Like a fairytale
Michael Francis & Iwona Sobotka
“Ma Mère l’oye” (Mother Goose) – Fairy tale and music
(Orchesterfassung vom Komponisten)
Sechs Lieder einer Märchenprinzessin für Sopran und Orchester op. 31
(Orchesterfassung von Karol Szymanowski und Bruno Dozza - Deutsche Erstaufführung)
“Enigma-Variationen” für Orchester op. 36
Michael Francis - Conductor
Michael Francis has quickly established himself as one of the leading international conductors of today. Appointed Music Director of the Florida Orchestra in the fall of 2014, he is now entering his sixth season with a contract extension through the 2024-25 season. His role in building a wide variety of transformative community engagement initiatives has significantly grown the organization. Since 2014 as Music Director of the Mainly Mozart Festival in San Diego, California with a contract renewal through the summer of 2023, he continues his ambitious multi-year exploration of Mozart’s life. Now in his second season, Francis continues as Chief Conductor of Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz. Previously, he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Advisor of the Norrköping Symphony Orchestra from 2012-16.
Iwona Sobotka - Soprano
Iwona Sobotka achieved international acclaim as the Grand Prize winner of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competition in Belgium. Other awards include First Prize at the Warsaw Polish Art Song Competition and First Prize at the East & West Artists International Auditions in New York, that resulted in her debut concert in Carnegie Hall.
Recent and upcoming engagements include, among others, concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle in Beethoven’s “Christ on the Mount of Olives”, the London Symphony Orchestra in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Festspiele Baden-Baden, the Orchestre Philharmonique de Luxembourg under Marek Janowski in Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder and Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France in Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder.
Iwona Sobotka made her operatic debut at the National Opera in Paris in 2004, where she performed the roles of the First Lady (“The Magic Flute”) and Ygraine (Dukas’ “Ariane et Barbe-Bleue”). She also appeared at the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival in the title role of Halka and Liù (Puccini’s “Turandot”) to great critical acclaim. Other roles have included Tatyana (Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin”) and Donna Anna (Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”) under Teodor Currentzis for the Tchaikovsky Perm State Opera; and Violetta (Verdi’s “La traviata”), Pamina (“The Magic Flute”) and Mimi (Puccini’s “La bohème”) for Opera Podlaska. In 2017 she made her Komische Oper Berlin debut as Pamina, performing also with Komische Oper Berlin on tour to Australia, New Zealand, Macao and Taiwan. She made her Osterfestspiele Baden-Baden debut as Blumenmädchen in Wagner’s Parsifal with the Berlin Philharmonic and Sir Simon Rattle one year later.
Past performances on the concert stage include a concert tour in Asia with the Berlin Philharmonic under Sir Simon Rattle with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony; as well as appearances with the London Symphony Orchestra, Staatskapelle Berlin, Vienna Symphony, NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchestra, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Mahler Chamber Orchestra and City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. With the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin she has appeared numerous times.
In 2010, Sobotka took part in a ‘Szymanowski Focus’ programme curated by distinguished Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski to promote the music of Karol Szymanowski in London at the Wigmore Hall and in New York at Carnegie Hall. Following her graduation from the Fryderyk Chopin University of Music in Warsaw, Iwona continued her studies with the renowned artist and pedagogue Tom Krause at the Escuela Superior de Música Reina Sofía in Madrid.
Delicately extracted poetry, shining from the inside out.