Jaap van Zweden’s final appearance in Vail as Dallas Symphony’s Music Director is a symphonic tour de force. The Prelude to Wagner’s Lohengrin is almost unbearably beautiful, and Haydn’s Sinfonia provides a delightful palate cleanser, showcasing members of the orchestra in a charming, chamber music-like dialogue. The Rite of Spring, nothing short of thrilling, changed the course of music history with its primitive power, seductive vitality and volcanic impact.
DALLAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, CONDUCTOR
WAGNER: Prelude to Lohengrin
HAYDN: Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, and Cello
STRAVINSKY: The Rite of Spring
WAGNER: PRELUDE TO LOHENGRIN
Prelude to Act I of Lohengrin (1845-1848)
RICHARD WAGNER (1813-1883)
Wagner based his libretto for Lohengrin on two 13th-century German sources—a poem by the knight Wolfram von Eschenbach (who appears as a character in Tannhäuser) and The Knight of the Swan by the Minnesinger (the German counterparts of the French troubadours) Conrad von Würzburg. In the opera, Lohengrin, son of Parsifal and a Knight of the Holy Grail, appears in 10th-century Antwerp to defend Elsa against a false accusation of murder. She is absolved of the charge, and Lohengrin consents to wed her on the condition that she does not inquire about his name or his past. After a magnificent marriage ceremony (source of the familiar Wedding March—“Here Comes the Bride”), she asks the forbidden questions. Lohengrin reveals his name and his sacred mission to find the sacred chalice, lost after it was used at the Last Supper, but leaves Elsa, who expires of her grief. Wagner wrote of the Prelude to Act I, “Out of the clear blue sky there seems to condense a wonderful vision of an angel host bearing in its midst the sacred Grail.”
HAYDN: SINFONIA CONCERTANTE FOR OBOE, BASSOON, VIOLIN, AND CELLO
Sinfonia Concertante for Oboe, Bassoon, Violin, Cello and Orchestra in B-flat major, Op. 84 (1792)
JOSEPH HAYDN (1732-1809)
Haydn’s first visit to England, from January 1791 until the summer of the following year, was one of the happiest times of his life. His health was good, his works were acclaimed, he was entertained royally (literally), and he was the talk of the town. One of the highlights of his second London season was the Sinfonia Concertante for Violin, Cello, Oboe, Bassoon and Orchestra that he unveiled at his concert of March 9, 1792.
The first movement, in a large sonata form, trots along at a merry pace. The full orchestra makes the traditional attempt to present all the thematic material before the soloists begin, but the jolly little band is ready to get on with things and takes over as quickly as decorum allows. Following their entry, the show belongs to the soloists. The second movement is a lovely chamber piece for the four soloists to which the orchestra adds little more than visual presence. Haydn is often credited with a keen sense of humor in his music. One of the most important ways in which he achieved this wit was through quick juxtapositions of contrasting material. In the finale, these contrasts and the humor are so broad that they almost seem to mimic a farcical operatic scene. The orchestra opens the scene with a jolly peasant dance. The lamenting contralto (solo violin in recitative) lumbers forward to ask who has stolen her husband, or whatever, and temporarily halts the merriment. The dancers ignore her for six measures of brisk whirling about, until she erupts with a more impassioned plea. To no avail. So she does the only sensible thing—takes up the intoxicating dance tune and leads the company through a merry festival. Near the end of the finale, she recalls the quest for her lost husband, and again recites her ponderous questions. Her presence of mind still not having deserted her, however, she now knows that dancing is more fun than ululation, and the joyful entertainment continues to the end.
STRAVINSKY: THE RITE OF SPRING
The Rite of Spring (1910-1913)
IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
“What I was trying to convey in The Rite,” said Stravinsky, “was the surge of spring, the magnificent upsurge of nature reborn.” Inspired by childhood memories of the coming of spring to Russia (“which seemed to begin in an hour and was like the whole earth cracking,” he remembered), he worked to devise a libretto that would “present a number of scenes of earthly joy and celestial triumph as understood by the ancient Slavs.” Stravinsky labored feverishly on the score through the winter of 1911-1912, and the premiere was scheduled in Paris for May 1913. That performance created a sensation (and a near-riot), and the Rite’s position in the repertory was soon secured.
The following précis of the stage action is excerpted from The Victor Book of Ballet by Robert Lawrence: “The plot deals with archaic Russian tribes and their worship of the gods of the harvest and fertility. These primitive peoples assemble for their yearly ceremonies, play their traditional games, and finally select a virgin to be sacrificed to the gods of Spring so that the crops and tribes may flourish. There is a prelude in which the composer evokes the primitive past. Insistent, barbaric rhythms are heard, shifting accent with almost every bar. The first rites of Spring are being celebrated, and a group of adolescents appears. Other members of the tribe enter. Then the full round of ceremonies gets under way: a mock abduction, games of the rival tribes, the procession of the Sage, and the thunderous dance of the Earth. The curtain falls, and there is a soft interlude representing the pagan night. Soon the tribal meeting place is seen again. It is dark and the adolescents circle mysteriously in preparation for the choice of the virgin to be sacrificed. Their dance is interrupted, and one of the girls is marked for the tribal offering. The others begin a wild orgy glorifying the Chosen One. Finally the supreme moment of the ceremony arrives: the ordeal of the Chosen One. It is the maiden’s duty to dance until she perishes from exhaustion. Throughout the dance, the music gathers power until it ends with a crash as the Maiden dies.”
Jaap van Zweden is the music director for the New York Philharmonic.
Conductor Jaap van Zweden has become an international presence on three continents over the past decade. The 2018-19 season marks his first as the 26th Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. He continues as Music Director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012. Guest engagements this season include the Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, San Francisco Symphony, and Dallas Symphony Orchestra where he is Conductor Laureate.
He has appeared as guest conductor with many other leading orchestras around the globe, among them the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics, Orchestre national de France, and London Symphony Orchestra.
In his inaugural season as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden conducts repertoire ranging from five World Premieres to symphonic cornerstones. He also presides over three major season pillars that contextualize music through a variety of programs complemented by citywide collaborations. Music of Conscience explores composers’ responses to the social issues of their time, with music by Beethoven, Shostakovich, John Corigliano, and David Lang. New York Stories: Threads of Our City looks at musical expressions of the immigrant experience in New York, with music by Julia Wolfe. The Art of Andriessen spotlights the music of Dutch composer Louis Andriessen. Maestro van Zweden also welcomes New Yorkers to Phil the Hall — special concerts for the community — and to the Annual Free Memorial Day Concert, as well as the Concerts in the Parks.
Jaap van Zweden has made numerous acclaimed recordings, the most recent of which are live New York Philharmonic performances of Beethoven Symphonies Nos. 5 and 7 released on CD and for streaming and download in February 2018; this release launches the Philharmonic’s partnership with Decca Gold, Universal Music Group’s newly established U.S. classical music label. In 2018 with the Hong Kong Philharmonic, he completed a four-year project conducting the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which have been recorded and released on Naxos Records. His highly praised performances of Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger and Parsifal, the latter of which earned Maestro van Zweden the prestigious Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012, are available on CD/DVD.
The Amsterdam-born van Zweden was appointed at age nineteen as the youngest concertmaster ever of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career nearly twenty years later in 1996. He remains Honorary Chief Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, where he served as Chief Conductor from 2005-2013. He also held the Chief Conductor post of the Royal Flanders Orchestra from 2008-11. Van Zweden was named Musical America's 2012 Conductor of the Year in recognition of his critically acclaimed work as Music Director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and as guest conductor with the most prestigious US orchestras.
In 1997, Jaap van Zweden and his wife Aaltje established the Papageno Foundation, the objective being to support families of children with autism. Now, 20 years later, the Foundation has grown into a multi-faceted organization which, through various initiatives and activities, focuses on the development of children and young adults with autism. These initiatives include: providing music therapy to children in their own homes via a national network in The Netherlands of qualified music therapists; opening the Papageno House, in August 2015 with Her Majesty Queen Maxima in attendance, for young adults with autism to live, to work and to participate in the community; creating a research center at the Papageno House for early diagnosis and treatment of autism and for analyzing the effects of music therapy on autism; developing funding opportunities to support autism programs; and most recently launching a new app, TEAMPapageno, which allows children with autism to communicate with each other through music composition.
Photo: Bert Hulselmans
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Where are the orchestra concert performances held?
Bravo! Vail orchestral concerts take place at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater (GRFA) located at 530 S. Frontage Rd E Vail, CO 81657
What time do performances begin?
Concerts start promptly at 6:00PM (except for the movie screening which starts at 7:30PM). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue. Latecomers will be escorted by ushers at an appropriate interval.
Where do I park?
FREE concert parking is available at the Vail Parking Structure (241 South Frontage Road East, Vail) and the Lionshead Parking Structure (395 South Frontage Road West, Vail). A Town of Vail Special Event express bus provides continuous service from both parking structures to the GRFA before and after concerts. Limited $10 parking is available at Ford Park by the Tennis Center (500 South Frontage Rd). Additional $10 parking is available at the Vail Athletic/Soccer Field lot.
WALKING DIRECTIONS FROM THE VAIL VILLAGE PARKING STRUCTURE:
Via Gore Creek Trail: 15-minute scenic walk
1. Exit the parking garage by following the Pedestrian Exit signs towards “Vail Village” / “Golden Peak”
2. Turn left out of the parking garage onto East Meadow Drive and head east
3. At the end of the road turn right on Vail Valley Drive and cross the road
4. Turn left on the walking path before the bridge, following the street signs towards "Ford Park"
5. Continuing east, follow the walking path along Gore Creek until reaching the GRFA
Via Frontage Road: 15-minute walk
1. From the top level of the parking garage, exit onto the South Frontage Road
2. Turn right and follow the sidewalk east along the south side of the frontage road
3. Cross East Meadow Drive and continue east along the sidewalk
4. Turn right after passing The Wren at Vail on the right
5. Continue down the path down to the GRFA
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last 2 hours including intermission. Please call the box office 877.812.5700 for exact running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, passes, and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
1. Online: bravovail.org
2. By phone: 877.812.5700
3. In person: Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
Bravo! Vail accepts American Express, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards, cash, and checks. There is a $2 fee per ticket. Tickets are delivered by mail or email,or may be picked up at the Box Office.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday-Friday from 9AM to 4PM. During the Festival, hours include Saturday & Sunday from 10AM to 4PM. The Bravo! Vail Box Office can be reached at 877.812.5700.
The Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater box office is open from 11AM until concert start time (5PM on days with no concerts) during the Festival. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site at the GRFA before concerts and during intermission.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main GRFA entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11AM to concert start time during the Festival.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Discounts for groups of 15 or more are available for select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
Tickets are non-refundable. You may exchange your tickets ($7 fee per ticket) by calling the Box Office at 877.812.5700 up to 2 days before the concert. You may release your tickets or leave them for a friend at Will Call by calling the Box Office.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
There is no charge to reprint tickets. Please call 877.812.5700 before 3PM on the day of the performance or allow extra time to request new tickets at the Will Call window.
Where are seating options for people with disabilities?
Per the American Disability Act (ADA), the Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater is accessible to individuals with disabilities. ADA seating is available in Section 1 Row L and Section 4 Row O in all reserved seating zones and prices (Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver). A limited number of ADA General Admission Lawn seats are available for sale behind Section 2. You must have a designated ADA lawn seat ticket to sit in this area. By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat. If purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation. If you need assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. The GRFA is an open-air venue. Refunds are not given due to weather unless a concert is canceled in its entirety with no performance rescheduled.
What should I wear?
There is no dress code for concerts. Please be prepared for rain and cooler temperatures.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you will be on the lawn, a blanket, sunglasses, and a hat are recommended. If rain is predicted, please bring appropriate rain gear. Food, commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages, low-profile lawn chairs, and umbrellas are permitted at concerts. All backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry.
The following articles are not allowed at the venue: cameras, audio/video recording devices, standard-height lawn chairs, baby strollers, alcoholic beverages, firearms, pets, smoking, skateboards, bicycles, scooters, and skates.
What food and beverages are available for purchase at the GRFA?
Concessions are offered for purchase inside the venue. Menu items include snacks, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. A full bar is also available. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. If you have a pavilion seat, please eat prior to the concert or at intermission.
Are lawn chairs available to rent?
Low-profile lawn chairs are available at the GRFA to rent for $10. You may also rent a lawn chair with your lawn ticket purchase online or by calling the Bravo! Vail Box Office at 877.812.5700. To reserve a lawn chair in advance, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
What are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Please allow time for parking and seating. Concert attendees must silence all mobile devices prior to performances to not disrupt musicians and other patrons. Please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the performance. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission. Parental supervision is required for all children attending Bravo! Vail concerts.
What else should I know?
Vail’s high elevation requires adequate hydration and sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness.
What if I lose something at the concert?
Check with the GRFA box office for lost items at intermission or call 970.748.8497.
What if I still have questions?
Please contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Mon–Fri 9AM–4PM (and Sat–Sun 10AM-4PM during the Festival).