In December, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra will embark on its first international tour in over two years, performing three concerts in Barcelona, Ljubljana and Paris. Under the baton of Chief Conductor Edward Gardner, whose relationship with the orchestra has just been renewed until July 2024, the orchestra will open the tour on Friday 3 December performing for the first time in Barcelona, at the Palau de la Música Catalana, followed by welcomed returns to Ljubljana’s Cankarjev Dom on Sunday 5 December and La Seine Musicale in Paris on Tuesday 7 December.
The repertoire for the tour will showcase the orchestra’s reputation for stylistic diversity and rich colour palette and feature Ligeti’s Melodien, Wagner’s overture to Tannhäuser, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No.4, and Strauss’s Vier letzte Lieder with acclaimed Swedish soprano Malin Byström as the soloist. Richard Strauss's exquisite last four songs are a masterpiece and a moving farewell from an aging composer: Joseph von Eichendorff's poem "Im Abendrot" inspired Strauss to a cycle of five songs, four of which were completed. György Ligeti's Melodien, which will open the performances in Barcelona and Ljubljana, were composed on the occasion of the five-hundredth anniversary of the German painter Albrecht Dürer in 1971; Paris audiences will hear the orchestra in the overture to Wagner’s Tannhäuser instead. The concert ends with Tchaikovsky's dramatic and fateful Fourth Symphony, one of his most popular works.
Lyric-dramatic soprano Malin Byström, who will join the orchestra on all dates, performs regularly in concert as well as at the world’s top opera theatres, from the Metropolitan Opera to the Wiener Staatsoper and Teatro Real in Madrid and the Aix-en-Provence festival. She received the Female Singer of the Year prize at the International Opera Awards 2018 for her performances of the title role in Strauss’s opera Salome.
"I'm thrilled to be leading the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra on tour," Chief Conductor Edward Gardner commented. "Some of our greatest shared experiences have been in the great concert halls of Europe, and I look forward to being in these three major cities hugely, with an intense program which will show off the orchestra’s passion and virtuosity."
The orchestra’s CEO Bernt Bauge commented: “The Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra’s last international concert was our hugely successful performance of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes at the Royal Festival Hall in London in November 2019. For almost two years the pandemic has made touring impossible, but I’m glad that we are now finally able to play our vital part on the international music scene. I am delighted that our Chief Conductor Edward Gardner will lead the orchestra, and while being the first Norwegian orchestra going on tour after Covid-19, we all look forward to visiting exquisite venues and meeting new audiences in Barcelona, Ljubljana and Paris.”
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