Beethoven’s towering and timeless Ninth Symphony, with its musical majesty culminating in the triumphant Ode to Joy, is a fittingly memorable Vail finale for Alan Gilbert’s tenure as Music Director of the New York Philharmonic. Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan, whom Gilbert describes as “a complete artist… passionately committed,” leads off with the magnificent Piano Concerto.
NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC: ALAN GILBERT, CONDUCTOR
WITH INON BARNATAN, SUSANNA PHILLIPS, JENNIFER JOHNSON CANO, JOSEPH KAISER, MORRIS ROBINSON, COLORADO SYMPHONY CHORUS
BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 2
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 9
Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major, Op. 19 (ca. 1778–1801)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
In November 1792, the 22-year-old Ludwig van Beethoven, full of talent and promise, arrived in Vienna from his native Bonn. The occasion of his first Viennese public appearance was a concert on March 29, 1795 at the Burgtheater whose proceeds were to benefit the Widows’ Fund of the Artists’ Society. Beethoven chose for the occasion the Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat major he had been working on for several months and completed just in time for the performance. It proved to be a fine success, and did much to further his dual reputation as performer and composer.
A traditional device—one greatly favored by Mozart—is used to open the Concerto: a forceful fanfare motive immediately balanced by a suave lyrical phrase. These two melodic fragments are spun out at length to produce the orchestral introduction. The piano joins in for a brief transition to the re-presentation of the principal thematic motives. The sweet second theme is sung by the orchestra alone, but the soloist quickly resumes playing to supply commentary on this new melody. The development is based largely on transformations of the principal theme. The recapitulation proceeds apace and includes an extended cadenza. The touching Adagio is less an exercise in rigorous, abstract form than a lengthy song of rich texture and operatic sentiment. The finale is a rondo based on a bounding theme announced by the soloist.
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, “Choral” (1822-1824)
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Friedrich Schiller published his poem An die Freude (“Ode to Joy”) in 1785 as a tribute to his friend Christian Gottfried Körner. By 1790, when he was twenty, Beethoven knew the poem, and as early as 1793 he considered making a musical setting of it. Schiller’s poem appeared in his notes in 1798, but the earliest musical ideas for its setting are found among the sketches for the Seventh and Eighth Symphonies, composed simultaneously in 1811-1812. Though those sketches are unrelated to the finished Ode to Joy theme—that went through more than 200 revisions (!) before Beethoven was satisfied with it—they do show the composer’s continuing interest in the text and the gestating idea of setting it for chorus and orchestra.
The first evidence of the musical material that was to figure in the finished Ninth Symphony appeared in 1815, when a sketch for the Scherzo emerged among Beethoven’s notes. He took up his draft again in 1817, and by the following year much of the Scherzo was sketched. It was also in 1818 that he considered including a choral movement, but as the slow movement rather than as the finale. With much still unsettled, Beethoven was forced to lay aside this vague symphonic scheme in 1818 because of ill health, the distressing court battle to secure custody of his nephew, and composition of the monumental Missa Solemnis. He was not able to resume work on the piece until the end of 1822. The 1822 sketches show considerable progress on the Symphony’s first movement, little on the Scherzo, and some tentative ideas for a choral finale based on Schiller’s poem. Most of the remainder of the opening movement was sketched during the early months of 1823. The Scherzo was finished in short score by August, eight years after Beethoven first conceived its thematic material, and the third movement was sketched by October. With the first three movements nearing completion, Beethoven had one major obstacle to overcome before he could complete the Symphony: how to join together the instrumental and vocal movements. He decided that a recitative — the technique that had been used for generations to bridge from one operatic number to the next — would work perfectly, especially if the recitative included fragments of themes from earlier movements to unify the structure. Beethoven still had much work to do but he at last envisioned his goal, and the composition was completed by the end of the year. When the final scoring was finished in February 1824, it had been nearly 35 years since Beethoven first considered setting Schiller’s poem.
The Symphony begins with the interval of a barren open fifth, suggesting some awe-inspiring cosmic void. Thematic fragments sparkle and whirl into place to form the riveting main theme. A group of lyrical subordinate ideas follows. The open fifth intervals return to begin the highly concentrated development section. A complete recapitulation and an ominous coda arising from the depths of the orchestra bring this eloquent movement to a close. The form of the second movement is a combination of scherzo, fugue and sonata that exudes a lusty physical exuberance and a leaping energy. The Adagio, one of the most sublime pieces that Beethoven, or anyone else, ever wrote, is a variation on two themes, almost like two separate kinds of music that alternate.
The majestic finale is divided into two large parts: the first instrumental, the second with chorus and soloists. A shrieking dissonance introduces the instrumental recitative for cellos and basses that joins together brief thematic reminiscences from the three preceding movements. The wondrous Ode to Joy theme appears unadorned in the low strings, and is the subject of a set of increasingly powerful variations. The shrieking dissonance is again hurled forth, but this time the ensuing recitative is given voice and words by the baritone soloist. “Oh, friends,” he sings, “no more of these sad tones! Rather let us raise our voices together, and joyful be our song.” The song is the Ode to Joy, presented with transcendent jubilation by the chorus. Many sections based on the theme of the Ode follow, some martial, some fugal, all radiant with the glory of Beethoven’s vision.
ALAN GILBERT, conductor
Alan Gilbert is the music director for the New York Philharmonic.
INON BARNATAN, piano
“One of the most admired pianists of his generation” (New York Times)
SUSANNA PHILLIPS, soprano
Recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, Susanna Phillips continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists.
JENNIFER JOHNSON CANO, mezzo-soprano
JOSEPH KAISER, tenor
Joseph Kaiser is recognized by audiences for his beauty of tone, intelligence of programming, and innate sense of style and elegance.
MORRIS ROBINSON, bass
"Robinson's bass is so deep and assured it's as if a vibration goes through the audience every time he opens his mount." - The Globe and Mail
DUAIN WOLFE, Colorado Symphony Chorus Director
Duain Wolfe is the Grammy Award winning founder-director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus.
ALAN GILBERT, conductor
New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert began his tenure in September 2009. He simultaneously maintains a major international presence, making guest appearances with orchestras including the Berlin Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus, Royal Concertgebouw, London Symphony, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston Symphony, Munich Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France. Gilbert is Conductor Laureate of the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and former Principal Guest Conductor of the NDR Symphony Orchestra Hamburg. He has led productions for the Metropolitan Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Zurich Opera, Royal Swedish Opera, and Santa Fe Opera, where he served as the first appointed Music Director.
In seven years at the New York Philharmonic, Gilbert has succeeded in transforming the 175-year-old institution into a leader on the cultural landscape. He has led staged productions of Ligeti's Le Grand Macabre, Janácek's Cunning Little Vixen, Stravinsky's Petrushka, and Honegger's Joan of Arc at the Stake to great acclaim, and encouraged the development of two series devoted to contemporary music: CONTACT!, introduced in 2009, and the NY PHIL BIENNIAL, an exploration of today's music by a wide range of contemporary and modern composers, which was inaugurated in 2014 and returned in 2016.
Gilbert is Director of Conducting and Orchestral Studies and holds the William Schuman Chair in Musical Studies at the Juilliard School. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2008 conducting John Adams's Doctor Atomic, the DVD of which received a Grammy Award. He was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2014, honored with the Foreign Policy Association Medal and named an Officier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government in 2015, and nominated for Emmy Awards for Outstanding Music Direction of two New York Philharmonic productions: Sweeney Todd and a 100th-birthday gala tribute to Frank Sinatra, broadcast on PBS's Live from Lincoln Center in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
Photo: David Finlayson
INON BARNATAN, piano
Celebrated for his poetic sensibility, probing intellect, and consummate artistry, Israeli pianist Inon Barnatan is embarking on his third and final season as the inaugural Artist-in-Association of the New York Philharmonic, appearing as soloist in subscription concerts, taking part in regular chamber performances, and acting as ambassador for the orchestra.
This summer Barnatan makes a host of high-profile festival appearances, including the Seattle, Santa Fe, Delft and Aspen Festivals, all capped by a solo recital marking his Mostly Mozart debut. In the 2016-17 season he debuts with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of New York Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Jesús López-Cobos, the Baltimore Symphony under Vasily Petrenko, and the Seattle Symphony under Ludovic Morlot.
He returns to the New York Philharmonic under Manfred Honeck, and embarks on three tours: of the U.S. with the Academy of St Martin in the Fields, of Europe with his frequent recital partner Alisa Weilerstein, and of the U.S. again performing a trio program with Weilerstein and clarinetist Anthony McGill, including a concert at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Other highlights include concerto performances in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia, the complete Beethoven concerto cycle in Marseille, and several concerts at London’s Wigmore Hall.
A recipient of both the Avery Fisher Career Grant and Lincoln Center’s Martin E. Segal Award, Barnatan has performed extensively with many of the world’s foremost orchestras, including those of Cleveland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and San Francisco; Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin; the Royal Stockholm Symphony Orchestra; and the Gulbenkian Orchestra of Lisbon. He has worked with such distinguished conductors as Gustavo Dudamel, Michael Tilson Thomas, James Gaffigan, Susanna Mälkki, Matthias Pintscher, Thomas Søndergård, David Robertson, Edo de Waart, Pinchas Zukerman,and Jaap van Zweden. Passionate about contemporary music, in recent seasons the pianist has premiered new pieces composed for him by Matthias Pintscher, Sebastian Currier and Avner Dorman.
“A born Schubertian” (Gramophone), Barnatan’s critically acclaimed discography includes Avie and Bridge recordings of the Austrian composer’s solo piano works, as well as Darknesse Visible, which scored a coveted place on the New York Times’“Best of 2012” list. Last October the pianist released Rachmaninov & Chopin: Cello Sonatason Decca Classics with Weilerstein, which earned rave reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1979, Inon Barnatan started playing the piano at the age of three after his parents discovered he had perfect pitch, and he made his orchestral debut at eleven. His studies connect him to some of the 20th century’s most illustrious pianists and teachers: he studied with Professor Victor Derevianko, who himself studied with the Russian master Heinrich Neuhaus, and in 1997 he moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Maria Curcio – a student of the legendary Artur Schnabel – and with Christopher Elton. Leon Fleisher has also been an influential teacher and mentor. In 2006 Barnatan moved to New York City, where he currently resides in a converted warehouse in Harlem.
Photo: Marco Borggreve
SUSANNA PHILLIPS, soprano
Alabama-born soprano Susanna Phillips, recipient of The Metropolitan Opera’s 2010 Beverly Sills Artist Award, continues to establish herself as one of today’s most sought-after singing actors and recitalists. The 2016-17 season will see Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera for a ninth consecutive season starring as Clémence in the Met premiere of Kaija Saariaho’s L’amour de Loin conducted by Susanna Mälkki, as well as a return of her acclaimed Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème. In March 2017, Ms. Phillips will make her Zurich Opera debut as Donna Anna in Don Giovanni. She also appears as Cleopatra in Handel’s Giulio Cesare with Boston Baroque and Martin Pearlman.
2016-2017 orchestra engagements include a return to the San Francisco Symphony with Michael Tilson Thomas conducting a program of American songs, Mozart’s “Exsultate Jubilate” and his Mass in C Minor with Jane Glover and the Music of the Baroque, the Britten War Requiem with Kent Tritle and the Oratorio Society of New York, as well as Euridice in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice with Robert Spano leading the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Phillips will also perform recitals at the Celebrity Series of Boston, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, and her popular dual recital program with Eric Owens at Carnegie Hall and the Washington Performing Arts.
Last season saw Ms. Phillips return to the Metropolitan Opera starring as Rosalinde in the Jeremy Sams production of Die Fledermaus conducted for the first time by music director James Levine, as well as a reprise of her house debut role of Musetta in La Bohème. Additional engagements included a return to the stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago as Juliette in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet under the baton of Emmanuel Villaume. Additional engagements included Knoxville: Summer of 1915 with Michael Tilson Thomas leading the San Francisco Symphony, the Filas Requiem with Kent Tritle leading the Oratorio Society of New York, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony with the St. Louis Symphony and David Robertson, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with David Robertson leading the Sydney Symphony, as well as a recital at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with Brian Zeger.
Highlights of Ms. Phillips’ previous opera seasons include numerous additional Metropolitan Opera appearances as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte in what the New York Times called a “breakthrough night,” Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Pamina in Julie Taymor’s production of The Magic Flute, Musetta in La Bohème (both in New York and on tour in Japan), Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, and as a featured artist in the Met’s Summer Recital Series in both Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park. She also appeared at Carnegie Hall for a special concert performance as Stella in Previn’s A Streetcar Named Desire opposite Reneé Fleming – a role she went on to perform, to rave reviews, at Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes with the St. Louis Symphony. She made her Santa Fe Opera debut as Pamina, and subsequently performed a quartet of other Mozart roles with the company as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Arminda in La Finta Giardiniera, and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni. As a member of the Ryan Opera Center, Phillps sang the female leads in Roméo et Juliette and Die Fledermaus. Additional roles include Elmira in Reinhard Keiser’s The Fortunes of King Croesus, and the title roles in Lucia di Lammermoor and Agrippina, as well as appearances with the Oper Frankfurt, Dallas Opera, Minnesota Opera, Fort Worth Opera Festival, Boston Lyric Opera and Opera Birmingham.
Highly in demand by the world’s most prestigious orchestras, Ms. Phillips has appeared with the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic under Alan Gilbert, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Oratorio Society of New York, Santa Fe Symphony, Santa Barbara Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Gulbenkian Orchestra, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, and Santa Fe Concert Association.
A fervent chamber music collaborator, Ms. Phillips recently teamed with bass-baritone Eric Owens for a recital of all Schubert which they have taken on tour in Chicago with members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, at the Gilmore Festival, and Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. Additional recital engagements included chamber music concerts with Paul Neubauer and Anne Marie McDermott, an appearance at the Parlance Chamber Music Series with Warren Jones, the 2014 Chicago Collaborative Works Festival, the Emerson String Quartet in Thomasville, Georgia with Warren Jones and colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera, and at Twickenham Fest, a chamber music festival she co-founded in her native Huntsville, Alabama. The soprano also made her solo recital debut at Carnegie’s Weill Recital Hall with pianist Myra Huang.
Other recent concert and oratorio engagements include Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Mahler’s Fourth Symphony, Mozart’s Coronation Mass, the Fauré and Mozart Requiems, Carmina Burana, and Handel’s Messiah. She made her Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson, Rob Fisher, and the New York Pops. Following her Baltimore Symphony Orchestra debut under Marin Alsop, the Baltimore Sun proclaimed: “She’s the real deal.”
In August 2011, Ms. Phillips was featured at the opening night of the Mostly Mozart Festival, which aired live on Live From Lincoln Center on PBS. The same year saw the release of Paysages, her first solo album on Bridge Records, which was hailed as “sumptuous and elegantly sung” (San Francisco Chronicle). The following year saw her European debut as Pamina in Die Zauberflöte at the Gran Teatro del Liceu Barcelona.
As resident artist at the 2010 and 2011 Marlboro Music Festivals, she was part of Marilyn Horne Foundation Gala at Carnegie Hall, made her New York solo recital debut at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, and appeared at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC under the auspices of the Vocal Arts Society.
In 2005, Ms. Phillips won four of the world’s leading vocal competitions: Operalia (both First Place and the Audience Prize), the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, the MacAllister Awards, and the George London Foundation Awards Competition. She has also claimed the top honor at the Marilyn Horne Foundation Competition, and has won first prizes from the American Opera Society Competition and the Musicians Club of Women in Chicago. Ms. Phillips has received grants from the Santa Fe Opera and the Sullivan Foundation, and is a graduate of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s Ryan Opera Center. She holds both a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degree from The Juilliard School and continues collaboration with her teacher Cynthia Hoffmann.
A native of Huntsville, Alabama, over 400 people traveled from her hometown to New York City in December 2008 for Ms. Phillips’ Metropolitan Opera debut in La Bohème. She returns frequently to her native state for recitals and orchestral appearances.
Photo: Zachary Maxwell
JENNIFER JOHNSON CANO, mezzo-soprano
JOSEPH KAISER, tenor
Joseph Kaiser is recognized by audiences for his beauty of tone, intelligence of programming, and innate sense of style and elegance. He is internationally acclaimed as one of the most gifted artists of his generation and enjoys success in opera, oratorio, and concert throughout North America and Europe.
2015-16 features four role debuts for the Canadian tenor: the title part of Peter Grimes in a new production by Christof Loy for Theater an der Wien conducted by Cornelius Meister; the title part of Oedipus Rex at the Festival d’Aix en Provence in a new production by Peter Sellars conducted by Esa- Pekka Salonen; the title role of Werther with Boston Lyric Opera; and Don José in a concert presentation of Carmen with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano. Return engagements are highlighted in performances of Arabella at the Bayerische Staatsoper and Alceste at the Wiener Staatsoper. Joseph Kaiser also appears with Charles Dutoit in performances of Berlioz Te Deum for an Australian debut with the Sydney Symphony.
During the past season, a vibrant calendar served the tenor a debut at the Opernhaus Zürich as Michel in a new production of Martinů’s Juliette directed by Artistic Director Andreas Homoki and led by General Music Director Fabio Luisi, a new production of Arabella at the Bayerische Staatsoper conducted by frequent collaborator Philippe Jordan, and Silent Night at Opéra de Montréal conducted by Michael Christie. On the concert stage, Mr. Kaiser sang Mendelssohn’s Die erste Walpurgisnacht with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and Principal Conductor Pablo Heras-Casado at Carnegie Hall and Mozart’s Requiem with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra conducted by Music Director Jaap Van Zweden.
Past highlights include performances at the Opéra National de Paris as Lensky in Eugene Onegin in a Willy Decker production conducted by Vasily Petrenko, as Flamand in Strauss’s Capriccio in a production by Robert Carsen and conducted by Music Director Philippe Jordan, and as Matteo in Strauss’s Arabella opposite Renée Fleming; at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as Narraboth in a new Sir David McVicar production of Salome under Philippe Jordan’s baton (commercially available on DVD) and a return as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte directed by Sir David McVicar and conducted by Sir Colin Davis; at the Wiener Staatsoper in Christof Loy’s Salome under Philippe Jordan’s baton (commercially available on DVD) and a return as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte directed by Sir David McVicar and conducted by Sir Colin Davis; at the Wiener Staatsoper in Christof Loy’s production of Gluck’s Alceste; as well as at the Bayerische Staatsoper as Steva Burja in Jenůfa in the acclaimed Barbara Frey production conducted by Tomáš Hanus and as Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni conducted by Constantinos Carydis.
Mr. Kaiser has bowed at the Metropolitan Opera in a diverse array of leading parts including the title role of Roméo et Juliette – opposite Anna Netrebko - under the baton of Plácido Domingo, Tamino in Die Zauberflöte conducted by Kirill Petrenko, and as Narraboth in Salome – opposite Karita Mattila – conducted by Patrick Summers and seen internationally on The Met: Live in HD experience. Additional performances include Capriccio – opposite Renée Fleming - in a production by John Cox under the baton of Sir Andrew Davis, Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream conducted by James Conlon, and Stephen Wadsworth’s masterful production of Rodelinda with Harry Bicket conducting.
Further North American performances include Walter in Weinberg’s The Passenger at Houston Grand Opera and Lincoln Center Festival conducted by Patrick Summers; Jonas in Saariaho’s Adriana Mater at the Santa Fe Opera in a production by Peter Sellars; and Pylades in Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride at the Canadian Opera Company in a production by Robert Carsen conducted by Pablo Heras-Casado.
Additional opera credits of the artist’s dynamic diary include the title role of Messager’s Fortunio in a new production by Denis Podalydès at the Opéra Comique under the baton of Louis Langrée, Gluck’s Alceste at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence in a new production by Christoph Loy conducted by Ivor Bolton, and new productions at the Salzburg Festival of Händel’s Theodora directed by Christoph Loy and conducted by Ivor Bolton as well as of Eugene Onegin directed by Andrea Breth and conducted by Daniel Barenboim (both Salzburg productions are commercially available on DVD).
Concert highlights include performances of Beethoven’s Fidelio – singing the role of Florestan – with Jérémie Rhorer conducting Le Cercle de l'Harmonie on a European tour, Mozart’s Requiem with Ivor Bolton and the Wiener Symphoniker, Schumann’s Das Paradies und die Peri with Sir Simon Rattle and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Berlioz’s Requiem under Marek Janowski with the combined forces of the Tonhalle- Orchester Zürich and the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande as well as with Donald Runnicles both with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Berliner Philharmoniker, Berlioz’s Te Deum with Charles Dutoit and the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Bruckner’s Te Deum with Daniel Barenboim and the Orchestra and Chorus of Teatro alla Scala, and Bruckner’s Mass No. 3 in f minor conducted by Artistic Director Marek Janowski with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. The tenor has performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink and the Boston 3 in f minor conducted by Artistic Director Marek Janowski with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin. The tenor has performed Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with Conductor Emeritus Bernard Haitink and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, with Music Director Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic, Music Director David Robertson and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, and with Matthew Halls leading the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
Photo: Dario Acosta
MORRIS ROBINSON, bass
Morris Robinson is considered one the most interesting and sought after basses performing today.
Mr. Robinson regularly appears at the Metropolitan Opera, where he is a graduate of the Lindemann Young Artist Program. He his debut there in a production of Fidelio and has since appeared as Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte (both in the original production and in the children's English version), Ferrando in Il Trovatore, the King in Aida, and in roles in Nabucco, Tannhäuser, and the new productions of Les Troyens and Salome. He has also appeared at the San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dallas Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Seattle Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theater of St. Louis, Vancouver Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Opera Australia, and the Aix-en-Provence Festival. His many roles include Sarastro in Die Zauberflöte, Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Ramfis in Aida, Zaccaria in Nabucco, Sparafucile in Rigoletto, Commendatore in Don Giovanni, Grand Inquisitor in Don Carlos, Timur in Turandot, the Bonze in Madama Butterfly, Padre Guardiano in La Forza del Destino, Ferrando in Il Trovatore, and Fasolt in Das Rheingold.
Also a prolific concert singer, Mr. Robinson recently made his debut at the BBC Proms in a performance of the Verdi Requiem with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. Other recent concert engagements have included appearances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (where he was the 2015-2016 Artist in Residence), Baltimore Symphony, National Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony, L'Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal, Met Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Symphony Orchestra, São Paulo Symphony Orchestra, New England String Ensemble, and at the Ravinia, Mostly Mozart, Tanglewood, Cincinnati May, Verbier, and Aspen Music Festivals. He also appeared in Carnegie Hall as part of Jessye Norman's HONOR! Festival. In recital he has been presented by Spivey Hall in Atlanta, the Savannah Music Festival, the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Mr. Robinson's first album, Going Home, was released on the Decca label. He also appears as Joe in the newly released DVD of the San Francisco Opera production of Show Boat, and in the DVDs of the Metropolitan Opera's production of Salome and the Aix-en-Provence Festival's production of Mozart's Zaide.
This season, Mr. Robinson makes his debuts at Teatro alla Scala in the title role of Porgy and Bess and at the New York Philharmonic in performances of Das Rheingold both conducted by Alan Gilbert, and returns to the Metropolitan Opera as Sarastro, the Los Angeles Opera as Osmin, and Opera Philadelphia as Timur, and to the Boston Symphony in performances of the Mozart Requiem with Andris Nelsons.
An Atlanta native, Mr. Robinson is a graduate of The Citadel and received his musical training from the Boston University Opera Institute.
Photo: Ron Cadiz
DUAIN WOLFE, Colorado Symphony Chorus Director
Now in his twenty-second season as director of the Chicago Symphony Chorus, Duain Wolfe has prepared over a hundred programs in Orchestra Hall and at the Ravinia Festival, as well as many works for commercial recordings. Wolfe also directs choral works at the Aspen Music Festival and the National Arts Centre in Ottawa, and he is founder-director of the Colorado Symphony Chorus, a position he maintains along with his Chicago Symphony Chorus post.
Winner of two Grammy awards in 2010 (Best Choral Performance, Best Classical Album) for the Chicago Symphony’s recording of Verdi’s Requiem with Riccardo Muti, in 2012, Wolfe received the Michael Korn Founders Award from Chorus America in recognition of his contributions to the professional choral arts. He also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for the 1998 Grammy Award–winning recording of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg with Sir Georg Solti, and for the CSO’s release of Verdi’s Otello conducted by Riccardo Muti.
Well known for his work with children, in 1999, Wolfe retired from the Colorado Children’s Chorale, an organization that he founded and conducted for twenty-five years. Also active as an opera conductor, he served as conductor of the Central City Opera Festival for twenty years.
Among the many performances for which Wolfe has prepared the Chorus are Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Cherubini’s Requiem, Brahms’s A German Requiem, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Verdi’s Requiem and Otello—all conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti. World premieres include John Harbison’s Four Psalms and Bernard Rands’s apókryphos, both commissioned by the CSO.
Wolfe also prepared the Chicago Symphony Chorus for its Carnegie Hall performances of Verdi’s Otello and Berlioz’s Lélio in 2011 under Riccardo Muti, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Staatskapelle Berlin in 2000, with Daniel Barenboim, and for performances of Schoenberg’s Moses und Aron (led by Pierre Boulez) and Brahms’s A German Requiem (led by Daniel Barenboim) at the Berlin Festtage.
Wolfe’s activities have earned him an honorary doctorate and numerous awards, including the Bonfils Stanton Award in the Arts and Humanities and the Colorado Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts.
Photo: Carol Friedman
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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.
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Concerts generally last under two hours. Please check performance pages beginning in April for specific running times.
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Tickets, subscriptions, passes,and gift certificates may be ordered in the following ways:
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Bravo! Vail Box Office hours are Monday through 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) beginning mid-June. Tickets for upcoming performances may be purchased on-site during concert intermissions.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.