Season-opening concert: Dynamic Duo: Hannigan & Storgårds

Our season-opening concerts on September 19 and 21 are a masterclass in versatility from Canadian soprano and conductor Barbara Hannigan, and Finnish conductor and violinist John Storgårds. The “dynamic duo” will each conduct half of the program, appearing as soloist in the other half.

This riveting and unique concert is not to be missed! Read on to learn more about the music.

Dutilleux: Sur le même accord for Violin and Orchestra

Henri Dutilleux composed this nocturne (his description) for the German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter. The title, which means “on the same chord,” refers to the one six-note chord that the violin soloist plays to open the piece. Along with the orchestra, the soloist reworks and reshapes that chord to produce a piece that alternates between fast and slow sections.

Sur le même accord, as the title says—is actually a very reduced piece, sassy, and also very short. When I performed it with Kurt Masur, we always played it again as an encore because it gives the listener the chance to really delve under the skin a little better.”
Anne-Sophie Mutter

Brett Dean: And once I played Ophelia for String Orchestra and Soprano

A violist, conductor, and composer, Brett Dean is known to TSO audiences as the co-curator of the 2016 New Creations Festival. And once I played Ophelia is his second string quartet, which also features soprano. The TSO will perform a string orchestra arrangement that Dean published in 2018.

The work uses Shakespeare's original lines to present Ophelia's thoughts, as well as what other characters say to and about her, delivered from her own perspective. Performed without pause, its five contrasting sections are thought provoking and intense.

“I’ve often felt that much of what she says betrays a feistier personality than the one we often are presented. And perhaps, just perhaps, Ophelia drowns not from a romantically-fed whim or madness, but simply because of the pure weight of the words others say about her caught irrevocably in her pockets.”
Brett Dean

Dean also wrote an opera version of Hamlet that premièred at Glyndebourne in 2017, featuring Barbara Hannigan as Ophelia. His collaborator on both the opera and string quartet was librettist Matthew Jocelyn, formerly the Artistic Director of Canadian Stage.

Beethoven, Haydn, and Sibelius

Three classics by Beethoven, Haydn, and Sibelius round out this exciting program.

In the first half, Barbara Hannigan conducts the TSO in Beethoven’s stirring Overture to Egmont, and Haydn’s Symphony No. 96 “Miracle”. These two grand works date from key eras in their composers’ lives. Beethoven composed his incidental music to the play Egmont around the time he wrote his Fifth Symphony. Haydn’s “Miracle” Symphony is part of his famed “London symphonies,” 12 works he wrote while living in London. The “Miracle” subtitle is derived from a partially disproven story about the work’s première. Legend has it that the hall’s chandelier crashed to the ground, but, miraculously, no one was hurt. Historians later determined that this really did occur—at a performance of a different piece!

The second half concludes with a performance of Sibelius Symphony No. 3, conducted by John Storgårds. Described as Sibelius’s most classical symphony, this work marked a shift in the composer’s style and a departure from the more Romantic characteristics of his First and Second Symphonies. The work is in three movements, with two bright and cheerful sections bookending a melancholy nocturne.

Don’t miss this spellbinding start to our 2019/20 season! Get your tickets for Dynamic Duo: Hannigan & Storgårds.

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