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All-Strauss Program featuring Renée Fleming

Boston Symphony Orchestra

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The incomparable American soprano Renée Fleming returns to Symphony Hall to join Andris Nelsons and the BSO in the gorgeous and touching final scene from Richard Strauss's "conversation piece for music," the opera Capriccio. The opera's opening Sextet for Strings and luminous Moonlight Music will precede the vocal scene. On the second half is the composer's Also sprach Zarathustra, his tone poem based on the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche's mystical meditation of the same name. The piece opens with a dramatic fanfare (widely known from its use by Stanley Kubrick in the sound track of 2001: A Space Odyssey), perhaps the most famous "sunrise" in music.

Featured Performers

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 Renée Fleming, soprano
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Renée Fleming is one of the most acclaimed singers of our time. In 2013, President Obama awarded her America's highest honor for an individual artist, the National Medal of Arts. Winner of the 2013 Best Classical Vocal Grammy Award, she has sung at momentous occasions around the world, from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony to performances in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games. In 2014 she became the first classical singer ever to perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" at the Super Bowl. In 2012, in another historic first, she sang on the balcony of Buckingham Palace in the Diamond Jubilee Concert for HM Queen Elizabeth II. In 2009, Renée was featured in the televised We Are One: The Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial concert for President Obama. She has performed for the United States Supreme Court, and in 2014 she celebrated the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in a televised concert at the Brandenburg Gate. Another distinction was bestowed in 2008 when, breaking a precedent, Renée became the first woman in the 125-year history of the Metropolitan Opera to solo headline an opening night gala.


On New Year's Eve, Renée appeared in the title role in a new production of The Merry Widow at the Metropolitan Opera. In April, she made her Broadway theater debut in Living on Love, for which she was nominated for a Drama League Award. She has appeared in virtually all of the world's greatest opera houses and concert halls. Renée's recital schedule in recent years has spanned the globe, including Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Buenos Aires, Quito, Bogota, Paris, Geneva, London, Vienna, Hong Kong, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Taipei.


Renée won her fourth Grammy Award for her album Poèmes. Recipient of 14 Grammy nominations to date, she has recorded everything from complete operas and song recitals to an album of indie rock covers, Dark Hope, the jazz album Haunted Heart and the movie soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Known for bringing new audiences to classical music and opera, Renée has sung not only with Luciano Pavarotti and Plácido Domingo but also with Elton John, Sting, Lou Reed, Josh Groban, Joan Baez and even the Muppets.


Her recent opera dvds include Strauss's Arabella and Ariadne auf Naxos, and Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia. Other recent DVD releases include Handel's Rodelinda, Massenet's Thaïs and Rossini's Armida, all three in the Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series, and Verdi's La Traviata, filmed at London's Royal Opera House.


With a multimedia profile rare among contemporary opera singers, Renée has hosted a wide variety of television and radio broadcasts, including the Metropolitan Opera's Live in HD series for movie theaters and television, and Live from Lincoln Center on PBS. She was the subject of an HBO Masterclass documentary, and has been a frequent guest on Prairie Home Companion on National Public Radio. In 2013, she joined with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts to present American Voices, a concert and 3-day festival celebrating the best American singing in all genres. The festival was the subject of a Great Performances documentary on PBS in January.


Her book The Inner Voice was published by Viking Penguin in 2004, and released in paperback by Penguin the following year. An intimate account of her career and creative process, the book is now in its 12th US printing, and it is also published in France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Russia. A Polish edition will be released this autumn.


Renée is a champion of new music and has performed works by a wide range of contemporary composers, including recent compositions by Anders Hillborg, Henri Dutilleux, Brad Mehldau, André Previn, and Wayne Shorter.


In 2010, Renée was named the first-ever creative consultant at Lyric Opera of Chicago. She is currently curating the creation of a world-premiere opera based on the best-seller Bel Canto for Lyric Opera's 2015-2016 season. She is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, the Board of Sing for Hope, and the Artistic Advisory Board of the Polyphony Foundation. Among her awards are the Fulbright Lifetime Achievement Medal, the Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, Germany's Cross of the Order of Merit, Honorary Membership in the Royal Academy of Music, Sweden's Polar Music Prize, and honorary doctorates from Duke University, Harvard University, Carnegie Mellon University, the Eastman School of Music, and The Juilliard School. 


www.reneefleming.com

Renée Fleming, soprano
Program Notes Audio
STRAUSS - Sextet, Moonlight Music, and Closing scene from Capriccio (33 min)
STRAUSS - Also sprach Zarathustra (32 min)
Audio Concert Preview - Full Program Notes
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