Key members of two of the world’s leading orchestras – the Vienna and Berlin Philharmonics – are uniting forces in a chamber ensemble of the highest calibre: the Chamber Orchestra Vienna – Berlin. They will be accompanied by the “king of tenors” Jonas Kaufmann in Mahler’s Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen, transcribed for strings by Schoenberg.
– Felix Mendelssohn: Sinfonia for strings no. 10
– Gustav Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer)
[transcription for strings: A. Schoenberg]
Jonas Kaufmann tenor
– Richard Strauss: Sextet from the opera “Capriccio”, opus 85
– Arnold Schoenberg: Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night)
Leading members of Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
Leading members of Vienna and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra
In the eyes of the audience and the international music critics likewise, there are only two orchestras competing for the leading position: Vienna- and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra.
In such a situation, the differences between the two ensembles tend to be emphasized: smooth elegance and nobleness of the Viennese, captivating and passionate Berliners, velvety string sound being the virtue of the one, brilliant wind soloists the virtue of the other orchestra.
Under such conditions it doesn’t seem inappropriate to celebrate the creation of the Chamber Orchestra Vienna – Berlin’ as a sensation. However, at a closer look, several important common traits can be noticed: the decade-long cooperation with conductors like Wilhelm Furtwängler, Herbert von Karajan, Claudio Abbado (both Directors of the Vienna State Opera and chief conductors of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) and Sir Simon Rattle has left its imprints on both orchestras, in addition to the year-long association with a nearly identical list of common guest conductors. As a result, they treasure a refinement of playing, in combination with enormous flexibility and a specific beauty of sound, which makes them unique even in regard to the highly virtuoso American top orchestras.
Though good relations have always been established, it is no secret that they are competitors on the music market. It took the initiative of Sir Simon Rattle, whose wish to conduct a common concert of the Vienna- and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for his 50th birthday united both orchestras for the first time. This experience surprisingly turned out to be so positive that it had to be continued.
Out of this idea, the ‚Chamber Orchestra Vienna – Berlin’ was born. They represent, in a way, the essence of both orchestras, including many of their most renowned musicians. It is their ambition to combine chamber-music-like delicacy and symphonic force in their repertoire. The principle aim and at the same time philosophy of this formation is to achieve a unique creative exchange with exciting experiences for both audiences and musicians.
Since the formation of the ‘Chamber Orchestra Vienna – Berlin’ Rainer Honeck (concert master of the Orchestra of the Vienna State Opera since 1984 and concert master of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra since 1992) acts as primarius and Artistic Director of the Orchestra.
“His intensity and elegance, the smoothness of his voice and his body language, combined with his musicality and his glowing appearance make him the very definition of a 21st century opera star.” Opera News
Since his sensational début at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in a performance of “La Traviata” in 2006, Jonas Kaufmann has numbered among the top stars on the operatic horizon. The international press has singled him out as the “new king of tenors”. Insiders praise him as the most important German tenor since Fritz Wunderlich.
Jonas Kaufmann comes from Munich. He completed his vocal studies there at the local Music Academy, in addition to which he attended master classes with Hans Hotter, James King and Josef Metternich. During his first years on stage at the State Theatre in Saarbrücken he continued his training with Michael Rhodes in Trier.
After engagements in Stuttgart, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Milan – in Giorgio Strehler’s production of “Così fan tutte” and “Fidelio” with Riccardo Muti on the podium – Kaufmann moved on to the Zurich Opera in 2001. From there he began his international career. Appearances at the Salzburg Festival and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Paris Opéra and the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, La Scala Milan, the Deutsche Oper and the State Opera in Berlin, the Vienna State Opera and the Metropolitan in New York. In 2010 he made his début at the Bayreuth Festival as Lohengrin in a spectacular staging by Hans Neuenfels.
Kaufmann is just as much in demand internationally in the Italian and French repertoires as he is in German opera. He has sung Massenet’s Werther in Paris and Vienna, Cavaradossi in Puccini’s “Tosca” in London, at the Met and La Scala. His intensive characterization of Don José in Bizet’s “Carmen” took opera fans throughout the world by storm. Kaufmann loves portraying shattered characters, immersing himself in their world and making their thoughts and emotions strikingly believable.
Besides his vocal and musical qualities, it is his total identification with his roles that has been received with such enthusiasm by press and public. This was the case at his role début as Siegmund in “Die Walküre” at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in the spring of 2011. The eagerly awaited new production, masterfully conducted by James Levine, and transmitted world-wide on radio and in HD to cinemas, allowed audiences to hear the special quality of Kaufmann’s Wagner interpretations in detail: The blend of “German” expressive power and Italian vocal finesse. When Kaufmann afterwards had such a great success performing the title role of Gounod’s “Faust” (a new production that could also be seen in cinemas all over the world) he showed once again his vocal and theatrical versatility.
On his home turf in Munich, Kaufmann has thus far been heard as Tamino, Lohengrin, Don José, Cavaradossi, Florestan in “Fidelio” and Don Carlo. In 2012 he gave his debut as Bacchus in “Ariadne auf Naxos” by Richard Strauss at the Salzburg Festival. In Salzburg he was also heard as Don José in the new production of “Carmen” conducted by Simon Rattle and in a performance of the Verdi Requiem conducted by Daniel Barenboim, which has been also performed at La Scala and at the Lucerne Festival. In December 2012 he came back to Milan for the opening of La Scala’s new season with the new production of “Lohengrin”, conducted by Barenboim and directed by Claus Guth.
2013 was the year of Wagner and Verdi: After the Met’s new production of “Parsifal” and the revival of “Don Carlo” at the ROH in London, Kaufmann portrayed the title role in “Don Carlo” also in Munich and Salzburg. Furthermore he undertook two Verdi roles for the first time: Manrico in “Il Trovatore” and Alvaro in “La Forza del Destino”, both in new productions at the Bayerische Staatsoper.
Kaufmann’s versatility is documented on a number of CD’s and DVD’s in performances of such works as “Lohengrin”, “Walküre”, “Königskinder”, “Tosca”, “Adriana Lecouvreur”, “Werther” and “Carmen”. His solo albums “Verismo”, “Wagner” and “Verdi” were bestsellers only a few weeks after being released. In 2011 he was presented the coveted “Opera News Award” in New York. An article in “Opera News” heralded this selection with the words: “His intensity and elegance, the smoothness of his voice and his body language, combined with his musicality and his glowing appearance make him the very definition of a 21st century opera star.” Shortly afterwards Kaufmann was named a “Chevalier de l’Orde de l’Art et des Lettres” by French culture minister Frédéric Mitterand. Kaufmann has been selected several times as “Singer of the Year”, by the classical music magazines “Opernwelt”, “Diapason” and “Musical America” as well as by the juries of “Echo-Klassik” and the inaugural “International Opera Awards” (London 2013). Kaufmann is also a familiar figure world-wide on the concert and recital platforms. He regards art song interpretation as “The Royal Class of Singing”. Since this genre calls for considerably more finesse and differentiation than any other vocal discipline. His partnership with pianist Hemut Deutsch, with whom he worked as far back as his student days in Munich, has proven itself in countless concerts including one on October 30 2011, on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera in New York. This was the first solo recital given at the Met since Luciano Pavarotti’s back in 1994.
The adjective “great” may well define evert aspect of this exciting concert. The century-old...
Organizer: Megaron Athens Concert HallThursday 14.12.2023, 20:30