Puccini’s immortal tragedy

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Staatstheater Braunschweig moves to the open air, at Burgplatz. The opera “Madame Batterfly” will be premiered on July 3 and will run until July 21.

Japanese tragedy, Madama Butterfly, opera in three acts (originally two acts) by Italian composer Giacomo Puccini (Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa) premiered at La Scala opera house in Milan on February 17, 1904.

Puccini and his librettists took steps to introduce an element of realism into the new opera. Illica even traveled to Nagasaki to investigate local colour, while Puccini set about researching Japanese music. Puccini went through five versions of the piece with his writers Giuseppe Giacosa and Luigi Illica until he achieved what we have today: a precise, ruthless exploration of how a near-powerless woman is bought and sold to a pleasure-seeking westerner.

Throughout the opera, Puccini uses Japanese tunes built on unique musical scales. He also injects some American melody into the score.

Cast: Julie Adams (Cio-Cio-San), Isabel Stüber Malagamba (Suzuki), Kwonsoo Jeon (Benjamin Franklin Pinkerton), Maximilian Krummen (Sharpless), Joska Lehtinen (Goro), Jelena Banković (Kate Pinkerton) and Jisang Ryu (uncle fat cat).


Modern classic

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Sunday, 20th and Monday, 21st of June are reserved for Ludwig van Beethoven’s Violin concert D Major and Symphony no. 1 by Sergei Prokofiev.

Srba Dinic, Staatsorchester Braunschweig and violinist Johannes Denhoff will perform at Statdhalle.

“When our classically inclined musicians and professors (to my mind faux-classical) hear this symphony, they will be bound to scream in protest at this new example of Prokofiev’s insolence,” Prokofiev wrote his opinion about Symphony no. 1 to his diary.

“[L]ook how he will not let even Mozart lie quiet in his grave but must come prodding at him with his grubby hands, contaminating the pure classical pearls with horrible Prokofievish dissonances,” he imagined them saying. “But my true friends will see that the style of my symphony is precisely Mozartian classicism and will value it accordingly, while the public will no doubt just be content to hear happy and uncomplicated music which it will, of course, applaud.”

On that account he was exactly right; with its impish sense of humor, impeccable craftsmanship and charming melodies, the symphony was a breath of fresh air, and it has remained one of the composer’s most popular works.

Violin Concerto in D Major, Op. 61, concerto for solo violin and orchestra by Ludwig van Beethoven that is one of the earliest and most frequently performed of violin concerti on such a grand scale. It premiered in Vienna on December 23, 1806. It was Beethoven’s only concerto for violin, and it is considered to be his most lyrical work.

It is the last solo auspiciousness of Staatsorchester Braunschweig 1st concertmaster Johannes Denhoff.


In the honor of Mozart – concert with Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra, 23rd of April, 2021

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After more than a year, Srba Dinić returns to the Vojvodina Symphony Orchestra.

On the 23rd of April, under the baton of Maestro Dinić, the orchestra will perform Mozart’s “Concert for horn and orchestra No. 3”, Overture for the Opera “Don Giovanni” and Symphony No. 41, known as “Jupiter”. Radovan Vlatković, one of the greatest hornists of all time, will perform as a soloist. The fact that he has been an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music since 2014, and that part has only 300 musicians from all over the world, testifies to Vlatković’s impressive career.

With this concert, the cycle called “In the honor of Mozart – 230 years since the composer’s death” will be completed.


Opera “Rusalka” on digital stage

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Lyric fairy tale in three acts “Rusalka” by Antonín Dvořák is available for watching on digital stage until 4th of April, after which it will be included in OperaVision’s program.

The stage premiere of Antonín Dvořák’s touching opera was stopped by the second lockdown in November.  Srba Dinić (musical director) and the director Dirk Schmeding with their teams, were able to complete the rehearsal work with the singing ensemble and an orchestra that was reduced due to hygiene regulations. 

The title role of Rusalka is played by a phenomenal Julie Adams, who was booked for the New York MET, but has become free for Braunschweig due to the complete break-off of the season there. 

Rusalka was first performed in Prague on 31 March 1901, with Růžena Maturová as the first Rusalka. It became an enormous success in Czech lands, and soon gained success also abroad. Today Rusalka is one of the twenty most performed operas.

The libretto is inspired by the Czech version of the Central European folktale, one we also know as Undine (1811) by Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué or The Little Mermaid (1837) by Hans Christian Andersen. The original story is perfectly translated into a musical score full of color and magic where it is possible to perceive a Wagnerian influence, especially in the river currents of Der Ring des Nibelungen. There are also considerable similarities with another wonderful aquatic fable of sacrifice and redemption: Sadko (1898) by Rimski-Kórsakov.

Photo: Thomas M. Jauk 


2nd Symphony Concert – 25th and 26th of October

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Second Symphony concert in the new cycle “Avantgarde” will bring the expressionistically tinged chamber symphony by Franz Schreker and Beethoven’s unique 4th Piano Concerto. The soloist on the piano will be Martina Filjak.

Schreker was considered by some to be one of the most promising twentieth-century composers.  He enjoyed very considerable success as a composer of opera, in a style that couples the late Romantic with an element of musical collage, presenting scenes where different layers of music are juxtaposed or superimposed, all with a mastery of orchestral color. In the eight years between the peak of his popularity in 1924 and his forced resignation in 1932, however, the Nazis managed to ensure the almost total disappearance of his music from the public consciousness, not just within the Reich but throughout the world. In 1916 – in the middle of the First World War – Franz Schreker was commissioned to compose an orchestral work to mark the centenary of the founding of the Vienna Academy of Music. It is a great romantic orchestra to enjoy, it is a “chamber symphony” for only 23 musicians – the only food of Celesta and Harmony.

Beethoven’s 4th Piano Concerto has a completely new and unique style from his previous works. In this most gently spoken and poetic of all his concertos, Beethoven offers his most radical move—to begin with the piano alone. It is a move without precedent. The rhythmic elasticity of the first solo‑and‑orchestra statement‑and-response foreshadows an uncommon range of pace. The second movement, accompanied by strings only, has become the concerto’s most famous.


Sacrifice, heroism and triumph – Premiere of the Opera Fidelio by Ludwig van Beethoven

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Beethoven’s only opera, “Fidelio,” was among his cherished but most troubling compositions. After 10 years of redrafts, which saw him score four different overtures, the final version received its world premiere in 1814.

The opera is written in two acts according to the libretto wrote by Josef Sonnleithner, Stephan von Breuning and Georg Friedrich Treitschke

“The whole business with the opera (‘Fidelio’) is the most cumbersome in the world. There is a great difference between reflection and being able to submit oneself to rapture. In short, I can assure you, the opera will earn me the martyr’s crown,” wrote Beethoven in 1814. At the time, he was working on the third and final version of the work, which was enthusiastically received when it premiered at the Theater am Kärntnertor in Vienna on May 23, 1814.

The National Theater in Braunschweig will round off the celebration of Beethoven’s year by performing a special version of his only opera. This chamber version for the reduced ensemble, whose arrangement was personally approved by Beethoven, was created by Wenzel Sedlák. A “Fidelio” like you’ve never heard before!


Back on stage

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After a half-year break due to the covid crisis, the concert season 2020/21. continues in Braunschweig. The general music director, Srba Dinić and the Braunschweig Symphony Orchestra, return to the stage on Sunday, September 20th and Monday, September 21st. The program will include the Violin Concerto in D major, Erich Wolfgang Korngold and the Franz Shubert’s C major Symphony.

The soloist will be Josef Ziga.

Korngold’s Violin Concerto Op. 35 is among the five violin concertos most frequently played in music history.

Erich Wolfgang Korngold was 50 years old at the time of the 1947 debut of his Violin Concerto in D Major, a lyrical and exuberant work begun a decade earlier. The half-century mark can seem significant to any artist, but for Korngold it held special meaning: “Fifty is old,” he said, “for a child prodigy.” Korngold, born in Austria in 1897, was playing piano at age 6, writing keyboard pieces at 8, and composing a ballet at 11. Gustav Mahler and Richard Strauss were among young Korngold’s mentors. This concert is characterized by a mix of late romanticism and modern, cinematic musical language.

Symphony No. 9 in C Major, byname Great C Major, symphony and last major orchestral work by Austrian composer Franz Schubert. It was premiered by Mendelssohn in March, 1839, more than a decade after composer’s death. Symphony No. 9 reveals the deep influence of Beethoven on Schubert. Like Beethoven, but in his own quite individual way, Schubert was forging ahead into music’s dark unknown.


General music director meets concert master

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Srba Dinic will play a different role at the March 28th. Instead of conducting, Srba will perform as a pianist along with violinist Johannes Denhoff, concert master of the Staatsorchester Braunschweig.

Concert will be held at the Louis Spohr Hall with works by Schumann, Beethoven and Brahms.

Robert Schumann – Sonata No. 1 in A minor, op.105

Ludwig van Beethoven – Sonata A major op. 47 »Kreutzer Sonata«

Johannes Brahms – Sonata in D minor, op.108

 

Composer Robert Schumann (1810-1856), composed  Sonata No. 1 in A minor from the 12th to 16th of September, 1851; written for Wilhelm Joseph von Wasielewski and Clara Schumann;

Uniquely among Schumann’s major chamber works, the A minor Violin Sonata is in three rather than four movements, with the central Allegretto cunningly combining the functions of slow movement and scherzo.

 

Beethoven is known for crossing all sorts of musical boundaries, and the opening to his “Kreutzer” Sonata for Violin and Piano is a brilliant example. Beethoven himself said that the sonata is written in a virtuoso style, like a concerto. And it’s easy to hear what he was talking about in the piece’s radical opening notes. He well understood how different this new sonata was from any that had come before, including his own eight. His title page describes it as a “Sonata for the pianoforte and violin obbligato, written in a very concertato style, almost like a concerto.”

 

Johannes Brahms began his Sonata for piano and violin No. 3 in D minor, Op. 108, almost immediately after finishing the Sonata No. 2 in A major, Op. 100, during a vacation in Thun in the summer of 1886, but he set the work aside for two years and completed it only when he returned to Thun in 1888 for another vacation. The two works are in fact utterly different from one another: the A major Sonata is easygoing and radiates with warm melody from start to finish, while the D minor Sonata is an athletic, fibrous, and at times even nervous affair that offers drama of a far more epic nature. Brahms dedicated the Sonata No. 3 to Hans von Bülow, pianist, conductor, friend, and champion of the composer; it was first performed by Brahms and violinist Jenö Hubay in Budapest on December 22, 1888.


Concert series “Time for Classic”

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It’s “Time for Classic” in the cities of Celle and Helmstedt!

Audience will enjoy the “tone poem” – “Verklärte Nacht” by Arnold Shoenberg, Richard Strauss’s “Concerto in D major for Oboe and Small Orchestra” and Beethoven’s delightful Fourth Symphony.

See you on the 4th of March at Celle, and the 5th of March at Helmstedt.

Arnold Schoenberg “Verklärte Nacht”

Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4, (English: “Transfigured Night”) by Austrian-born American composer Arnold Schoenberg, it’s a highly romantic piece that dates to 1899, before he adopted the 12-tone method of composition that became his signature.

Verklärte Nacht is a tone poem—that is, an instrumental composition with plot content—in the tradition of Franz Liszt’s Les Préludes and Richard Strauss’s Don Juan. Schoenberg’s piece differs from its models in that it is a chamber piece, not an orchestral work. Years later, in 1917, Schoenberg crafted a new arrangement for string orchestra including basses, though still without winds or percussion.

Although Verklärte Nacht has a plot, it does not portray anything more than a walk and a conversation. Rather, Schoenberg drew inspiration from Richard Dehmel’s poem of the same name, published in the collection Weib und Welt (1896; “Woman and World”), which was a psychological portrait. The poem’s essence concerns acceptance and understanding.

Although it was originally scored as a string sextet, the work is often performed with a full string orchestra.

Richard Strauss – Oboe Concerto

Just after the Second World War Richard Strauss wrote his Oboe Concerto ‘at the suggestion of an American soldier from Chicago’. This soldier, John de Lancie, who had been principal oboist in the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra before entering the army, had visited Strauss a few times in his house in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is astonishing that Strauss wrote such a light and playful Oboe Concerto at an advanced age and just after the war.

Musical Mischief: Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4

Beethoven’s delightful Fourth Symphony is a lighthearted masterpiece full of mischievous musical jokes.

Shortly after completing his revolutionary Third Symphony, the “Eroica”, Beethoven began sketching his Fifth, a work that expands on the theme of heroic struggle so vividly explored in the Third. He set it aside, however, to write a completely different kind of symphony. Throughout his career, Beethoven liked to work on pairs of contrasting works simultaneously, and in character the Fourth Symphony could not be more different from that of the Third or Fifth.

Instead of an epic journey from darkness to light, Beethoven’s Fourth is a beguiling work full of comedy and enchantment.

Though the Symphony No. 4 shares many aspects of the symphonic ideal with its immediate siblings, it does not necessarily wear its psychological meaning on its sleeve. It could be that this lack of psychological catharsis is the reason for the neglect by the commentators, as it is often tossed off as being a pint of relaxation between the titanic intellectual demands of the “Eroica” and the Symphony No. 5. What it lacks in “seriousness” is balanced by its directness and its classically contained power.


Missa Solemnis – From the heart

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February 16 & 17th, 2020
Stadthalle

Ludwig van Beethoven
Missa solemnis D major op. 123

Musical direction  Srba Dinić

Soloist * inside  Isabel Stüber Malagamba (Alt), Matthias bull (tenor), Jisang Ryu (bass)
with the choir of the State Theater Braunschweig and the Concert Choir Brunswick

A high point of the symphonic Beethoven year at the Braunschweig State Theater is the composer’s “Missa solemnis”, which will be heard for the first time in the state orchestra’s symphony concert series in 2020. 

On the manuscript of this work, Beethoven wrote the words:  From the heart – may it return to the heart.

The Missa Solemnis may be the greatest piece never heard. Nearly 90 minutes long, it requires a large chorus, an orchestra and four soloists. For Beethoven, every word counted in the long-known text; every sentence had its explicit meaning that had to be followed musically. The result is a fairly larger-than-life fair, which the audience with its length, attention to detail and expressiveness. It concludes with a fraught, fragile and unanswered plea for peace amid the drumbeats of war. But the answer comes in the Ninth Symphony, with its chorale finale based on Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” written in a time of revolution. Those words and Beethoven’s music call for humankind to kneel before the creator, but for answers to turn to one another. The path to peace, he suggests, is bestowed not from above, but from within us and among us, in universal brotherhood.

Interestingly Beethoven wanted to premiere the Missa along with the newly completed Ninth Symphony at the concert in the Kärntnertor theater on 7 May 1824, but the censor intervened, banning the performance of a religious work in a concert hall. A compromise was reached in which only three movements of the Missa were performed (along with the Ninth). Just shows how wrong the censor was.

Beethoven composed Missa Solemnis for the enthronement of his great friend and pupil Archduke Rudolph as Archbishop of Olmütz – completing it three years after the enthronement ceremony.

The Missa Solemnis stands alone in Beethoven’s output. A modern critic wrote: To those for whom Beethoven’s music is an important reason for living, the Missa Solemnis belongs at the center of their experience – a work to respect, certainly, but still more to love.