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The 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons’ sixth as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director, marks his fifth anniversary in that position. Named Musical America’s 2018 Artist of the Year, Mr. Nelsons leads fifteen of the BSO’s twenty-six weeks of concerts this season, ranging from repertoire favorites by Beethoven, Dvoˇrák, Gershwin, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, Arturs Maskats, and HK Gruber. The season also brings the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra, and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists, including a concert performance of Tristan und Isolde, Act III—one of three BSO programs he will also conduct at Carnegie Hall—with Jonas Kaufmann and Emily Magee in the title roles. In addition, February 2020 brings a major tour to Asia in which Maestro Nelsons and the BSO give their first concerts together in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong, and Shanghai.
In February 2018, Andris Nelsons became Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester (GHO) Leipzig, in which capacity he also brings the BSO and GHO together for a unique multi-dimensional alliance including a BSO/GHO Musician Exchange program and an exchange component within each orchestra’s acclaimed academy for advanced music studies. A major highlight of the BSO/GHO Alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” thereby highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. For this season’s “Leipzig Week in Boston,” under Maestro Nelsons’ leadership in November, the entire Gewandhausorchester Leipzig comes to Symphony Hall for joint concerts with the BSO as well as two concerts of its own.
In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, Andris Nelsons’ contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In November 2017, he and the orchestra toured Japan together for the first time. They have so far made three European tours together: immediately following the 2018 Tanglewood season, when they played concerts in London, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris, and Amsterdam; in May 2016, a tour that took them to eight cities in Germany, Austria, and Luxembourg; and, after the 2015 Tanglewood season, a tour that took them to major European capitals and the Lucerne, Salzburg, and Grafenegg festivals.
The fifteenth music director in the history of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Andris Nelsons made his BSO debut at Carnegie Hall in March 2011, his Tanglewood debut in July 2012, and his BSO subscription series debut in January 2013. His recordings with the BSO, all made live in concert at Symphony Hall, include the complete Brahms symphonies on BSO Classics; Grammy-winning recordings on Deutsche Grammophon of Shostakovich’s symphonies 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (The Year 1905) as part of a complete Shostakovich symphony cycle for that label; and a recent two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). This November, a new release on Naxos features Andris Nelsons and the orchestra in the world premieres of BSO-commissioned works by Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis. Under an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon, Andris Nelsons is also recording the complete Bruckner symphonies with the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the complete Beethoven symphonies with the Vienna Philharmonic.
During the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons continues his ongoing collaborations with the Vienna Philharmonic. Throughout his career, he has also established regular collaborations with the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, and has been a regular guest at the Bayreuth Festival and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
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 music director of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra from 2008 to 2015, principal conductor of the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany, from 2006 to 2009, and music director of Latvian National Opera from 2003 to 2007.
Andris Nelsons, conductor
Emily Magee, soprano (Isolde)
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Since his sensational 2006 debut at the
Metropolitan Opera in La Traviata, Jonas Kaufmann has
numbered among the top stars on the operatic horizon. The
international press has singled him out as the "new king of tenors"
and insiders praise him as the most important German tenor since
Hailing from Munich, Kauffman completed
his vocal studies there at the local Music Academy and attended
master classes with Hans Hotter, James King and Josef Metternich.
During his first years at the State Theatre in Saarbrücken, he
continued his training with Michael Rhodes in Trier.
After engagements in Stuttgart,
Frankfurt, Hamburg and Milan - in Giorgio Strehler's production of
Così fan tutte and Fidelio, conducted by Riccardo
Muti - Kaufmann moved on to the Zürich Opera in 2001. From there he
began his international career, appearing at the Royal Opera House,
Covent Garden in London, Paris Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Berlin
State Opera, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Vienna State Opera,
Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Salzburg Festival.
In 2010, Kaufmann made his debut at the Bayreuth Festival as the
title role in Lohengrin in a spectacular staging by Hans
Kaufmann is just as internationally in
demand in the Italian and French repertoires as he is in German
opera. He has sung Massenet's Werther in Paris and Vienna
and Cavaradossi in Puccini's Tosca in London, at the Met
and La Scala. His intensive characterizations of Don José in
Bizet's Carmen and Werther in Massenet's opera took opera
fans throughout the world by storm. Kaufmann loves portraying
shattered characters, immersing himself in their world and making
their thoughts and emotions strikingly believable.
Besides his vocal and musical qualities,
it is Kaufmann's total identification with his roles that has been
received with such enthusiasm by the press and public. This was
certainly the case at his role debut as Siegmund in Die
Walküre at the Metropolitan Opera in the spring of 2011. The
eagerly awaited new production, masterfully conducted by James
Levine and transmitted world-wide on radio and in HD to cinemas,
allowed audiences to experience the special quality of Kaufmann's
Wagner interpretations in detail: the blend of German expressive
power and Italian vocal finesse. When Kaufmann subsequently had a
great success performing the title role in Gounod's Faust
(a new production that could also be seen in cinemas all over the
world), he showed once again his vocal and theatrical
In 2012, Kaufmann debuted as Bacchus in
Richard Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos at the Salzburg
Festival. In Salzburg, he was also heard as Don José in the new
production of Carmen, conducted by Simon Rattle, and in a
performance of Verdi's Requiem, conducted by Daniel
Barenboim, which he also performed at La Scala and the Lucerne
Festival. In December of 2012, Kaufmann returned to Milan for the
opening of La Scala's season in the new production of
Lohengrin, conducted by Barenboim and directed by Claus
2013 was the year of Wagner and Verdi.
After the Met's new production of Parsifal and the revival
of Don Carlos at the Royal Opera House in London, Kaufmann
also portrayed the title role in Don Carlos in Munich and
Salzburg. Furthermore, he sang two Verdi roles for the first time
in new productions at the Bayerische Staatsoper: Manrico in Il
Trovatore and Alvaro in La Forza del Destino. In February and
March of 2014, Kaufmann portrayed Massenet's Werther in a
new production at the Met, and in June he debuted as Des Grieux in
Puccini's Manon Lescaut at the Royal Opera House.
Highlights from 2015 included Kaufmann's
debut as the title role in a new production of Andrea
Chenier at the Royal Opera House, conducted by Antonio
Pappano, his first Radames in Aida in Rome, in a concert
performance with Anja Harteros and Pappano, a highly acclaimed
double debut in the new production of Cavalleria rusticana
/ Pagliacci at the Salzburg Easter Festival, a Puccini
recital at La Scala, and new productions of Beethoven's
Fidelio in Salzburg and Berlioz's La Damnation de
Faust at the Paris Opera.
After the great success of his solo album
of evergreens from the late Twenties and early Thirties (Du
bist die Welt für mich), Kaufmann released his new album of
Puccini arias (Nessun dorma) in September of 2015. He
performed some of those arias at the legendary "Last night of the
proms" in the Royal Albert Hall on September 12th.
In Munich's new production of Wagner's
Die Meistersinger, which premiered in May of 2016,
Kaufmann sang the role of Walther von Stolzing on stage for the
first time. After his South American tour debut in August of 2016,
with concerts and recitals in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo, Lima and
Santiago de Chile, the tenor will prepare the title role in
Otello at the Royal Opera House in London (June 2017).
Kaufmann's versatility as an artist is
documented on a number of CD's and DVD's in performances of such
works as Lohengrin, Walküre, Parsifal, Königskinder, Ariadne
auf Naxos, Don Carlos, Tosca, Andrea Chenier, Adriana Lecouvreur,
Werther and Carmen. His solo albums "Verismo",
"Wagner" and "Verdi" were bestsellers only a few weeks after being
released. In 2011, Kaufmann was presented with the coveted Opera
News Award in New York. An article in "Opera News" heralded this
selection with the words: "His intensity and elegance, the
smoothness of his voice and his body language, combined with his
musicality and his glowing appearance make him the very definition
of a 21st century opera star." Shortly afterwards, Kaufmann was
named a "Chevalier de l'Orde de l'Art et des Lettres" by French
culture minister Frédéric Mitterand. Kaufmann has been selected
several times as Singer of the Year by the classical music
magazines Opernwelt, Diapason and Musical America, as well as by
the juries of Echo-Klassik and the inaugural International Opera
Awards (London 2013).
Jonas Kaufmann is also a familiar figure
internationally on the concert and recital platforms. He regards
art song interpretation as "The Royal Class of Singing", since this
genre calls for considerably more finesse and differentiation than
any other vocal discipline. His partnership with pianist Helmut
Deutsch, with whom he has worked as far back as his student days in
Munich, has proven itself in countless concerts, including one on
the stage of the Metropolitan Opera on October 30, 2011. This was
the first solo recital given at the Met since Luciano Pavarotti's
back in 1994.
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor (Tristan)
Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano (Brangäne)
Kostas Smoriginas, baritone (Kurwenal)
Günther Groissböck, bass (Marke)
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Welsh tenor Andrew Rees made his Royal Opera debut in 2011 as Doctor Yes (Anna Nicole, world premiere). He has since sung Ulrich Eisslinger (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) and Froh (Das Rheingold) for The Royal Opera, and sang in ‘Diana and Actaeon’ (Metamorphosis: Titian 2012) for The Royal Ballet.
Rees was born in Carmarthen and studied at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and on English National Opera’s Jerwood Young Singers Programme, becoming a company principal for ENO 2004–06. Engagements include Števa (Jenůfa) in Tel Aviv, Boris (Kát’a Kabanová) and Sergei (Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk) in St Gallen and Weimar, Siegmund (Die Walküre) for Longborough Festival, Jimmy (Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny) for Angers-Nantes Opéra, Kudrjáš (Kát’a Kabanová) and Eisslinger for Welsh National Opera, Pinkerton (Madama Butterfly) in New Zealand, Lawyer (Punch and Judy) in Porto, Ismaele (Nabucco) and Kudrjáš for Opera Holland Park and Melot (Tristan und Isolde), Goro (Madama Butterfly) and Bob Boles (Peter Grimes) for Grange Park Opera and Macduff (Macbeth) for Northern Ireland Opera.
Concert engagements include Tristan and Isolde and Tannhäuser with Donald Runnicles and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Parsifal with Mark Elder and the Hallé Orchestra at the BBC Proms, Blond Eckbert in Hamburg, The Dream of Gerontius in Dublin with Sakari Oramo at the Finlandia Hall, Cavaradossi (Tosca) with Oramo and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Macduff (Macbeth) for Chelsea Opera Group and Verdi’s Requiem. Rees conducts the choir Coro.
Andrew Rees, tenor (Melot)
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Mr. Richardson has appeared with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on several occasions including Tanglewood in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Szymanowski’s opera King Roger and Strauss’s Salome under the batons of David Zinman, Charles Dutoit and Andres Nelsons, respectively. He has sung with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in Andriessen’s De Materie; returned to the Oratorio Society of New York in Bruckner’s Te Deum after his triumph in Verdi’s Requiem and traveled with the organization for concerts in Montevideo, Uruguay. Mr. Richardson has been tenor soloist with The Cecelia Chorus at Carnegie Hall in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis; soloist with the Greater Bridgeport Symphony in their presentation of Messiah; presented in concert with Close Encounters with Music of The Berkshires; concerts with New Haven Symphony; and, presented in recital at the University of Colorado. This season he prepared the role of Loge in Das Rheingold for the Metropolitan Opera; Das Lied von der Erde with the Orlando Philharmonic; was soloist in Mozart’s Requiem at Alice Tully Hall with Philharmonia Orchestra of New York; and returned to Opera Southwest as Cavaradossi in this past fall.
Mr. Richardson made his Metropolitan Opera and HD broadcast debut during the 2016-17 season as the Shepherd in Tristan und Isolde and returned for Salome later in that season. He subsequently returned for productions of The Exterminating Angel and Parsifal. With other companies in prior seasons he has sung the title role of Peter Grimes with The Princeton Festival; the title role of Werther with Boston Lyric Opera; Tamino in Die Zauberflöte with the Orlando Philharmonic; and, covered the role of Alwa in Alban Berg’s Lulu at The Metropolitan Opera. In addition, Mr. Richardson has sung with the Spoleto USA as Váňa Kudrjaš in Káťa Kabanová and the role of Molqi in The Death of Klinghoffer with Long Beach Opera. He was the title role of Amleto (Hamlet) by Franco Faccio in a US premiere with Opera Southwest and can be found on their recently released recording.
As a former Tanglewood Fellow he is a roster member of the Marilyn Horne Foundation having sung recital residencies throughout America with On Wings of Song. Mr. Richardson holds degrees from the University of Colorado and The Manhattan School of Music and has been honored by the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions and the Licia Albanese-Puccini Foundation.
Alex Richardson, tenor (Shepherd)
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Hailed as “a charismatic baritone” by the New York Times, “magnificently stentorian and resonant” by Opera News, and “a first-rate actor” by Opera (UK), David Kravitz’s recent opera engagements include lead roles at Washington National Opera (Davis Miller in the world premiere of Approaching Ali), Chautauqua Opera (Captain Balstrode in Peter Grimes), Skylight Music Theatre (Scarpia in Tosca), Opera Santa Barbara (The Forester in The Cunning Little Vixen), Grand Harmonie (Don Pizarro in Fidelio), Opera Saratoga (Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola), Charlottesville (Ash Lawn) Opera (Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof), Boston Lyric Opera (Abraham in Clemency), Emmanuel Music (Nick Shadow in The Rake’s Progress and Nick Carraway in The Great Gatsby), and the New England Philharmonic (Wozzeck in Wozzeck). He recently created the lead role of De Sade in Nicola Moro’s Love Hurts at the Piccolo Teatro in Milan, Italy, and at Symphony Space in New York. His many concert appearances include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Virginia Symphony, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Emmanuel Music, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, and Boston Baroque.
In the 2018-19 season, Mr. Kravitz returns to Odyssey Opera for Gounod’s La Reine de Saba, he performs Rachmaninoff’s The Bells with the New England Philharmonic, he presents the Defiant Requiem Foundation’s Hours of Freedom in New York City’s Zankel Hall, and he reprises Bernstein’s Arias and Barcarolles with mezzo-soprano Sandra Piques Eddy. Next season includes a return to the Boston Symphony as the Helmsman in Tristan und Isolde. Highlights from the 2017-18 season included three appearances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra: The Damnation of Faust, Tristan und Isolde, and Schumann’s Neujahrslied (the latter two under music director Andris Nelsons); Schoenberg’s Ode to Napoleon with the Boston Chamber Music Society; and Creon and the Messenger in Stravinsky’s Oedipus Rex with Emmanuel Music.
An exceptionally versatile artist, Mr. Kravitz’s repertoire ranges from Bach to Verdi to Sondheim to cutting-edge contemporary composers such as Matthew Aucoin, Mohammed Fairouz, Paul Moravec, and Elena Ruehr. Mr. Kravitz has recorded for the Naxos, BIS, Sono Luminus, Koch International Classics, BMOP/sound, Albany Records, and New World labels. His distinguished legal career has included clerkships with the Hon. Sandra Day O'Connor and the Hon. Stephen Breyer.
David Kravitz, baritone (Helmsman)