Grammy-award winning violinist Gil Shaham, acclaimed for the “brilliance of his playing, [and] the penetrating power of his interpretations” by the Baltimore Sun, returns to Bravo! Vail with Mozart’s elegant Violin Concerto No. 3. The program opens with a passionate, poetic Tchaikovsky overture, and culminates in Stravinsky’s vibrantly colorful rendition of the classic Russian folktale.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, CONDUCTOR
GIL SHAHAM, SOLOIST
TCHAIKOVSKY: Francesca da Rimini
MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 3
Francesca da Rimini, Fantasy after Dante, Op. 32 (1876)
PETER ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY (1840-1893)
In Dante’s tale Divine Comedy upon which Tchaikovsky based his tone poem of 1876, Francesca was the daughter of Guido da Polenta, the 13th-century Duke of Ravenna, who arranged her marriage to Giovanni Malatesta, son of the Duke of Rimini. Malatesta was a man of nobility and distinction, but he was crippled and older than his bride. It is perhaps understandable then that Francesca fell in love with Malatesta’s younger and handsome brother Paolo, known as “Il Bello”; her love was requited. Discovering the lovers in embrace, Malatesta drew his dagger and rushed at Paolo. Francesca threw herself between the brothers and was killed. “He withdrew the dagger,” reported Boccaccio of the tragedy that occurred about 1288, “and again struck at Paolo and slew him.” Dante assigned Francesca and Paolo to the Second Circle of his Inferno, the region given to the eternal punishment of adulterers. There they joined Cleopatra, Helen of Troy, Paris, Tristan, Isolde and others who, in life, were driven by storms of passion, and in Hell are forever tossed and tormented by an infernal tempest.
Tchaikovsky noted that the work’s first section represents “the gateway to the Inferno (‘Abandon all hope, ye who enter here’). Tortures and agonies of the condemned.” Next, Tchaikovsky continued, “Francesca tells the story of her tragic love for Paolo.” Francesca describes how she and Paolo were innocently reading the tale of Lancelot and Guinevere when their eyes met, “and then,
He who will never be separate from me,
Kissed me on the mouth, trembling all over.
The book and writer both were love’s purveyors.
We read no more in it that day.
The Fantasy’s closing section recalls, said Tchaikovsky, “the turmoil of Hades.”
Violin Concerto No. 3 in G major, K. 216 (1775)
WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART (1756-1791)
Mozart’s five violin concertos were all products of a single year, 1775. At nineteen, he was already a veteran of five years experience as concertmaster in the Salzburg archiepiscopal music establishment, for which his duties included not only playing, but also composing, acting as co-conductor with the keyboard performer (modern conducting did not originate for at least two more decades), and soloing in concertos. It was for this last function that he wrote these concertos. It was with these compositions that Mozart indisputably entered the age of his creative maturity. They are his earliest pieces now regularly heard in the concert hall.
The opening Allegro of the G major Concerto is one of Mozart’s perfectly balanced sonata-concerto forms. The orchestral introduction presents at least four thematic kernels: the bold opening gesture; a mock fanfare; a subsidiary melody with long notes in the woodwinds; and a motive with quick, flashing notes in the violins. The soloist enters with the bold opening gesture, and continues with elaborations upon the themes from the introduction. The development is largely based on the subsidiary theme decorated with some rapid figurations from the soloist. A recitative-like passage links this central section to the recapitulation, which, with the exception of the cadenza, follows the progress of the exposition. The slow movement proceeds in sonata form with an exquisite grace and refined elegance that no composer has ever surpassed. The finale is an effervescent rondo.
IGOR STRAVINSKY (1882-1971)
Of writing Petrushka for Serge Diaghilev’s Ballet Russe to capitalize on the brilliant success of The Firebird in 1910, Stravinsky said, “In composing the music, I had a distinct picture of a puppet, suddenly endowed with life.... Having finished this piece, I struggled for hours to find a title which would express in a word the character of my music and, consequently, the personality of this creature. One day I leaped for joy, I had indeed found my title—Petrushka, the immortal and unhappy hero of every fair in all countries.” Though his progress on the score was interrupted by a serious bout of “nicotine poisoning,” Stravinsky finished the work in time for the scheduled premiere on June 13, 1911. The production was another triumph.
Tableau I. St. Petersburg, the Shrove-Tide Fair. Crowds of people stroll about, entertained by a hurdygurdy man and dancers. The Showman opens the curtains of his little theater to reveal three puppets— Petrushka, the Ballerina, and the Moor. He charms them into life with his flute, and they begin to dance among the public.
Tableau II. Petrushka’s Cell. Petrushka suffers greatly from his awareness of his grotesque appearance. He tries to console himself by falling in love with the Ballerina. She visits him in his cell, but she is frightened by his uncouth antics and flees.
Tableau III. The Moor’s Cell. The Moor and the Ballerina meet in his cell. Their love scene is interrupted by the arrival of Petrushka, who is furiously jealous. The Moor tosses him out.
Tableau IV. The Fair. The festive scene of Tableau I resumes with the appearance of a group of wetnurses, a performing bear, Gypsies, a band of coachmen and several masqueraders. At the theater, Petrushka rushes out from behind the curtain, pursued by the Moor, who strikes his rival down with his sword. Petrushka dies. The Showman assures the bystanders that Petrushka is only a puppet, but he is startled to see Petrushka’s jeering ghost appear on the roof of the little theater.
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
Yannick Nézet-Séguin is the music director for The Philadelphia Orchestra.
GIL SHAHAM, violin
Grammy Award-winner Gil Shaham, also named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles
YANNICK NÉZET-SÉGUIN, conductor
In 2012, Montreal-born Yannick Nézet-Séguin added the Music Directorship of The Philadelphia Orchestra to his roles as Music Director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and long-time Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain (Montreal), where he has served since 2000.
2017/18 will be his tenth and final season with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and will draw to a close with the orchestra’s centenary celebrations in Rotterdam and round Europe. In 2020/2021 he succeeds James Levine as the third Music Director of the Metropolitan Opera, New York and remains in post with The Philadelphia Orchestra until at least summer 2026.
Mr. Nézet-Séguin has worked with many leading European ensembles and enjoys close collaborations with the Berlin Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester and Chamber Orchestra of Europe; between 2008 and 2014 he was also Principal Guest Conductor of London Philharmonic Orchestra. He has appeared three times at the BBC Proms and at many European festivals, among them Edinburgh, Lucerne, Salzburg and Grafenegg. North American summer appearances include New York’s Mostly Mozart Festival, Lanaudiere, Vail and Saratoga.
He made his Salzburg Festival opera debut in 2008 with a new production of Roméo et Juliette, returning in 2010 and 2011 for Don Giovanni. In the 2009/10 season, he made his Metropolitan Opera debut with their new production of Carmen and has returned each season (Otello, Don Carlo, Faust, La Traviata and Rusalka). Next season, he conducts Wagner there for the first time (Der Fliegende Holländer).
He has conducted for Teatro alla Scala (Milano), Royal Opera House (Covent Garden, London), Netherlands Opera (Amsterdam) and Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna). In 2011 began a cycle of seven Mozart operas for Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, all recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon. Le Nozze di Figaro, the fourth of the titles, is scheduled for release later this year.
In addition to Le Nozze di Figaro, recent Deutsche Grammophon releases include the Complete Schumann symphonies and Enführung aus dem Serail with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe; The Rite of Spring and Rachmaninov Variations with Daniil Trifonov and The Philadelphia Orchestra; and Tchaikovsky with the Rotterdam Philharmonic and Lisa Batiashvili. Nézet-Séguin’s discography also includes recordings with the Rotterdam Philharmonic (EMI Classics, BIS and DG); London Philharmonic (LPO label); Bayerischer Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester (BR Klassik) and Orchestre Métropolitain (ATMA Classique).
Mr. Nézet-Séguin studied piano, conducting, composition, and chamber music at the Conservatoire de musique du Québec in Montreal, and choral conducting at the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey before going on to study with renowned conductors, most notably the Italian maestro Carlo Maria Giulini. His honours include Musical America’s Artist of the Year (2016), Royal Philharmonic Society Award; Canada’s National Arts Centre Award, the Prix Denise-Pelletier awarded by the Quebec government, and the Medal of Honour from the National Assembly of Quebec (2015). He holds honorary doctorates from the University of Quebec in Montreal (2011), Curtis Institute in Philadelphia (2014) and Westminster Choir College of Rider University (2015). He has received the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres du Québec (2015). He was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada (2012) and Officer of the Order of Québec (2015).
Photo: Chris Lee
GIL SHAHAM, violin
Gil Shaham is one of the foremost violinists of our time; his flawless technique combined with his inimitable warmth and generosity of spirit has solidified his renown as an American master. The Grammy Award-winner, also named Musical America’s “Instrumentalist of the Year,” is sought after throughout the world for concerto appearances with leading orchestras and conductors, and regularly gives recitals and appears with ensembles on the world’s great concert stages and at the most prestigious festivals.
Long recognized as one of its finest exponents, it is with Korngold’s concerto that Shaham launches the 2015-16 season at the Berlin Philharmonic under Zubin Mehta. Besides reprising John Williams’s concerto with Stéphane Denève and the Boston Symphony, where he previously recorded the concerto under the composer’s direction, he performs Bach with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel; Brahms with the Orchestre de Paris; Tchaikovsky with the Orchestra del Teatro di San Carlo and the New World, Sioux City, and Nashville Symphonies; and Mendelssohn during a Montreal Symphony residency and on a European tour with the Singapore Symphony. Shaham’s long-term exploration of “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” enters an eighth season with performances of Bartók’s Second with the Chicago Symphony and the Philadelphia Orchestra at Carnegie Hall and the Kimmel Center, Barber with the Orchestre National de Lyon and Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, and Prokofiev’s Second on an extensive North American tour with The Knights to celebrate the release of Violin Concertos of the 1930s, Vol. 2. Issued on the violinist’s own Canary Classics label, this second installment pairs his recordings of Prokofiev with The Knights and Bartók with the Stuttgart Radio Symphony. As well as undertaking a tour of European capitals with Sejong and a residency at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Shaham continues touring to London’s Wigmore Hall and key North American venues with accounts of Bach’s complete unaccompanied sonatas and partitas in a special multimedia collaboration with photographer and video artist David Michalek.
Last season, Shaham headlined the Seattle Symphony’s opening-night gala, before joining the San Francisco Symphony and Michael Tilson Thomas for Prokofiev’s Second at Carnegie Hall and other stops on the orchestra’s 20th-anniversary tour. The Prokofiev was one of the works showcased in the “Violin Concertos of the 1930s” project, which also took him to the Philadelphia Orchestra for Berg and to the Berlin Radio Symphony and London Symphony Orchestra for Britten. Besides premiering David Bruce’s new concerto with the San Diego Symphony, the violinist’s orchestral highlights included Bach with the Sydney and Dallas Symphonies and Mendelssohn in Tokyo, Canada, Luxembourg, and with Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. After Canary Classics released his interpretation of Bach’s complete solo sonatas and partitas on disc, Shaham gave unaccompanied Bach recitals at Chicago’s Symphony Center, L.A.’s Disney Hall, and other U.S. venues, in company with David Michalek.
The violinist already has more than two dozen concerto and solo CDs to his name, including bestsellers that have ascended the charts in the U.S. and abroad. These recordings have earned multiple Grammys, a Grand Prix du Disque, Diapason d’Or, and Gramophone Editor’s Choice. His recent recordings are issued on the Canary Classics label, which he founded in 2004. They comprise 1930s Violin Concertos (Vol. 1), recorded live with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony, BBC Symphony, Staatskapelle Dresden, and Sejong; Haydn Violin Concertos and Mendelssohn’s Octet with the Sejong Soloists; Sarasate: Virtuoso Violin Works with Adele Anthony, Akira Eguchi, and the Orquesta Sinfónica de Castilla y León; Elgar’s Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and David Zinman; The Butterfly Lovers and Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with the Singapore Symphony; Tchaikovsky’s Piano Trio in A with Yefim Bronfman and cellist Truls Mork; The Prokofiev Album and Mozart in Paris, both with his sister, pianist Orli Shaham; The Fauré Album with Akira Eguchi and cellist Brinton Smith; and Nigunim: Hebrew Melodies, also recorded with Orli Shaham, which features the world premiere recording of a sonata written for the violinist by Avner Dorman. Dorman’s sonata is one of several new works commissioned for the violinist, who has also premiered and championed pieces by composers including William Bolcom, David Bruce, Julian Milone, and Bright Sheng.
Shaham was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, in 1971. He moved with his parents to Israel, where he began violin studies with Samuel Bernstein of the Rubin Academy of Music at the age of seven, receiving annual scholarships from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. In 1981, while studying with Haim Taub in Jerusalem, he made debuts with the Jerusalem Symphony and the Israel Philharmonic. That same year he began his studies with Dorothy DeLay and Jens Ellermann at Aspen. In 1982, after taking first prize in Israel’s Claremont Competition, he became a scholarship student at Juilliard, where he worked with DeLay and Hyo Kang. He also studied at Columbia University.
Gil Shaham was awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant in 1990, and in 2008 he received the coveted Avery Fisher Prize. In 2012, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by Musical America, which cited the “special kind of humanism” with which his performances are imbued. He plays the 1699 “Countess Polignac” Stradivarius, and lives in New York City with his wife, violinist Adele Anthony, and their three children.
Photo: Luke Ratray
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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. 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.
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.