first visit just to see Gawain: astonishingly, not only the first Salzburg staging of a Birtwistle opera, but the first re-staging of Gawain anywhere since its Royal Opera premiere and revival. The other operas to be seen later in August will be the impatiently awaited Stefan Herheim production of Die Meistersinger, in which Herheim will be reunited with Daniele Gatti, one of the finest Wagner conductors alive, and the first instalment in Salzburg’s new Da Ponte cycle, Così fan tutte, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach and directed by Sven-Erik Bechtolf. Other Salzburg delights are listed below. Here, then, is my musical schedule for the summer:

9 July: Annette Dash/Helmut Deutsch – Songs by Mahler, Zemlinsky, Schoenberg, and Korngold
15 July: Arditti Quartet/Bamberg Symphony Orchestra/Jonathan Nott – Mahler and Lachenmann (much to my surprise, the latter’s first appearance at the Proms)
16 July: Ray Chen/Julien Quentin – Mozart, Brahms, Ysaÿe, Saint-Saëns
18 July: BBC NOW/Søndergård – Stenhammar, Szymanowsi, Strauss
19 July: Royal Opera Capriccio
22 July: Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim  Das Rheingold
23 July: Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim Die Walküre
26 July: Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim Siegfried
27 July: BBC SO/Bychkov Tristan und Isolde
28 July: Staatskapelle Berlin/Barenboim Götterdämmerung

2 August: ORF SO Vienna/Metzmacher Gawain
12 August: Seattle Das Rheingold
13 August: Seattle Die Walküre
15 August: Seattle Siegfried
17 August: Seattle Götterdämmerung
20 August: Hagen Quartet - Beethoven
21 August: SWF SO Baden-Baden and Freiburg/Gielen – Mahler, Symphony no.6
22 August: Capuçons and friends – Birtwistle, Fauré, Brahms
23 August: Grigory Sokolov – Schubert, Beethoven
24 August: Schade/Buchbinder – Schubert, Die schöne Müllerin
24 August: Scharoun Ensemble – Mantovani, Staud, Pintscher, Fujikura, Baltakas, Fulmer, Schwartz, André, Zuraj, Jarrell, Neuwirth, Šenk (twelve world premieres commissioned to complement twelve new sculptures)
25 August: VPO/Eschenbach Così fan tutte
26 August: BPO/Rattle – Berg, Schoenberg, Stravinsky
27 August: VPO/Gatti Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg

2 September: Skride/Oslo PO/Petrenko – Tchaikovsky, Szymanowski, Rachmaninov