Concert previews: APO and NZSO to perform major works

Richard Wagner
Gustav Mahler

Richard Wagner, Tristan und Isolde
Auckland Philharmonia Sponsored by The Trusts Community Foundation
Auckland Town Hall, July 19 4pm

Mozart, Violin Concerto No. 4; Mahler, Symphony No. 9
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra In association with Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Wellington August 8, Christchurch August 12, Hamilton August 14, Auckland August 15

Recent concerts by the Auckland Philharmonia and the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra have given audiences some great musical highlights in Auckland.

The visiting viola player Maxim Rysanov gave a splendid performance of Tchaikovsky’s Rococo Variations while the NZSO featured cellist Alisa Weilerstein in a passionate performance of Prokofiev's Sinfonia Concertante.

The NZSO, having played the full cycle of Beethoven’s symphonies, has now started on some Mahler. Their performance of the composer’s first symphony, The Titan, under conductor Rafael Payare showed the orchestra is capable of providing all the subtleties of the music as well as exploring its psychological and personal dimensions.

Next month they take on his huge ninth symphony, which not only features a big orchestra, the work is long - close to an hour and a half. This is music that really plumbs Mahler’s personal and spiritual life.

Composed after the death of his daughter, and the diagnosis of his own fatal heart disease, the symphony is nostalgic, urgent and filled with some of his most evocative melodies. This emotional tempest will be soothed by the radiant melodies of Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 4.

Gracefully expressive, the work will feature violinist Simone Lamsma, a musician with a technical mastery that enables her to fully embrace his musical world. Eminent Dutch conductor and renowned Mahler specialist Edo de Waart brings together the transcendent music of both Mozart and Mahler.

This week, the Auckland Philharmonia will be presenting its annual Opera in Concert, which this year is Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde. The world of opera has its fair share of star-crossed lovers but there is perhaps no story as desperate as that of Tristan und Isolde. Derived from Arthurian legend, its portrayal of forbidden love has inspired storytellers and composers for the past 1000 years.

Wagner’s epic created a new musical language and pushed the human voice to its limits; so much so that the role of Tristan is apocryphally said to have brought about the early demise of many talented singers.

Lars Cleveman, one of the world’s greatest Wagner interpreters and acclaimed for his performances at the Metropolitan Opera, is joined by a stellar cast led by Annalena Persson as Isolde, alongside Daveda Karanas, Bo Skohvus and Marco Stella and Rúni Brattaberg Marke.

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