The Philharmonie de Paris opens today. It's a huge project, many years in evolution, designed to give Paris a world-class cultural centre, like the Philharmonie in Berlin, or the South Bank in London (as was). The former Cité de la musique will be updated as "Philharmonie 2". The new main auditorium (pictured above), which seats 2400, resembles the design of the Berlin Philharmonie. Like the South Bank, the new centre will cater to different types of music, though mainstream (and moden) classical music will be its base. The resident orchestras are the Orchestre de Paris and Ensemble Intercontemporain. Read more on the Philharmonie de Paris website HERE
Like many big projects, the new Philharminie doesn't come without controversy. Read more HERE and HERE. The South Bank is still controversial after 60 years, At least the new Philharmonie isn't in the heart of town, where it would have had to cater for the kind of non-musical uses which have worn down the South Bank. Meanwhile, Boris Johnson's pet project, the £141 million Olympic complex gets underway with hardly a mention in the British media. So it's going to house branches of the V&A, Sadler's Wells, two university campuses and links with American universities, but is it actually an arts venture? Or is it a new branch line for the Olympics gravy train At a time when the arts in London are seriously threatened by a government that puts politics above the arts, it's pretty cockeyed. There's a sound business case for keeping London as an international arts powerhouse, but some politicians are more interested in votes than business sense.
So let's consider the new Philharmonie de Paris on its musical offerings. The first Gala Opening concert features Dutilleux, Fauré, Ravel, and Thierry Escaich. Paavo Järvi .conducts the Orchestre de Paris with soloists Renaud Capuçon, Sabine Devieilhe, Matthias Goerne and Hélène Grimaud. Arte.tv is screening the concert live, even in the UK.
The second opening gala, on 15th at 2030 (Thursday) features Lang Lang in a programme of Borodin, Tchaikovsky and Berlioz. On arte tv HERE.
On Friday 16tth, William Christie conducts Les Arts Florissants in motets from Mondonville and Charpentier together with parts of Rameau Les Indes galantes. Tito Ceccherini conducts Ensemble Intercontemporain in an interesting programme: Varèse Intégrales, Ligeti Concerto for piano and orchestra, Magnus Lindberg's Related Rocks and two pieces by Yan Maresz HERE
On Saturday 18th, Laurence Equilbey conducts Max Bruch Die Loreley a rarity recently revived, which I've written about HERE (Max Bruich Die Loreley - non-Wagnerian Wagner On the same evening, Lionel Sow conducts Carl Orff Carmina Burana. And on Sunday there's a documentary about the Philharmonie, a "Musical Dream" HERE.
For a complete list of forthcoming concerts, see HERE