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(Canceled) WAGNER Tristan und Isolde, Act III

(Canceled) WAGNER Tristan und Isolde, Act III

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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Andris Nelsons and the BSO continue the tradition of presenting major operatic works in concert with these performances of Act III of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, featuring a stellar cast of singers. Following upon his BSO performances as Tristan in Act II of the opera in spring 2018, acclaimed tenor Jonas Kaufmann returns as the hero for the opera’s final act. Making her BSO debut, American soprano Emily Magee sings the role of Isolde, whose beautiful and transporting “Liebestod” (“Love-death”) provides one of the most emotionally fulfilling conclusions in all opera.

Featured Performers

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

The 2020-2021 season is Andris Nelsons seventh as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s Ray and Maria Stata Music Director. In summer 2015, following his first season as music director, his contract with the BSO was extended through the 2021-22 season. In February 2018 Mr. Nelsons was also named Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. On October 5, 2020, the BSO and GHO jointly announced extensions to Mr. Nelsons current contracts. His contract with the BSO was extended until 2025, and his GHO contract until 2027. An evergreen clause in his BSO contract reflects a mutual intention for a long-term commitment between the BSO and Mr. Nelsons beyond the years of the agreement.

Mr. Nelsons’ two positions, in addition to his leadership of a pioneering alliance between the institutions, have firmly established the Grammy Award-winning conductor as one of the most renowned and innovative artists on the international scene today. In fall 2019 Mr. Nelsons and the BSO hosted the Gewandhausorchester in historic concerts at Symphony Hall that included two performances by the GHO as well as concerts featuring the players of both orchestras together.

In the 2019-20 season, Andris Nelsons led the BSO in repertoire ranging from favorites by Beethoven, Dvořák, Grieg, Mozart, Mahler, Ravel, and Tchaikovsky to world and American premieres of BSO-commissioned works from Eric Nathan, Betsy Jolas, and the Latvian composer Arturs Maskats. The season also brought the continuation of his complete Shostakovich symphony cycle with the orchestra and collaborations with an impressive array of guest artists. Mr. Nelsons’ work with the BSO resumes with his return to Boston at the start of 2021.

Andris Nelsons’ and the BSO’s ongoing series of recordings of the complete Shostakovich symphonies for Deutsche Grammophon has included the composer’s symphonies 4, 5, 8, 9, 10, and 11 (The Year 1905), and most recently a two-disc set pairing Shostakovich’s symphonies 6 and 7 (Leningrad). The cycle has earned three Grammy awards for Best Orchestral Performance and one for Best Engineered Album. The next installment, featuring symphonies nos. 1, 14, and 15 and the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a (arr. Rudolf Barshai), is scheduled for release in summer 2021. Future releases will go beyond the symphonies to encompass the composer’s concertos for piano, violin, and cello, and his monumental opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District. Mr. Nelsons’ other recordings with the orchestra include the complete Brahms symphonies for the BSO Classics label and a Naxos release of BSO-commissioned world premiere works by four American composers: Timo Andres, Eric Nathan, Sean Shepherd, and George Tsontakis.

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. In November 2017, Mr. Nelsons and the BSO 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. A scheduled February 2020 tour to East Asia was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency.

In his capacity as BSO Music Director and Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, Mr. Nelsons 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 aspect of the alliance is a focus on complementary programming, through which the BSO celebrates “Leipzig Week in Boston” and the GHO celebrates “Boston Week in Leipzig,” highlighting each other’s musical traditions through uniquely programmed concerts, chamber music performances, archival exhibits, and lecture series. The two orchestras have jointly commissioned and premiered works from Latvian, American, and German and Austrian composers.

In addition to his Shostakovich recordings with the BSO, Mr. Nelsons’ exclusive partnership with Deutsche Grammophon includes two other major projects. With the Gewandhausorchester he continues his critically acclaimed Bruckner symphonic cycle under the Yellow Label, of which four volumes have been released to date. His recordings of Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker were released by Deutsche Grammophon in October 2019.

Mr. Nelsons frequently leads such orchestras as the Berlin Philharmonic, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. As an opera conductor, he has made regular guest appearances at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and the Bayreuth Festival. 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 (2008-2015), Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany (2006-09), and Music Director of the Latvian National Opera (2003-07).


Andris Nelsons, conductor Emily Magee, soprano (Isolde) Emily Magee, soprano (Isolde)
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor (Tristan)
Jonas Kaufmann, tenor (Tristan) View biography in full page >

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 Fritz Wunderlich.

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 Neuenfels.

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 versatility.

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 Guth.

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 Michelle DeYoung, mezzo-soprano
Kostas Smoriginas, baritone (Kurwenal) Kostas Smoriginas, baritone (Kurwenal) Günther Groissböck, bass (Marke) Günther Groissböck, bass (Marke)
Andrew Rees, tenor (Melot)
Andrew Rees, tenor (Melot) View biography in full page >

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) Alex Richardson, tenor (Shepherd)
Alex Richardson, tenor (Shepherd) View biography in full page >

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)
David Kravitz, baritone (Helmsman)
David Kravitz, baritone (Helmsman) View biography in full page >

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)
Program Notes Audio
WAGNER - Tristan und Isolde, Act III

Concert performance, sung in German with English supertitles

(80 min)