Vladimir Jurowski: Die Nacht vor Weihnachten
“Die Nacht vor Weihnachten” –
Oper in vier Akten (konzertante Aufführung)
Vladimir Jurowski - Conductor
Vladimir Jurowski has been Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin since 2017. He has meanwhile extended his contract until 2027. In parallel, he has been General Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich since 2021.
After receiving training at the Moscow Conservatory The conductor, pianist and musicologist Vladimir Jurowski emigrated to Germany in 1990. Here he continued his studies at the music conservatories in Dresden and Berlin. In 1995 he made his international debut at the British Wexford Festival with Rimski-Korsakov’s Mainacht and in the same year at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden with Nabucco. Subsequently he was, among other things, First Kapellmeister of the Komische Oper Berlin (1997- 2001) and Music Director of the Glyndebourne Festival Opera (2001-2013). In 2003 Vladimir Jurowski was appointed Principal Guest Conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra and has been its Principal Conductor since 2007 until 2021. He was also Artistic Director of the State Academic Symphony Orchestra Yevgeny Svetlanov of the Russian Federation until 2021, Artistic Director of the International George Enescu Festival in Bucharest and Principal Artist of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment in Great Britain. He works regularly with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe and the ensemble unitedberlin.
Vladimir Jurowski has conducted the major orchestras of Europe and North America, including the Berlin, Vienna and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra Amsterdam, the Cleveland and Philadelphia Orchestras, the Boston and Chicago Symphony Orchestras, the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, the Staatskapelle Dresden and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra.
He is a recurring guest conductor in in London, Berlin, Dresden, Luzern, Schleswig-Holstein und Grafenegg as well as at the Rostopowitsch-Festival. Although Vladimir Jurowski is invited as a guest conductor by top orchestras from all over the world, in future he would like to concentrate his activities on that geographical area which is acceptable to him from an ecological point of view.
In 2022/2023 he will perform with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin in concerts in various cities in Germany, Italy and Antwerp in the Netherlands. The joint CD recordings of Vladimir Jurowski and the RSB began in 2015 with Alfred Schnittke’s Symphony No. 3, followed by works by Britten, Hindemith, Strauss, Mahler and soon again Schnittke.
Vladimir Jurowski has been the recipient of numerous awards for his achievements, including various international record prizes. In 2016, he was bestowed an honorary doctorate from Prince Charles at the Royal College of Music in London. In 2018, the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards named him Conductor of the Year. In summer 2020, Jurowski was awarded the Order of Cultural Merit by the Romanian President in recognition of his work as Artistic Director of the George Enescu Festival.
Mikhail Vekua - Tenor (Wakula)
Sofia Fomina - Sopran (Oksana)
Sofia Fomina first burst onto the international operatic scene in 2012 when she made a sensational debut at the Royal Opera House as Isabelle in Meyerbeer’s “Robert le Diable”. A previous member of the Saarländisches Staatstheater and Frankfurt Opera she has since appeared at Paris Opera, Glyndebourne Festival, Bayerische Staatsoper, Hungarian National Opera, Royal Opera House, Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse, Baden-Baden Festspielhaus, Seattle Opera, Theater an der Wien, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall and the BBC Proms.
Recent highlights include Zerbinetta (“Ariadne auf Naxos”) at Staatsoper Hamburg; Adele (“Die Fledermaus”), Gilda (“Rigoletto”), Fiakiermili (“Arabella”) and Oscar (“Un ballo in maschera”) at Bayersiche Staatsoper and Pamina (“Die Zauberflöte”) at Glyndebourne Festival and the BBC Proms.
On the concert platform she performed Mahler’s 2nd Symphony with Vladimir Jurowski and the London Philharmonic Orchestra and with Hugh Wolff and the Belgian National Orchestra; Haydn’s Harmoniemesse in Eisenstadt with Fabio Biondi; her Wigmore Hall debut together with pianist Iain Burnside and appeared at Middle Temple Hall with Julius Drake and Roderick Williams. Fomina also performed La Comtesse (“Le comte Ory”) with Teatro Nacional de São Carlos and a recital with Roger Vignoles at deSingel International Arts Campus in Antwerp.
Recent operatic successes include her appearances as Rosina (“Il Barbiere di Siviglia”) at Seattle Opera, Musetta (“La bohème”) at the Festspiele Baden-Baden with Teodor Currentzis and Gilda Rigoletto, Olympia (“Tales of Hoffmann”) and Jemmy (“Guillaume Tell”) at Royal Opera House; her debut at Opéra de Paris as Blondchen (“Die Entführung aus dem Serail”); Berthe (“Le Prophète”) at Théâtre du Capitole de Toulouse; Oscar in a new production of “Un Ballo in Maschera”, Blondchen and Adele (“Die Fledermaus”) at Bayerische Staatsoper; and Aquillo in a concert performance of “Adriano in Siria” at Theater an der Wien.
Other recent engagements include concerts with the Danish National Symphony, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, with the Czech Philharmonic, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, with the Orchestra dell’ Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia; with Orchestra of Teatro Real.
Born in Russia, Fomina studied at the Orlovsky Music College and the Gnesin Academy of Music, Moscow. Her career began at the Novosibirsk Opera Theatre. She later joined the ensemble of the State Theatre of Saarbrucken. From 2013 to 2015 she was a member of Frankfurt Oper. In 2010 she was awarded a grant by the Wagner Association in Bayreuth.
Mezzosopran (Die Zarin)
Marina Prudenskaya - Mezzosopran (Die Zarin)
Bariton (Golowa, der Bürgermeister)
Sergei Leiferkus - Bariton (Golowa, der Bürgermeister)
Milan Siljanov - Bassbariton (Panas)
Tenor (Küster Ossip)
Alt (Frau mit violetter Nase)
Nadine Weissmann - Alt (Frau mit violetter Nase)
Sopran (Frau mit gewöhnlicher Nase)
George Enescu Philharmonic Choir
George Enescu Philharmonic Choir - Choir
The “George Enescu” Philharmonic Choir was established in 1950. Up to that point, great vocal-symphonic works had been only sporadically performed on Romanian stages, mostly by private and semi-professional choirs which didn’t always correspond to the level of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
The New State Choir brought about a true change of the general public perception concerning the classical music. In its tireless and rich activity – oratorios, masses, motets, A Cappella concerts – the vocal ensemble performed all masterpieces from Monteverdi to Bach, Haydn to Brahms, to the most avant-gardist works of contemporary music. The careful selection of the choir members, as well as the collaboration with notorious conductors contribute both to maintaining the professional level next to the standards of the Philharmonic Orchestra.
Since 1990, the “George Enescu” Philharmonic Choir took part in extraordinary events of the Romanian musical life. In 1995 it had the chance to work with the great Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and in 1998 it performed a concert version of the opera “Oedipe” by George Enescu together with the Orchestre National de France and Lawrence Foster, during the “George Enescu” International Festival.
The conductor and pianist Iosif Ion Prunner, member of a well-known family of musicians and intellectuals in Romania, took over the leadership of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic Choir in 1997. During his tenure which already spans over two decades, the conductor of the Choir has encouraged the expansion of the choir repertory and supported as well the solo appearances of the choir members. In this case, he often plays the role of the accompanist on the piano in chamber music evenings.
As part of the European musical circuit, the “George Enescu” Philharmonic Choir goes regularly on international tours, having already performed in Spain, France, Italy, Bulgaria, Greece. Among the most important recent achievements are worth mentioning the collaborations with first calibre orchestras and conductors at the “George Enescu” Festival: Daniel Barenboim and Staatskapelle Berlin (2013, in Verdi’s Four Sacred Pieces), Vladimir Jurowski and The London Philharmonic Orchestra (2017, in Enescu’s opera “Oedipe”, which was repeated shortly after in the season opening of the same British orchestra).
Ion Iosif Prunner
Ion Iosif Prunner - Choirmaster
Congratulated by the famous pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim, who expressed his “admiration and affection” for the conductor and the ensemble he led during the “George Enescu” Festival, awarded the Cultural Order Merit in rank of Knight (2003), conductor Iosif Ion Prunner was born in Bucharest, part of a family fond of music and with deep cultural roots.
“The heritage of a family of musicians, but also that of a well-established family whose members founded churches and monasteries, one of intellectuals with fine preoccupations in philosophy, law, theater or writing: the Pîrîianu family, on my mother’s side”, said Iosif Prunner in an interview for the magazine Observator cultural.
He made his debut when he was 6 years old and he played on the scene of the Romanian Athenaeum at 14. He studied at “Dinu Lipatti” Music College and at the Music University in Bucharest. He took piano and conducting classes with Zoe Popescu, Ana Pitiş, Maria Fotino, Constantin Bugeanu and Sergiu Comissiona.
After graduation he became part of the orchestra at the “George Enescu” Philharmonic. In 1991 he founded the Foundation and Chamber Music Orchestra “Constantin Silvestri” and in 1996 he was the director of the eponymous International Conducting Competition. In 1997, maestro Cristian Mandeal assigned him with conducting the Philharmonic Choir, while also being asked to conduct the concerts of the Symphonic and Chamber Music Orchestra of the Philharmonic. Also, in 1997 he conducted the semi-professional doctors’ orchestra in Bucharest, following a long tradition of the “George Enescu” Philharmonic. In December 2007 he was invited, together with the Capitole Toulouse Orchestra and the Orfeu – San Sebastian Choir, to present a production of the Requiem by Verdi in San Sebastian, Toulouse and Paris – Salle Pleyel.
In Romania he collaborated with the most important orchestras in the country, the National Radio Orchestra and the Chamber Radio Orchestra and he was also invited to give concerts at the National Romanian Opera.
He gave concerts in important music centres in Europe and Asia (Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Japan, Russia, Greece, Hungary, Switzerland, Bulgaria, Korea etc.) and he took part in important festivals in Romania, Czechoslovakia, Italy etc. He collaborated with prestigious music personalities such as Cristian Mandeal, Sergiu Comissiona, Lawrence Craig, Valentin Gheorghiu, Ludovic Spiess, Eugenia Moldoveanu, Michel Plasson, Krzysztof Penderecki, Ion Marin, Adrian Eröd, Neil Stuart, Tatiana Serjan, Dolora Zajick, Carlo Colombara and with distinguished orchestras such as Orchestre national de France, Münchner Philharmoniker, “Arturo Toscanini” Philharmonic, the Orchestra of Warsaw’s Festival, Philharmonia Orchestra in London, Catalonia National Orchestra, Ostrava’s Janacek Philharmonic, Capitole Toulouse Orchestra.
Anisha Bondy - Szenische Einrichtung/Choreographie
Anisha Bondy, born in 1981 in London, lives with her husband and three children in Berlin. She studied musical theatre direction at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna, where she graduated in 2005 with a production of “Die Kluge” by Carl Orff. Her path led her via the opera houses in Basel and Cologne to the Komische Oper Berlin. Since 2007 she has assisted many directors including Katharina Thalbach, Michael Thalheimer, Claus Guth, Andreas Homoki, Hans Neuenfels, Peter Konwitschny, Sebastian Baumgarten, Benedict Andrews and Barrie Kosky.
From 2009 – 2011 she held a scholarship in the directing category at the Deutsche Bank Foundation’s Akademie Musiktheater Heute. Since then, as an alumna, she has been conducting workshops at the Komische Oper Berlin for young people from immigrant backgrounds to introduce them to the world of opera.
In 2010 she directed the world premiere of “The Snow Queen” by Pierangelo Valtinoni at the Komische Oper Berlin. In the summers of 2011 – 2014 she was assistant director on Sebastian Baumgarten’s production of “Tannhäuser” at the Bayreuth Festival.
Since 2015, she has intensified her work in the outreach field as scenic director of “Selam Opera!”, the intercultural project of the Komische Oper Berlin. Together with her team, she developed formats such as the ‘Pop-Up Opera’ or the opera bus ‘Operndolmus’. In 2016, the team retraced the migrant worker route from Berlin to Istanbul with a 45-minute musical theatre review that was performed at various places along the journey. “Selam Opera!” was awarded the BKM Prize for Cultural Education.
Anisha Bondy worked together with conductor Vladimir Jurowski on the projects “Claude Vivier – 70/35 – a sacred act” (2018) and “Les espaces acoustiques” (2019) by Gérard Grisey at the Konzerthaus Berlin.
Walpurgis Night before Christmas
As seductively romantic as the title sounds, the opera by Rimsky-Korsakov is pagan and archaic. It is not set on Christmas night, but the night before. A devil who no longer feels he is being taken seriously, a witch who has a brave, righteous blacksmith for a stepson, a tsarina who gives away her golden shoes. Rimsky-Korsakov takes Ukrainian, melodically simple “kolyadki” and “shchedriwki” chants, layers them into harmonically tangled choral passages or has them sing against each other as rapid dialogues. In this way he is able to assert completely contradictory things at the same time and in the most beautiful musical harmony, “fired” in the literal sense of the word by the orchestra, which in turn leads a highly seductive sound life of its own. Great listening theatre. Merry Christmas!
Andrew Manze & Elsa Dreisig
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Concert broadcast to the Zeiss-Grossplanetarium
Moderated rehearsal – Antonello Manacorda
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