WHAT’S ON

TSO Clair de Lune

Australian lyric soprano Siobhan Stagg has been showered with praise worldwide: “spellbinding”, “intensely emotional”, “miraculous”. She brings her artistry to a selection of songs by Gabriel Fauré, a composer whose mélodies have been likened to rare and precious jewels. Debussy’s ravishing Clair de lune provides a further gem. Mozart’s Symphony No 40 in G minor, his next-to-last symphony, has long held its place as one of the great works of the repertoire. Less well known is Mozart’s emotion-filled concert aria, “Misera, dove son…Ah! non son io”, a tour de force for a singer of Siobhan Stagg’s stature.

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TSO Elgar’s Enigma

English music has a quality all its own, whether in evoking the landscape, drawing upon history or capturing the sound world of a particular epoch. Vaughan Williams turned to the musical glories of Tudor England in his Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis, Benjamin Britten was inspired by the sea and sky of his native Suffolk, and Edward Elgar forged a distinctive personal style informed by the confidence and majesty of Empire. The musical glories of England are showcased in this concert, which is conducted by Sir Andrew Davis, appearing with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for the first time.

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TSO Fauré Requiem

In Gabriel Fauré’s setting of the Requiem, the soul journeys from this life to the next on wings of most glorious song. Quiet and reflective, the Fauré Requiem eschews the fire and brimstone dramatics of many settings of the Mass for the Dead and instead offers music that soothes and consoles. With its comforting mood and ravishingly beautiful episodes, it is no surprise that this is one of the most beloved of all works for choir and orchestra. Accompanying the Requiem is a new work by Australian composer Melody Eötvös. Commissioned by the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra, the new composition takes up the Shakespeare theme of the TSO’s 70th-anniversary season.

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TSO French Impressions

Stylish, witty, urbane. French music exhibits a very particular set of attributes, as can be heard in these debonair works by Ravel and Poulenc. Ravel’s Piano Concerto is an energetic romp that pauses in its middle movement for one of the most transcendent adagios ever written. Poulenc’s Sinfonietta – a “little” symphony – bustles with Gallic lightness and charm. Contemporary Japanese composer Toshio Hosokawa takes the lotus flower as his starting point in Blossoming II. The unfolding petals find their analogue in the organic musical structure of this spellbinding work. Japanese conductor Kazuki Yamada and French pianist Cédric Tiberghien, who enthralled audiences on their last TSO co-appearance, make an eagerly awaited return.

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TSO Handel’s Messiah

Messiah returns in 2018. Handel’s immortal oratorio has got it all – beautiful solos, stirring choruses and majestic orchestral writing. A staple of the Christmas season, Messiah offers hope, comfort and joy. Appearing with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra for the first time is Baroque specialist Christian Curnyn. Book early for this seasonal favourite!

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TSO Hough plays Rachmaninov

A concerto in all but name, the Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is one of Rachmaninov’s great achievements, rivalling in popularity his canonical piano concertos. Rachmaninov, the unsurpassed pianist-composer of the 20th century, performed the solo part when the work was premièred in 1934. Taking on that role in this concert is one of the pre-eminent pianists of our time, Stephen Hough. Dvořák’s Symphony No 6 was a breakthrough work for the composer, bringing his music to the attention of audiences throughout Europe and beyond. Steeped in the Romantic symphonic tradition, Dvořák’s Sixth brims with tuneful melodies and lush orchestral colours, and offers a dash of the vibrant folk music of Dvořák’s native Bohemia.

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TSO Opera in Concert - Gounod's Romeo et Juliette

The masked ball, the balcony scene, the marriage bed, the family crypt…Gounod’s affectionate adaptation of Shakespeare’s drama retains all of the key episodes and cloaks them in the most radiant music. Internationally acclaimed artists Adriana Kučerová and tenor Pavol Breslik play the star-crossed lovers and are joined by a cast of outstanding Australian singers. Maestro Marko Letonja is intimately acquainted with this most beautiful of operas having conducted Roméo et Juliette in major opera houses in Europe as well as the Arena di Verona. Don’t miss the gala opera event of 2018!

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TSO Peter and the Wolf

For generations, Peter and the Wolf has introduced children to the instruments of the orchestra. The genius of Prokofiev’s symphonic fairy tale is that it wears its learning lightly. Inspired music and compelling storytelling add up to a captivating experience and, along the way, you happen to learn the distinctive tone colours of the flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horns, strings and timpani. It’s time for the next generation of Tasmanian youngsters to come to know this classic! In the storyteller’s chair is the charismatic Ryk Goddard; on the conductor’s podium is Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, Marko Letonja. Recommended for children aged 6 and above.

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TSO Romeo Retold

Romeo and Juliet, the most famous boy-meets-girl story of them all, has inspired composers down the ages. Shakespeare’s play has been recast in opera, music theatre and ballet, and has given rise to rapturous stand-alone orchestral works. This special concert – marking the 70th anniversary of the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra – presents three enthralling retellings of the Romeo story: Tchaikovsky’s luscious Fantasy Overture, Bernstein’s jazz-inspired West Side Story and Prokofiev’s powerful and monumental ballet score. Conductor Marko Letonja captures the grand sweep, intimate moments and heartbreaking pathos of music inspired by Shakespeare’s most enduring tragedy.

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TSO Tchaikovsky’s Sixth

Few orchestral works are as moving as Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony, which rises from the depths, soars to tremendous heights and slowly and gently fades into nothingness. It seems to contain within its four movements a lifetime’s worth of experiences. The fact that Tchaikovsky died within days of conducting the first performance adds to this extraordinary work’s uncanny mystique. Internationally renowned pianist Simon Trpčeski makes his debut with the Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra in Liszt’s Piano Concerto No 2, a remarkable fusion of concerto and symphonic form by one of music’s most original artists. Equally innovative is Berlioz’s dramatic symphony Roméo et Juliette, the “Love Scene” from which sets the tone for this emotionally charged concert.

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Image: Dark Mofo. Credit: Alastair Bett

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