Farewell to Rattle
"Parsifal" to feature as centerpiece of last Easter Festival under Sir Simon Rattle
The Baden-Baden Easter Festival with the Berliner Philharmoniker will be presenting Wagner’s Parsifal along with twenty-five more opera and concert events from March 24 to April 2, 2018.
In 2018 Sir Simon Rattle will be bidding farewell to the Easter Festival with the Berliner Philharmoniker in Baden-Baden with Richard Wagner’s Parsifal. It is the final opportunity to hear the British conductor, who has led the orchestra since 2002, as Principal Conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker in Baden-Baden. Dieter Dorn’s new production of the opera Parsifal will be opening the Festival on Saturday, March 24, 2018. The performance will feature Stephen Gould as Parsifal, Ruxandra Donose as Kundry, and Franz-Josef Selig as Gurnemanz in the leading roles. Evgeny Nikitin will be singing the part of Klingsor while Gerald Finley portrays the role of the wounded King Amfortas.
Director Dieter Dorn, who has served as manager of the Münchner Kammerspiele and Bayerische Staatsschauspiel, has led productions on the major stages of the German-speaking world and is also known for his commitment to opera. For Wagner’s anniversary year in 2013, he staged an interpretation of Wagner’s tetralogy Der Ring des Nibelungen in Geneva that won wide acclaim.
Until Easter Monday, April 2, 2018, audiences can enjoy further opera performances in addition to over twenty-five orchestral and chamber concerts with the world-class orchestra and its members. The exquisite Baden-Baden Theater will form the backdrop for a new production of Mozart’s opera La finta giardiniera. For families, the Easter Festival program will also feature the premiere of the children’s opera Ritter Parceval at the same venue.
Bernstein, Berg, and Beethoven
The Berliner Philharmoniker and Festival Hall Baden-Baden have invited many stars of the classical music world to the Festival. In two concerts, Polish pianist Krystian Zimerman will perform the solo part of the Symphony No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra by Leonard Bernstein under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle (March 27 and Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018). The second half of the program will feature Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on March 27, and his Third (“Eroica”) on Easter Sunday.
Also under the direction of Sir Simon Rattle, Latvian mezzo-soprano Elīna Garanča will sing Alban Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder and the solo part of Maurice Ravel’s Shéhérazade (Trois Poèmes) on Palm Sunday, March 25, 2018 at 6:00 PM. During the same concert, the Berliner Philharmoniker will also interpret Igor Stravinsky’s ballet music Petrushka and Richard Strauss’s tone poem Don Juan.
British conductor Daniel Harding (Monday, March 26, 2018, 6:00 PM) and Hungarian maestro Iván Fischer (Holy Saturday, March 31, 2018, 6:00 PM) will also be leading symphony concerts with the Berliner Philharmoniker during this sixth installment of the Easter Festival in Baden-Baden. In the first half of the March 26 concert, Daniel Harding and baritone Gerald Finley will interpret Lieder by Schubert with orchestral accompaniment, including such well-known songs as An die Musik and Erlkönig. Following the intermission, the orchestra will present Richard Strauss’s monumental Alpensinfonie. On Holy Saturday, Iván Fischer will be welcoming violinist Vilde Frang, who will interpret Béla Bartók’s Violin Concerto No. 1. After the intermission, the Berliner Philharmoniker will perform a selection from Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy’s Ein Sommernachtstraum under the baton of the Hungarian conductor.
Chamber concerts in the city
The chamber concerts with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker have become an integral part of the Baden-Baden Easter Festival in recent years. The concerts will take place in a number of different venues in Baden-Baden as well as the neighboring city of Bühl. This year, the musicians from the capital have designed programs that highlight the theme “time and mysticism,” tying in with the theme of Parsifal.
The chamber concerts will feature works by both historical and contemporary composers, with a spectrum that ranges from Johann Sebastian Bach’s Cantata Gottes Zeit ist die allerbeste Zeit to Sofia Gubaidulina’s Galgenlieder. At the Kurhaus Baden-Baden, audiences can experience music from 1930s Europe while the Ensemble Bolero Berlin delights listeners with tangos and jazz at the Casino Baden-Baden. And for the second time, the Baden-Baden Easter Festival will be making a guest appearance at the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt in Bühl, presenting Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time (Quatuor pour la fin du temps) on Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 2:00 PM. The musicians will be solo clarinetist of the Berliner Philharmoniker, Andreas Ottensamer, Daishin Kashimoto (violin), Matthew Hunter (viola), Knut Weber (cello), and Markus Groh (piano).
The chamber concert venues are particularly well-suited to small-scale concerts. Locations like the Museum Frieder Burda, Stadtkirche (city church), and Theater Baden-Baden will be transformed into Festival venues. There will also be an Artist Lounge at the Kulturzentrum LA 8 from March 23 to April 1, 2018 with daily informative lectures and talk shows featuring artists from the Easter Festival. The Festival Hall Baden-Baden will be organizing this lounge in cooperation with Kulturradio SWR2.
No fewer than two new opera productions will be presented by members of the Berliner Philharmoniker at the historic Theater Baden-Baden. A young directorial team from the Deutsche Bank Foundation’s “Academy Opera Today” will stage Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera La finta giardinera (March 25/28 and Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018). Music director of the performance will be Simon Rössler, who is not only a percussionist with the Berliner Philharmoniker, but also a conductor.
Commitment to young people
Both the Mozart opera and the premiere of the children’s opera Ritter Parceval (March 26/29/31, 2018 at 2:00PM/11:00AM/2:00PM) will feature a cast of young singers from the music conservatories of Baden-Wuerttemberg. In the children’s opera, composer Henrik Albrecht and his librettist Andreas Durban tell the story of a boy who dreams of becoming a knight, interweaving motifs from the King Arthur legend with new music inspired by Richard Wagner’s opera, without parody.
The Berliner Philharmoniker will further underscore their commitment to young people at the Musikfest on Holy Thursday, March 29, 2018 at 6:00 PM. During the finale of this celebration, Sir Simon Rattle will lead the National Youth Orchestra of Germany in a performance of Béla Bartók’s pantomime The Wooden Prince. The evening will begin with Baroque gems interpreted by the Berliner Barocksolisten under the direction of Daishin Kashimoto, before the Berlin Philharmonic Winds contribute an “Offenbachiade” featuring the theme “Offenbach in the Underworld.”
On Easter Monday, April 2, 2018 we will bid farewell to Sir Simon Rattle as Principal Conductor of the Baden-Baden Easter Festival with a final performance of Wagner’s opera Parsifal. With this work, one of the British conductor’s favorites, an era will come to an end that began in 2013, on the same stage, with Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte. The Baden-Baden Easter Festival will continue in 2019. Details will be announced during the course of the 2018 Festival.
Photo: Sebastian Hänel