Boston Symphony Opens 2007 Tanglewood Season

Classic Arts News   Boston Symphony Opens 2007 Tanglewood Season
Tonight the Boston Symphony Orchestra begins its 2007 season at its legendary summer home, the Tanglewood Music Center in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, with a concert conducted by music director James Levine. The program includes Mendelssohn's overture and incidental music to A Midusmmer Night's Dream and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 4. Joining Levine and the BSO are soprano Heidi Grant Murphy, mezzo-soprano Kristine Jepson and the women of the Tanglewood Festival Chorus.

The orchestra gives two more concerts this opening weekend. Tomorrow evening, BSO assistant conductor Ludovic Morlot leads Dvoršk's Othello Overture, Ravel's orchestration of Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition, and two Tchaikovsky scores for cello and orchestra, the Variations on a Rococo Theme and the Pezzo capriccioso. Lynn Harrell will be the featured soloist. And on Sunday afternoon (July 8), Andr_ Previn conducts a program with a Romeo-and-Juliet theme, featuring Tchaikovsky's fantasy-overture and a suite from Prokofiev's ballet score; also on tap is Jean-Philippe Collard as soloist in Rachmaninoff's Piano Concerto No. 1.

These concerts are, of course, just the beginning of eight weeks of Boston Symphony performances at Tanglewood this summer. Levine himself will be in residence for six of those weeks, conducting 11 programs including (among other works) Mahler's Third Symphony, with mezzo-soprano Stephanie Blythe as soloist (July 14); Beethoven's Eighth Symphony and Ravel's Daphnis et Chlo_ Suite No. 2 (August 3); Charles Ives's Three Places in New England and Bart‹k's Concerto for Orchestra (August 10); and Brahms's First Symphony (August 17).

Levine will also conduct three operas in concert. On August 17, on a double-bill with the Brahms, mezzo Michelle DeYoung and bass-baritone Albert Dohmen will sing Bart‹k's Duke Bluebeard's Castle. The following evening brings Berlioz's La Damnation de Faust (not actually an opera, strictly speaking), with soloists Marcello Giordani, Jos_ van Dam, Yvonne Naef and Patrick Carfizzi. The starriest of the three opera evenings will be the earliest: on July 28, Levine will conduct the Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra and Vocal Fellows in the four-act Italian version of Verdi's Don Carlo; the cast includes Patricia Racette (Elisabetta), Luciana D'Intino (Eboli), Johan Botha (Don Carlo), Zeljko Lucic (Rodrigo), James Morris (Philip II) and Paata Burchuladze (the Grand Inquisitor).

In addition to all this, Levine will be on the podium for one full opera production, leading the Tanglewood Music Center's Orchestra and Vocal Fellows in a staging of Mozart's CosÐ fan tutte on August 11, 12 and 14. (A Tanglewood Conducting Fellow will lead the August 13 performance.) Directing will be commentator/performer/opera maven Ira Siff, who achieved immortality as the diva Vera Galupe-Borzhkh with the Gran Scena Opera Co.

Among other highlights of the Boston Symphony's 2007 Tanglewood season are Previn conducting Ravel's Sh_h_razade with DeYoung and Haydn's Cello Concerto with Daniel M‹ller-Schott (July 13); baritone Thomas Hampson in Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen with conductor Mark Elder (July 15); Hampson singing his own arrangement for chamber ensemble of Mahler's Kindertotenlieder with the BSO Chamber Players (July 17); an all-Beethoven weekend (July 21-23) with conductors Elder, Hans Graf and Jens Georg Bachmann, pianists Imogen Cooper and Leon Fleisher, violinist Daniel Hope, soprano Christine Brewer and the Beaux Arts Trio; Joshua Bell joining Kurt Masur and the orchestra for Prokofiev's Violin Concerto No. 1 (July 27); Masur conducting Mozart's final three symphonies (July 29); Edo de Waart leading an all-Dvoršk program including the "New World" Symphony and Yo-Yo Ma in the Cello Concerto (August 4); Janine Jansen making her BSO debut with Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto (August 5); and Rafael Fr‹hbeck de Burgos conducting Mozart's "Jeunehomme" Piano Concerto (with Emanuel Ax) and Haydn's Mass in Time of War (August 12).

And there are plenty of first-rate classical music performers on tap at Tanglewood this summer besides the Boston Symphony. Viola da gamba master Jordi Savall brings his ensemble Hesprion XXI for a concert of Christian, Jewish and Arab music from medieval Spain (July 12). Super-intelligent pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard gives a recital ranging from Bach and Schumann to Elliott Carter and George Benjamin (August 8). Veteran baritone Jos_ van Dam performs French m_lodies by Faur_, Duparc, Debussy and Poulenc (August 16).

Tanglewood is also participating in "NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires." In addition to featuring such gifted Netherlands artists as Jansen and de Waart with the BSO, the festival will present two excellent Dutch ensembles who are too seldom heard in the U.S. On July 25, the Netherlands Bach Society presents Bach's Mass in B minor, which the group performed to sold-out houses on a U.S. tour this past April; the following evening the NBS offers two of Bach's most festive secular cantatas, Auf, schmetternde T‹ne (BWV 207a) and T‹net, ihr Pauken (BWV 214, much of which was remade into the first part of the Christmas Oratorio). And in late August, the Orchestra of the 18th Century, under conductor Frans Br‹ggen, performs two programs: Schubert's "Unfinished" and "Great" Symphonies (August 21) and a suite from Rameau's opera Les Indes galantes along with Beethoven's Fifth Symphony (August 22). More information on and tickets for Tanglewood events can be found at

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