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Andris Nelsons conducts Dvořák Stabat Mater

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Andris Nelsons leads the BSO, Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and four internationally acclaimed soloists in Antonín Dvořák's Stabat Mater, the first major religious work by the great Czech composer, who was a pious Catholic. Dvořák wrote the piece in 1876-77 in response to the deaths of three of his children, using the traditional Medieval Latin poem on the subject of Mary's sorrow over Christ's death. Dvořák's poignant and dramatic setting expresses a heartfelt, personal experience of grief via the four solo roles, and its universality through the power of the chorus and orchestra. The BSO has only performed this work in its entirety on two previous occasions: under Seiji Ozawa in 1980, and in a single performance in Louisville, Kentucky, led by Arthur Nikisch in 1891.

Featured Performers & Ensembles

Andris Nelsons, conductor
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Andris Nelsons is Music Director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and is Gewandhauskapellmeister of the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig. With these positions, and in leading a pioneering alliance between two such esteemed institutions, Grammy Award-winning Nelsons is firmly underlined as one of the most renowned and innovative conductors on the international scene today.

Nelsons began his tenure as Music Director of the BSO in the 2014/15 season and after one year, his contract was extended through the 2021/22 season. Last season, the BSO and Nelsons embarked on a tour to Japan together for the first time, notably with three performances in Suntory Hall. At the beginning of the 2018/19 seasons, Nelsons toured Europe together with the orchestra for the third time since Nelsons’ Music Directorship, visiting the London Proms, Hamburg, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Lucerne, Paris and Amsterdam. Nelsons gave his debut with the Gewandhausorchester in 2011, followed by regular performances at the Gewandhaus zu Leipzig in subsequent years. In February 2018, Nelsons received the title of Gewandhauskapellmeister in a four-week inaugural festival, also marking the 275th anniversary of the orchestra. Three joint tours for the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and Nelsons have been incorporated into the 2018/2019 season: two European tours, one in October 2018, including stops at London’s prestigious Royal Festival Hall, in Scandinavia and in Nelsons' native city, Riga, and the other in January 2019, to venues including the new Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Philharmonie de Paris and Vienna’s Musikverein. The season’s third tour in May/June 2019 takes the orchestra and Nelsons to Japan and China, where they will appear together for the first time.

The 2018/19 season marks Nelsons’ final season as Artist-in-Residence at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and Nelsons’ first season as Artist-in-Residence at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie. Furthermore, Nelsons continues his regular collaborations with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Wiener Philharmoniker, with whom he lead a tour through China last season in addition to his ongoing guest performances at the Musikverein in Vienna. In 2020, he will conduct the Wiener Philharmoniker’s prestigious New Year’s Day concert, broadcast to millions across the world. Throughout his career, Nelsons has established regular collaborations with Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks and Philharmonia Orchestra. Nelsons has been a regular guest at the Bayreuther Festspiele and at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden.

Andris Nelsons has an exclusive recording relationship with Deutsche Grammophon, which has paved the way for three landmark projects. Nelsons and the BSO partner on recording the complete Shostakovich symphonies, and the opera Lady Macbeth of the Mtensk District. The first and second instalments have both received consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Orchestral performance, the third has been nominated for two Grammy Awards, and the fourth instalment will be released in February 2019. Nelsons and the yellow label also have embarked upon a project with the Gewandhausorchester that sheds new light on the symphonies of Bruckner, and pairs these distinctive symphonic pieces with works by Wagner. The most recent release appeared in April 2018 to widespread critical acclaim. Furthermore, Nelsons will record Beethoven’s complete symphonies with the Wiener Philharmoniker between 2016-2019, and will return to Vienna to perform the complete cycle in 2020, celebrating the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth.

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 2008-2015, Principal Conductor of Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie in Herford, Germany 2006-2009 and Music Director of Latvian National Opera 2003-2007.

 

Andris Nelsons, conductor Rachel Willis-Sørensen
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American soprano Rachel Willis-Sørensen is known for her diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Wagner. A regular guest at the leading opera houses around the world, her voice has been hailed as having a “carmel tone” that is “as lyrical as she is luminous.” 

Her 2018/19 season’s opera engagements include her role debut as Leonora (Il Trovatore) at the Teatro Regio, Hélène (Les Vêpres siciliennes) at the Bayerische Staatsoper, Rosalinda in J. Strauss’s (Die Fledermaus) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and a televised performance with the Staatskapelle Dresden, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at the Metropolitan Opera, and her role debut as the title role in Rusalka at the San Francisco Opera.   

Previous engagements included Marschallin (Der Rosenkavalier) at Glyndebourne, Elsa (Lohengrin) at the Deutsche Oper Berlin and Opernhaus Zurich, Countess (Le nozze di Figraro) at the Metropolitan Opera and the Wiener Staatsoper, Donna Anna (Don Giovanni) at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Wiener Staatsoper, Houston Grand Opera and Semperoper Dresden, Eva (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg) at the San Francisco Opera and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Fiordiligi (Cosi fan tutte) at the LA Opera, Leonora (Fidelio) at the Accademia di Santa Cecillia, and Leonora (Il Trovatore) at the Teatro Regio di Torino.

Equally at home on the concert stage, she has performed Strauss's Four Last Songs multiple times, including notably at HRH Prince Charles's birthday celebration. Other repertoire includes Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and Mahler’s 8th Symphony.

Rachel was a member of the ensemble at the Dresdner Semperoper for three years, where she sang the title role in  (Die Lustige Witwe), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Vitellia (La clemenza di Tito), Elettra (Idomeneo), Diemut (Feuersnot), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus) and Mimi (La bohème).  She won first prize at the 2014 Operalia competition in Los Angeles and at the 2011 Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, and she was a winner of the 2010 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. She holds both Bachelor and Master of Music degrees from Brigham Young University and is an alumna of the Houston Grand Opera Studio.

Rachel Willis-Sørensen
Violeta Urmana, mezzo-soprano Violeta Urmana, mezzo-soprano Dmytro Popov, tenor Dmytro Popov, tenor
Ain Anger, bass
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Hailed by The Guardian as "one of the great Wagner basses of our time" Ain Anger made his Bayreuth Festival debut as Fafner in Das Rheingold and Siegfried under Christian Thielemann before singing Hunding in new Ring Cycles at Bayerische Staatsoper (Kent Nagano), Wiener Staatsoper (Franz Welser-Möst) and Oper Frankfurt (Sebastian Weigle). He made an acclaimed debut at Teatro alla Scala as Daland (Der fliegende Holländer) under Hartmut Haenchen, sang Pogner in San Francisco's production of Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg under Sir Mark Elder and joined Deutsche Oper Berlin at the BBC Proms in Tannhauser under Donald Runnicles.

A mainstay of the Wiener Staatsoper stage since his house debut as Monterone (Rigoletto) in 2004, Ain Anger has now sung more than forty roles there ranging from Dosifei (Khovanshchina), Koenig Heinrich (Lohengrin) and Philippe II (Don Carlos) to Pogner (Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Zaccaria (Nabucco) and Fiesco (Simon Boccanegra).

Ain Anger's current season includes two anticipated roles debuts: Boris Godunov for Deutsche Oper Berlin under Kirill Karabits and Hagen in Tim Albery's production of Götterdämmerung at the Canadian Opera Company under Music Director, Johannes Debus. Elsewhere in the season, Anger joins Christian Thielemann as Fafner (Das Rheingold) at Semperoper Dresden, and Adam Fischer as Hunding (Die Walküre) at Wiener Staatsoper, both subsequently touring to Japan.

Recent highlights include a unanimously praised debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Pimen in Richard Jones' new production of Boris Godunov under Sir Antonio Pappano, and as Cardinal Brogni in Calixto Bieito's new production of La Juive at Bayerische Staatsoper, conducted by Bertrand de Billy. At Washington National Opera, Ain Anger appeared as Daland under Philippe Auguin, and has appeared in productions of both Tannhauser and Lohengrin at Deutsche Oper Berlin.

On the concert platform, Ain Anger has recently performed Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (Olari Elts), Mahler's Symphony No.8 with Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Mariss Jansons), Verdi's Messa da Requiem with Sydney Symphony Orchestra (David Robertson) and Dallas Symphony Orchestra (Jaap van Zweden), as well as Beethoven's Symphony No.9 with Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Riccardo Chailly).

Trained at Tallin's Academy of Music, Ain Anger began his career in his native Estonia before joining the ensembles of Oper Leipzig, Staatsoper Hamburg and subsequently Wiener Staatsoper.

Ain Anger, bass
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Tanglewood Festival Chorus
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Tanglewood Festival Chorus
James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus
John Oliver (1939-2018), Founder

Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Mass led by Andris Nelsons, the British-born James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Ch

The Tanglewood Festival Chorus joins the BSO this season for performances of Mahler’s Symphony No. 2 (October 25-30), Bach’s Christmas Oratorio (November 29-December 1), Puccini’s Suor Angelica (February 21 and 22), and Dvořák’s Stabat Mater (February 28-March 2) all under Andris Nelsons, and Estévez’s Cantata Criolla (April 11-13) with guest conductor Gustavo Dudamel. Also in October, the TFC performed Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna with James Burton, BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, making his subscription-series conducting debut. Originally formed under the joint sponsorship of Boston University and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the all-volunteer Tanglewood Festival Chorus was established in 1970 by its founding conductor, the late John Oliver, who stepped down from his leadership position with the TFC at the end of the 2015 Tanglewood season. In February 2017, following appearances as guest chorus conductor at Symphony Hall and Tanglewood, and having prepared the chorus for that month’s BSO performances of Bach’s B minor Massled by Andris Nelsons, James Burton was named the new Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, also being appointed to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director. Mr. Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky Chair on the Boston Symphony Orchestra roster.

Though first established for performances at the BSO’s summer home, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus was soon playing a major role in the BSO’s subscription season as well as BSO concerts at Carnegie Hall; the ensemble now performs year-round with the Boston Symphony and Boston Pops. It has performed with the BSO on tour in Hong Kong and Japan, and on two European tours, also giving a cappella concerts of its own on those two occasions. The TFC made its debut in April 1970 at Symphony Hall, in a BSO performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Leonard Bernstein conducting. Its first recording with the orchestra, Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust with Seiji Ozawa, received a Grammy nomination for Best Choral Performance of 1975. The TFC has since made dozens of recordings with the BSO and Boston Pops, with Seiji Ozawa, Bernard Haitink, James Levine, Leonard Bernstein, Sir Colin Davis, Keith Lockhart, and John Williams. In August 2011, with John Oliver conducting and soloist Stephanie Blythe, the TFC gave the world premiere of Alan Smith’s An Unknown Sphere for mezzo-soprano and chorus, commissioned by the BSO for the ensemble’s 40th anniversary. Its most recent recordings on BSO Classics, all drawn from live performances, include a disc of a cappella music marking the TFC’s 40th anniversary; Ravel’s complete Daphnis et Chloé (a 2009 Grammy-winner for Best Orchestral Performance), Brahms’s German Requiem, and William Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for chorus and orchestra (a BSO 125th Anniversary Commission). On July 4, 2018, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus joined Keith Lockhart for the “Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular” on the Charles River Esplanade.

Besides their work with the BSO, TFC members have also performed with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic and in a Saito Kinen Festival production of Britten’s Peter Grimes under Seiji Ozawa in Japan. The ensemble had the honor of singing at Sen. Edward Kennedy’s funeral; has performed with the Boston Pops for the Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtics; and can be heard on the soundtracks of Clint Eastwood’s Mystic River, John Sayles’s Silver City, and Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan. TFC members regularly commute from the greater Boston area and beyond to sing with the chorus in Boston and at Tanglewood. For more information about the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and upcoming auditions, please visit www.bso.org/tfc.

 

 

James Burton
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James Burton was appointed Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, and to the newly created position of BSO Choral Director, in February 2017. He made his BSO subscription-series conducting debut in October 2018, leading the Tanglewood Festival Chorus in Maija Einfelde’s Lux aeterna. Born in London, Mr. Burton holds a master’s degree in orchestral conducting from the Peabody Conservatory, where he studied with Frederik Prausnitz and Gustav Meier. He began his training at the Choir of Westminster Abbey, where he became head chorister, and was a choral scholar at St. John’s College, Cambridge. He has conducted concerts with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Hallé, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Royal Northern Sinfonia, BBC Concert Orchestra, and Manchester Camerata. He made his debut with the Boston Pops in December 2017 and returns to the Pops podium this coming December. He is a regular guest of the Orquestra Sinfónica Nacional of Mexico and returns this season to lead performances of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 in the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City. Opera credits include performances at English National Opera, English Touring Opera, Garsington Opera, and the Prague Summer Nights Festival, and he has served on the music staff of the Metropolitan Opera and Opéra de Paris. Mr. Burton’s extensive choral conducting has included guest invitations with professional choirs including the Gabrieli Consort, the Choir of the Enlightenment, Wrocław Philharmonic, and the BBC Singers, with whom he performed in the inaugural season of Dubai’s Opera House in 2017. From 2002 to 2009 he served as choral director at the Hallé Orchestra, where he was music director of the Hallé Choir and founding conductor of the Hallé Youth Choir, winning the Gramophone Choral Award in 2009. He was music director of Schola Cantorum of Oxford from 2002 to 2017. Mr. Burton is well known for his inspirational work with young musicians. In 2017 he was director of the National Youth Choir of Japan; he has recently conducted the Princeton University Glee Club, Yale Schola Cantorum, and University of Kentucky Symphony. In 2018 he founded the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir. Mr. Burton has given conducting master classes at the Royal Academy of Music in London and at the Tanglewood Music Center, and founded a scholarship for young conductors at Oxford. His growing composition portfolio contains works for commissioners including the National Portrait Gallery in London, the 2010 World Equestrian Games, the Choir of St. John’s College, Cambridge, and the Exon Festival, where he was composer-in-residence in 2015. In July 2019, Mr. Burton will conduct the Boston Symphony Children’s Choir and Boston Symphony Orchestra in the world premiere of his The Lost Words, as part of next summer’s gala Tanglewood on Parade concert. His works are published by Edition Peters. As BSO Choral Director and Conductor of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, James Burton occupies the Alan J. and Suzanne W. Dworsky chair, endowed in perpetuity.

 

Program Notes Audio
DVOŘÁK - Stabat Mater (90 min)
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