Thursday, 18 April 2013

EXCEPTIONAL BBC Proms 2013 season !

No secret as to what the biggest draw of the 2013 Proms would be - Wagner, almost the complete works.  Daniel Barenboim, Proms favourite and great Wagner conductor, will lead the Staatskapelle Berlin through the complete Der Ring des Nibelungen.  The ones to really go for will be Die Walküre on 23/7 and Götterdämmerung on 28/7 because of the casts.  Bryn Terfel, Nina Stemme, Eric Halfvarson, Simon O'Neill, Anja Kempe,  Ekaterina Gruberova, Ian Storey, Mikhail Petrenko, Waltraud Meier (Waltraute) and many others. If this Ring isn't enough, there's Tristan und Isolde on 27/7 with Peter Seiffert, Kwangchul Youn, and Violetta Urmana. Semyon Bychov conducts the BBCSO,  BBC Singers and chorus. There's a Tannhäuser, too, on 4/8 and of course Das Rheingold and Siegfried though not quite in this league. Mark Ellder conducts the Hallé in Parsifal on 25/8 (Prom 47) with  Lars Cleveman, Katarina Dalayman, Robert Holl and Iain Paterson.

Equally significant will be two very special Proms, Prom 4 on 14/7 (Bastille Day) and Prom 12 on 20/7.  At the first, Stravinsky Le Sacre du Printemps will be framed by by ballet music from operas by Lully, Rameau, Délibes, and  Massenet . This will be a significant Prom because the conductor François-Xavier Roth is a specialist in this repertoire, and brings with him the ensemble Les Siècles. For some reason, it's fashionable these days to discount the central importance of dance in French music. But the special connection goes back to the baroque, and helps define the character of French form. As Diaghilev was so well aware, Paris was where reputations were made.

The second special Prom will be "Viva Verdi!", where Antonio Pappano conducts his other band, The Academy of St Cecilia in Rome is in a programme of Verdi which focuses on the composer's non-operatic works, including the Four Sacred Pieces and the orchestral version of Verdi's String quartet. Next season, The Royal Opera House will be doing Verdi's Les vêpres siciliennes. This will be much more than "just another Verdi opera". This is the version with the glorious Four Seasons ballet. This will be spectacular, because it's a joint venture between ROH, the Royal Ballet and the Danish Ballet (the Kasper Holten connection). This Prom has significance beyond itself. On 5/9 (Prom 72) Joseph Calleja sings Verdi arias with the Orchestra sinfonica di Milano Guiseppe Verdi, who'll also be playing extracts of Verdi's orchestral music with Tchaikovsky's Manfred: an interesting juxtaposition. 

In comparison The First Night of the Proms seems almost an anti-climax, though of course it isn't. It's just overwhelmed by what comes afterwards. At Prom 1, Sakari Oramo will conduct Vaughan Williams A Sea Symphony, a new work by Julian Anderson and two contrasting variations on Paganini (Rachmaninoff and Lutoslawski). Plenty of top level Proms ahead, major repertoire and major performances.

Szymanowski's Symphony No 3 "Song of the Night" on 18/7 with Thomas Søndergård, the fourth performance of the piece in just over a year (read more here). John Eliot Gardiner  brings together Bach's Easter and Ascension Oratoria on 9th August (closer to the Catholic Feast of the Assumption) featuring the Monteverdi Choir and the English Baroque Soloists. Andrew Davis conducts Tippett's The Midsummer Marriage with a very strong cast. More Tippett on 20/8, with Ian Bostridge singing Britten's Les Illuminations.

Glyndebourne's Britten Billy Budd comes to the Proms on 27/8 (Prom 60) with Jacques Imbrailo who is the most outstanding Billy ever, so transcendently perfect in the role that he eclipses Vere (Mark Padmore) and Claggart (Brindley Sherratt). Towards the end of the season, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra does an all Bach programme conducted by Lorin Maazel. Perhaps the Last Night of the Proms will not be eclipsed this year. In any case the Last Night programme looks livelier than usual Joyce DiDonato headlines. She makes anything fun!  What a great party this will be with the Overture from Die Meistersinger, Verdi's "Va, Pensiero" and Harold Arlen's Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a song that was meant for the Last Night if ever there was.

This is the sort of fare our BBC licence fee gives us. Excellent value for money, much better for Britain's image in the world than bombs and guns.  For full events listing, please see HERE. I also have a permanent link on the top of the list at right. Please come back and visit - I usually preview and review about 40 Proms each year.

No comments: