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
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.”
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.
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, conductor
Jaap van Zweden is the music director for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.
JAAP VAN ZWEDEN, conductor
Jaap van Zweden has risen rapidly in the past decade to become one of today’s most distinguished conductors. He will become the New York Philharmonic’s next Music Director beginning in the 2018–19 season, after serving as Music Director Designate in 2017–18. Mr. van Zweden has been music director of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra since 2008, holding the Louise W. & Edmund J. Kahn Music Directorship, a role he will continue through 2017–18, after which he becomes conductor laureate. He also continues to serve as music director of the Hong Kong Philharmonic, a post he has held since 2012.
Highlights of his 2016–17 season include return visits to the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, as well as his debut with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra. Jaap van Zweden has also appeared as guest conductor with The Philadelphia Orchestra; Boston and London Symphony Orchestras; Vienna, Berlin, Munich, and Rotterdam philharmonic orchestras; Orchestre National de France; and Chamber Orchestra of Europe. In 2015 he launched the annual SOLUNA International Music & Arts Festival with the Dallas Symphony, and embarked on a four-year project with the Hong Kong Philharmonic to conduct the first-ever performances in Hong Kong of Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, which are being released on Naxos Records.
Jaap van Zweden’s acclaimed recordings include Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring and Petrushka, Britten’s War Requiem, and complete cycles of the Beethoven and Brahms symphonies. He completed a cycle of Bruckner symphonies with the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, recorded Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 with the London Philharmonic (LPO Live), and released Mozart piano concertos with the Philharmonia Orchestra and David Fray (Virgin). His celebrated performances of Wagner’s Lohengrin, Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, and Parsifal (the last of which earned him the Edison award for Best Opera Recording in 2012) are available on CD and DVD. On the Dallas Symphony’s own record label, he has released symphonies by Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mahler, and Dvořák, as well as the World Premiere recording of Stucky’s August 4, 1964.
Born in Amsterdam, Jaap van Zweden was appointed at 19 as the youngest-ever concertmaster of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and began his conducting career 20 years later in 1995. He remains honorary chief conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, where he served as chief conductor, 2005–13, and conductor emeritus of the Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra. He also held the post of chief conductor of the Royal Flanders Orchestra, 2008–11.
Mr. van Zweden was named Musical America’s 2012 Conductor of the Year. In 1997 Jaap van Zweden and his wife, Aaltje, established the Papageno Foundation to support families of children with autism. Papageno has helped music therapists and musicians train to use music as a major tool for working with autistic children. Papageno House, a new home for autistic young adults and children, was opened in Laren, The Netherlands, in August 2015, attended by Her Majesty Queen Maxima.
Photo: Bert Hulselmans
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Where are the 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 generally start promptly at 6pm (except for movie screenings which start at 7:30 or 8pm). The GRFA lobby opens 90 minutes prior to performances and gates open 60 minutes prior to performances. Please be sure to give yourself plenty of time to park and get into the venue; latecomers will be admitted at an appropriate interval, escorted by volunteers from the Bravo! Vail Guild.
How long do concerts last?
Concerts generally last under two hours. Please check performance pages beginning in April for specific running times.
How do I buy tickets?
Tickets, subscriptions, passes,and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
• Phone 877.812.5700 or Fax 970.827.5707
• Mail or in-person Bravo! Vail 2271 N Frontage Rd W Suite C, Vail, CO 81657
• Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ticket delivery methods are Mail, Print at Home, and Will Call. Bravo! Vail accepts all major credit cards (Amex, Visa, MasterCard and Discover), cash, and checks with proper identification. There is a $2 order fee per ticket.
What are the Box Office hours?
Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday through Friday from 9am to 4pm. Starting June 17, hours include Saturday and 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) beginning mid-June. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site during concert intermissions.
Where is the Will Call window?
Will Call tickets may be picked up at the Box Office located to the right of the main entrance lobby. The Box Office is open 11am to concert start time beginning mid-June. Will Call tickets may also be picked up during concert intermissions.
Does Bravo! Vail offer group pricing?
Group sales discounts of up to 15% for groups of 15 or more are available to select concerts. Please call 970.827.4316 for more information, or view the Group Sales page.
What if I buy tickets and cannot attend?
All sales are final. If you are unable to attend your concert, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700 at least two hours prior to the concert to donate the tickets for resale or drop them off at the venue so seats can be filled by another music lover. You will receive a ticket release receipt in the mail. If you wish to give tickets to a friend, you may call the Box Office to leave them in your friend's name at Will Call.
What if I misplace or forget to bring my tickets?
The Box Office can reprint your tickets if needed.
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 Premium Aisle, Premium, Reserved, and Saver sections which reflect all reserved seating zones and prices.
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 in order to sit in this area.
By purchasing an ADA seat, you are stating that you require an ADA seat and if purchased fraudulently, you may be subject to relocation.
If you need further assistance purchasing ADA seating, please call the Box Office at 877.812.5700.
What should I bring to the concert?
If you have lawn seating at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, you should plan to bring a blanket to sit on, sunglasses, and a hat or visor. Lawn chairs with legs under 4 inches tall are allowed. Vail weather can be unpredictable so rain gear and a jacket are recommended. Concessions are available at Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater, but you are welcome to bring food and non-alcoholic sealed drinks. Per Colorado State Law, you may not bring outside alcoholic beverages into any Bravo! Vail venue. For your safety and the safety of all of our guests, backpacks, bags, purses, picnic baskets, and coolers will be checked upon entry to Gerald R. Ford Amphitheater. The following articles are not allowed:
• Alcoholic beverages (picnics and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages are permitted, and concessions with food and alcohol sales are available at the venue)
• Bikes, inline skates, scooters, and skateboards
• Cameras and recording devices
• Lawn chairs with legs higher than 4 inches (lawn chair rentals are $10)
What food and beverages are available for purchase at GRFA?
Popcorn, candy, burgers, sandwiches, and salads are available for purchase at concessions inside GRFA. A full bar is also available to purchase beer, wine, and alcohol. All major credit cards and cash are accepted for payment. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
Food and commercially sealed non-alcoholic beverages may be brought into the GRFA.
What if it rains?
Concerts take place rain or shine. 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 — wear what makes you most comfortable! You can dress formally, or opt for jeans and a t-shirt, or anything in between. Just one word of advice: while the summers in Colorado are perfect, the evenings often bring rain showers and cooler temps. We recommend being prepared for both.
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 are some general rules of concert etiquette?
Above all, we want you to have a beautiful, musically rich concert experience. We ask that all concertgoers help to ensure a mutually enjoyable evening by silencing all devices such as cell phones and watch alarms. Please take time to turn these off prior to performances, so they don’t disrupt musicians and other patrons. Likewise, please limit conversations and other noisy activities during the music, so everyone can enjoy the concert undisturbed. In the pavilion seating, we recommend eating prior to the concert or at intermission.
What else should I know?
Vail is at high elevation so don’t forget to hydrate and use sun protection. Visitors from lower elevations may experience altitude sickness when traveling to and visiting Vail. Be sure to drink water to allow your body to acclimate to the change in oxygen levels.
What if I still have questions?
Please don’t hesitate to contact the Box Office at 877.812.5700 Monday–Friday 9am–4pm MST with any questions you have.