cast

Conductor
Donald Runnicles
Orchestra
Orchester der Deutschen Oper Berlin
Mezzosoprano (La mort de Cléopâtre)
Alice Coote
Mezzosoprano (Les Troyens)
Susan Graham
Tenor
Klaus Florian Vogt

A concert in cooperation with Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest BerlinPresented by rbb-Kulturradio

Special Concert – Musikfest Berlin in the Philharmony

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)
The Coriolan Overture

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869)
La mort de Cléopâtre
Excerpts from LES TROYENS

The annual guest performances by the Deutsche Oper have become a traditional part of Musikfest Berlin in September. This year sees Hector Berlioz and others topping the bill at the festival of orchestras at the beginning of the season. General Music Director Donald Runnicles presents a programme that runs from the music of the young Berlioz and his great role model Beethoven to the fully rounded works of the mature Berlioz.

The Coriolan Overture, written in 1807 for Heinrich Joseph Collins’s play of the same name, was the first of Beethoven’s experiments in music written for staged dramas. The composer renders brilliantly in musical form the conflicting emotions of the eponymous Roman general, torn between revolution and patriotism. Beethoven was a huge influence on the young Berlioz; even his cantata “Mort de Cléopatre” cannot conceal his debt to the maestro. The 26-year-old Frenchman’s work centring on the Egyptian queen’s bold death monologue did not manage to win the prestigious Prix de Rome but this early cantata is an exciting link to Berlioz’s later opus magnum, the grand opéra LES TROYENS, in which the composer-librettist charts the events from the fall of Troy to the tragic love story of Dido and Aeneas.

General Music Director Donald Runnicles has selected key scenes in the love story from the second half of the opera. The key moments of the Trojans in Carthage are captured in the form of excerpts from the “Chasse Royale”, the sprawling duet between Didon and Enée, lost in their love for each other, the farewell aria by the hero on his recall to Italy and Dido’s grandly staged death scene, among others. Singing alongside Klaus Florian Vogt as Aeneas, Susan Graham makes her debut as Dido with the orchestra of the Deutsche Oper. The American mezzo-soprano is a regular guest at the Metropolitan Opera and seldom appears in Europe. British mezzo-soprano Alice Coote has long-since expanded her repertoire from her baroque-opera beginnings and is set to bring the requisite dramatic grandeur to Cleopatra’s death.