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Boston Symphony OrchestraAndris Nelsons conducts Elgar and Puts featuring Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry

Boston Symphony Orchestra
Andris Nelsons conducts Elgar and Puts featuring Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry

Tanglewood

Koussevitzky Music Shed - Lenox, MA View Map

The letters of iconic American artist Georgia O’Keeffe and her husband, the photographer and curator Alfred Stieglitz, are full of poetry, humor, passion, pain, and longing. Written over the many months and years they lived apart, these letters chronicle their initial flirtations in 1915—when Georgia was a young, aspiring artist—to Alfred’s death in 1946. Written especially for Renée Fleming and Rod Gilfry, and accompanied by projections by Wendall Harrington, The Brightness of Light is the story of a great artist who ultimately turns from a painful marriage to embrace her work and the desert landscape she loves.

 

Featured Performers

Andris Nelsons, conductor
Andris Nelsons, conductor View biography in full page >

Andris Nelsons is the newly appointed Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, starting from the 2014/2015 season. He will act as Music Director Designate for the BSO's 2013/2014 season. Andris Nelsons made his Boston Symphony Orchestra debut in March 2011, leading Mahler's Symphony no. 9 at Carnegie Hall. Last summer, Nelsons made his debut at Tanglewood, and in January 2013, he made his Symphony Hall debut. This new appointment cements Andris Nelsons as one of the most sought-after conductors on the international scene today, a distinguished name both on the opera and concert podiums.  

Nelsons has been Music Director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra since 2008 and remains at the helm of orchestra until Summer 2015, enjoying critically acclaimed seasons and an outstanding tenure. With the CBSO, he undertakes major tours worldwide, including regular appearances at such summer festivals as Lucerne Festival, BBC Proms and Berliner Festspiele. Together they have toured the major European concert halls, including the Musikverein, Vienna, Théâtre des Champs Elysées, Paris, Gasteig, Munich and the Auditorio Nacional de Música, Madrid. Nelsons made his debut in Japan, on tour with Wiener Philharmoniker, and returned to tour Japan and the Far East with the CBSO in November 2013. 

Over the next few seasons he will continue collaborations with Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Het Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonia Orchestra.

Andris Nelsons is a regular guest at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper and the Metropolitan Opera New York. In summer 2014 he returns to Bayreuther Festspiele as Musical Director for Lohengrin, in a production directed by Hans Neuenfels, which Nelsons premiered in Bayreuth in 2010.

With the CBSO, Nelsons has an exciting recording collaboration with Orfeo International: they are working towards releasing all orchestral works by Tchaikovsky and all those by R. Strauss, the first disc of which was praised by The Times: "one of the most sumptuous and refined accounts of 'Ein Heldenleben' ever put on to disc". The majority of Nelsons' recordings are recognised with a Preis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and, in October 2011, Andris Nelsons received the prestigious ECHO Klassik of the German Phono Academy in the category "Conductor of the Year" for his recording with CBSO of Stravinsky's 'Firebird' and 'Symphony of Psalms'. For audiovisual recordings, he has an exclusive agreement with Unitel GmbH, the most recent release is a disc including Dvorak, entitled From The New World with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, released on DVD and Blu-ray in June 2013.

Born in Riga in 1978 into a family of musicians, Andris Nelsons began his career as a trumpeter in the Latvian National Opera Orchestra before studying conducting. He was Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany 2006-2009 and Music Director of Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.

Andris Nelsons, conductor Renée Fleming, soprano
Renée Fleming, soprano View biography in full page >

Renée Fleming is one of the most highly acclaimed singers of our time, performing on the stages of the world’s greatest opera houses, concert halls, and theaters. Winner of four Grammy® awards and the US National Medal of Arts, Renée has sung for momentous occasions from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. In 2014, Renée brought her voice to a vast new audience as the only classical artist ever to sing the US National Anthem at the Super Bowl. In 2008 Renée was the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.

When social distancing precautions began, Renée was preparing to depart for a recital tour of Europe and the US with the Russian pianist Evgeny Kissin. During the shutdown, the two artists collaborated from their respective continents to record Schubert’s “Ave Maria” in support of healthcare workers. Renée also appeared in the Metropolitan Opera’s live “At-Home Gala” in April. Last spring, she appeared opposite Ben Whishaw in Norma Jean Baker of Troy to open The Shed in New York City. Last summer, she performed the world premieres of André Previn’s Penelope and Kevin Puts’ The Brightness of Light at Tanglewood.  In June, she made her London musical theater debut as Margaret Johnson in The Light in the Piazza, bringing her acclaimed portrayal to Los Angeles and Chicago in the autumn. Renée earned a Tony Award nomination for her performance in the 2018 Broadway production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel. Her new album, Lieder: Brahms, Schumann, and Mahler, was released by Decca in June. She was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance on Broadway in Carousel.

 

Known for bringing new audiences to classical music and opera, Renée has starred in and hosted an array of television and radio broadcasts, including The Met: Live in HD and Live from Lincoln Center. Her voice is featured on the soundtracks of the Best Picture Oscar winners The Shape of Water and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Renée has recorded everything from complete operas and song recitals to indie rock and jazz; and her album Signatures was selected by the U.S. Library of Congress for the National Recording Registry, as an “aural treasure worthy of preservation as part of America’s patrimony.”

 

As Artistic Advisor to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Renée launched a collaboration with the U.S. National Institutes of Health, with participation by the NEA, focused on the science connecting music, health, and the brain. She has given presentations with scientists and practitioners on this subject around the world, earning Research!America’s Rosenfeld Award for Impact on Public Opinion.

In August, Renée was appointed co-director of the Aspen Opera Theater and VocalARTS. She is the Artistic Director of SongStudio at Carnegie Hall, another program for young artists, dedicated to the art of the song recital. Renée is a member of the Board of Trustees of Carnegie Hall, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Artistic Advisory Board of the Polyphony Foundation, which works to bridge the divide between Arab and Jewish communities in Israel by creating a common ground where young people come together around classical music. She is also a spokesperson for the American Musical Therapy Association.

Renée’s other awards include the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, Germany’s Cross of the Order of Merit, and France’s Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur. Renée’s memoir The Inner Voice, published in the US and UK in 2004, has since been translated and published in France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Russia, and China, and is now in its 16th US printing.

www.reneefleming.com

Renée Fleming, soprano
Rod Gilfry, baritone
Rod Gilfry, baritone View biography in full page >

American baritone Rod Gilfry, two-time Grammy award nominee, singer and actor, has performed in all the world's music capitals. His most recent Grammy award nomination was for his performance in the title role of Messiaen's monumental opera Saint François d'Assise in Amsterdam. Best-known as an opera singer, he is also an acclaimed recitalist and concert artist, and appears frequently in musical theater classics. His discography of 28 audio and video recordings includes the DVD and CD of his one-man show My Heart is So Full of You. His radio program, Opera Notes on Air, aired on K-Mozart 105.1 FM in Los Angeles for over three years. With a 77-role repertoire, Mr. Gilfry sings music from the Baroque to that composed expressly for him. He was brought to worldwide attention when he created the role of Stanley Kowalski in the 1998 premiere of André Previn's A Streetcar Named Desire at the San Francisco Opera, opposite Renée Fleming. Other world premieres include Nicholas in Deborah Drattel's Nicholas and Alexandra (Los Angeles, opposite Placido Domingo); Nathan in Nicholas Maw's Sophie's Choice (London, Washington D.C.); Jack London in Libby Larsen's Every Man Jack (Sonoma, CA); Edward Gaines in Richard Danielpour's Margaret Garner (Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia), the title role in Marc-André Dalbavie's Gesualdo (Zurich), and Master Chen in Christian Jost's Die Rote Laterne (Zurich). Most recently, he originated the role of Walt Whitman in Matthew Aucoin’s Crossing in Boston, Claudius in Brett Dean’s Hamlet with Glyndebourne Festival, Mr. Potter in Jake Heggie’s It’s a Wonderful Life in Houston, and David Lang’s the loser in New York City.

Mr. Gilfry’s 2018-2019 season will include the role of Prospero in Katie Mitchell’s production of Miranda with the Opéra Comique on tour at the Opéra National de Bordeaux and Théâtre de Caen. He reprises his role in It’s a Wonderful Life at San Francisco Opera and Don Alfonso in Così fan tutte at Santa Fe Opera conducted by Harry Bicket, and at Korea National Opera, as well as the loser at Los Angeles Opera. Concert highlights include Mozart’s Requiem and Kirchner’s Songs of Ascent with the Los Angeles Chorale, and excerpts from Crossing at the American Civil War Museum with Matthew Aucoin playing piano.

In the 2017-2018 season, Mr. Gilfry returned to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Alberto Roc in the American premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Exterminating Angel and the Santa Fe Opera to sing the Musiklehrer in Ariadne auf Naxos. He also reprised his acclaimed performance in Crossing at the Los Angeles Opera and Brooklyn Academy of Music, as well as Brett Dean’s Hamlet at the Adelaide Festival. In concert, he sang Elijah with the Phoenix Symphony, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 with the Pacific Symphony, and a concert of Mozart arias with the San Bernardino Symphony. He gave a Broadway standards concert with Sylvia McNair and Kevin Cole at the Ravinia Festival, as well as a recital and series of masterclasses at James Madison University as part of the National Association of Teachers and Singing (NATS) convention.

In previous seasons, Mr. Gilfry has performed the role of Howard K. Stern in Mark-Anthony Turnage's Anna Nicole with the New York City Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, a return to the Metropolitan Opera as Danilo in a new production of The Merry Widow opposite Susan Graham, Peter in Hansel and Gretel with the Alabama Symphony, the title role in Don Giovanni and Don Alphonso at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, Wotan in Das Rheingold at the Biwako Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Shiga, Japan, concerts with the San Francisco Symphony in music of Thomas Adès and Felix Mendelssohn, performances with the Dallas Symphony as Lyndon Baines Johnson in Steven Stucky's August 4th, 1964 in Dallas and at Carnegie Hall, and selections from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Grand Rapids Symphony. He sang the title role in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris and with Opera Theatre of St Louis, Frank Butler to Deborah Voigt's Annie in Annie Get Your Gun at the Glimmerglass Festival, and Brahm's Ein deutsches Requiem at the Oregon Bach Festival. He appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel for the final installment of their Mozart/Da Ponte Trilogy as Don Alfonso.

Mr. Gilfry devoted an entire season to the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein, starring as Emile de Becque in the U.S. National Tour of the Lincoln Center production of South Pacific, a production that garnered 7 Tony awards. He also appeared as Captain von Trapp with the Théâtre du Châtelet in The Sound of Music, with his daughter Carin Gilfry in the role of his daughter Liesl.

In addition to his full-time performance schedule, Mr. Gilfry is an Associate Professor of Vocal Arts at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music.

Rod Gilfry, baritone Wendall Harrington, video artist Wendall Harrington, video artist
Program Notes Audio
ELGAR - Enigma Variations (33 min)
Kevin PUTS - The Brightness of Light (world premiere; BSO co-commission)
Full Program Notes - PDF