Great Performances http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf The best in the performing arts from across America. Tue, 29 Jul 2014 17:56:20 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.8.4 en hourly 1 Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl: Dudamel on Verdi’s Requiem, Plus Primer http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dudamel-conducts-the-verdi-requiem-at-the-hollywood-bowl/dudamel-on-verdis-requiem-plus-primer/2231/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dudamel-conducts-the-verdi-requiem-at-the-hollywood-bowl/dudamel-on-verdis-requiem-plus-primer/2231/#comments Tue, 29 Jul 2014 15:55:23 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2231 View full post to see video)

LA Phil Music Director Gustavo Dudamel can describe Verdi’s Requiem as passionately as he conducts it. “The theatrical elements of this piece is incredible,” says the famous conductor in this interview with rehearsal footage. Using his hands, singing, growls and poetic descriptions, Dudamel conveys the intense emotions of Verdi’s Requiem in this excerpt from Great Performances: Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at The Hollywood Bowl, premiering Friday, August 1 at 9 pm on PBS. (Check local listings.)

A Primer on the Verdi Requiem

What is a Requiem?
A requiem is a Roman Catholic funeral mass and music created for the mass is also referred to as a requiem. Many composers have written requiems. Giuseppe Verdi began composing his in 1873 in tribute to the Italian writer Alessandro Manzoni. He used four soloists, a double choir and orchestra. Verdi conducted the first performance in Milan on May 22, 1874, the first anniversary of Manzoni’s death.

Latin Terms Defined
Catholic masses around the world were traditionally sung in Latin. Some terms that are recurring in the score and described by Dudamel in the video clip are below.

The work’s first movement, called Requiem and Kyrie, has the chorus sing: Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine – Grant them eternal rest, O Lord.

Part II of the work, the Dies Irae (”The Day of Wrath”), is considered one of the “scarier” pieces of classical music due to the intensity of the bass drums, orchestra and chorus.

In the last part of the Requiem, Líbera me, the chorus sings: Líbera me – Deliver me.

About Gustavo Dudamel

Dudamel (born 1981) planned to study the violin while growing up in Venzuela, but at the age of 12 his talent for conducting was recognized by the country’s publicly financed music education program, “El Sistema.”

Dudamel made his U.S. conducting debut with the LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl in September 2005 and two years later, the orchestra announced that the young conductor would succeed Esa-Pekka Salonen as its music director, beginning with its 2009-2010 season.

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GP at The Met: Werther: Jonas Kaufmann Sings “Pourquoi me réveiller” http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/jonas-kaufmann-sings-pourquoi-me-reveiller/2222/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/jonas-kaufmann-sings-pourquoi-me-reveiller/2222/#comments Fri, 18 Jul 2014 18:36:37 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2222 View full post to see video)

In this excerpt from Act III of Massenet’s opera, Jonas Kaufmann sings the aria, “Pourquoi me réveiller.” Great Performances at the Met: Werther airs Sunday, July 20 at 12 pm on PBS. (In New York, THIRTEEN airs the opera at 12:30 pm).

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Sondheim! The Birthday Concert: Elaine Stritch: In Memoriam (1925 – 2014) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/sondheim-the-birthday-concert/elaine-stritch-in-memoriam-1925-2014/2229/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/sondheim-the-birthday-concert/elaine-stritch-in-memoriam-1925-2014/2229/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 21:27:01 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2229 (View full post to see video)
Elaine Stritch will always be “still here” performing one of her signature songs in Great Performances’ Sondheim! The Birthday Concert.

Great Performances mourns the passing of Broadway and West End legend Elaine Stritch (February 2, 1925 – July 17, 2014) who was equally adept at musicals (Company, Sail Away, Goldilocks, Show Boat), drama (A Delicate Balance, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf), and comedy (Private Lives, Any Wednesday). A specialist in the work of Stephen Sondheim, she took over the role of Madame Armfeldt in A Little Night Music in 2010. Her acclaimed one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty won a Tony Award.

She was particularly proud of understudying Ethel Merman in Call Me Madam, while appearing in a revival of Rodgers & Hart’s Pal Joey at the very same time.

In London’s West End, she appeared in such plays as Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady and Tennessee Williams’ Small Craft Warnings. She also appeared in the long running sitcom “Two’s Company” in the 1970s, which aired on public TV in the U.S.

No stranger to television (“The Ellen Burstyn Show,” “The Cosby Show”), she won three Emmy Awards (for “Law and Order,” a documentary about “Elaine Stritch at Liberty,” and “30 Rock”) and she appeared on Great Performances several times. She stopped the show with Sondheim’s “Broadway Baby” in Follies in Concert, and was featured on both My Favorite Broadway: The Leading Ladies, and most recently, Sondheim: The Birthday Concert. She was also seen in the GP documentary, The Noel Coward Story, as Coward was a lifelong friend and colleague.

She was also a frequent guest on Theater Talk which airs on THIRTEEN.

Her film appearances, including Woody Allen’s September and Small Time Crooks and Cadillac Man with Robin Williams, to name just a few, were always enlivened by her presence.

She was recently the subject of the theatrically released documentary, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me.

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Star-Spangled Spectacular: About the Program http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/star-spangled-spectacular/about-the-program/2164/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/star-spangled-spectacular/about-the-program/2164/#comments Thu, 17 Jul 2014 15:14:19 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2164 StarSpangledSpectacular-610

Acclaimed actor, musician and author John Lithgow will host Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem live from Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore, Maryland on THIRTEEN’S Great Performances at 8 pm ET on September 13, 2014, immediately followed by an encore broadcast at 10 pm. (Check local listings.)

The two-hour television event is a highlight of Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong celebration of the 200th anniversary of our national anthem.

Also featured are performances by Emmy and Tony Award-winning actress and accomplished singer Kristin Chenoweth; Grammy Award-winning country group Little Big Town; vocal sensations Pentatonix; the Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of Music Director Marin Alsop; and more to be announced soon.  The patriotic special will feature a diverse star-studded line up of entertainers paying tribute to our nation’s ideals in a thrilling and inspiring concert at the Pier Six Pavilion.  The Baltimore harbor, replete with tall ships and naval vessels will serve as a stunning backdrop.  The program will also include ceremonial activities at Fort McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine, historical highlights and an extraordinary fireworks crescendo.

Two hundred years ago, Francis Scott Key, a Maryland-born attorney, was inspired to write the words to what would become the United States’ national anthem. In 2012, Star-Spangled 200 and the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission began a multi-year commemoration of this legacy which will culminate with Star-Spangled Spectacular, a weeklong festival taking place on September 10–16, 2014. Within this festival, Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem will take place.  The festival will include tall ships, Navy gray hulls, a performance by the Blue Angels, landside festivities, and this special television program to honor the national anthem.

About the Performers

John Lithgow is an American actor, musician, and author. In 1973, he won a Tony Award three weeks after his Broadway debut, in David Storey’s “The Changing Room.”  Since then he has appeared on Broadway twenty more times, earning five more Tony nominations, another Tony, four Drama Desk Awards, and induction into the Theatre Hall of Fame. In the early 1980’s Lithgow began to make a major mark in films.  At that time, he was nominated for Oscars in back-to-back years, for “The World According to Garp” and “Terms of Endearment.”  In the years before and after, he has appeared in over forty films.  Upcoming releases include Tommy Lee Jones’ “The Homesman,” Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar” and Ira Sachs’ “Love is Strange” alongside Alfred Molina. For his work on television, Lithgow has been nominated for eleven Emmy Awards.  He has won five of them, one for an episode of “Amazing Stories,” and three for his portrayal of the alien High Commander, Dick Solomon on the NBC comedy series “3rd Rock from the Sun.”  He has also been honored with two Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards, The American Comedy Award and has received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.  Lithgow is also celebrated for his work for children which includes acclaimed books, concerts, and albums.  Since 1998 he has written nine New York Times best-selling children’s picture books, including the recently published “Never Play Music Right Next To The Zoo.”

Emmy and Tony Award winner and Oklahoma and Hollywood Bowl Hall of Fame inductee, Kristin Chenoweth effortlessly transitions between stage, television, film and an accomplished singing career. She received an Emmy Award for her role in “Pushing Daises,” a Tony Award for her role in “You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown” and was also nominated for originating the role of Glinda the Good Witch in “Wicked.” Chenoweth most recently co-starred in the animated film “Rio 2” and performed to sold-out audiences at the famed Carnegie Hall and Royal Albert Hall. She’s also completed production on the Universal film “The Boy Next Door,” “Opposite Sex,” “Hard Sell” and the Disney Channel’s live-action original movie “Descendents.” Chenoweth continues to tour and will return to Broadway in the Roundabout Theatre Company’s “On the Twentieth Century” in early 2015. Additional TV credits include: “The West Wing,” “Glee,” “G.C.B” and “The Good Wife.”

Grammy Award-winning Country group, Little Big Town – consisting of members Karen Fairchild, Phillip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman, and Jimi Westbrook – first entered the music scene more than 15 years ago with hits such as “Boondocks,” “Bring It On Home,” “Good As Gone” and Grammy-nominated single “Little White Church.” The quartet’s fifth studio album Tornado was released on September 11, 2012 and debuted at the top of the Billboard Country Chart where it stayed for five consecutive weeks. The album has been certified Platinum with sales of more than 1 million copies and features #1 hits “Pontoon” and “Tornado.” Little Big Town recently completed their sixth studio album working again with producer Jay Joyce. The first single off of the new album entitled “Day Drinking” is quickly climbing the Country radio charts. The album, entitled Pain Killer, is set for release on October 21.

Vocal sensations Pentatonix are taking instrument-free music far beyond anyone’s wildest expectations.  Named after the world’s most widely recognized five-note music scale, this quintet has transformed one of pop music’s purest and most soulful expressions into an exciting future, filled with limitless sonic possibility.  From their original tracks to their intricate reimagining of pop hits and epically complex arrangements and medleys, Pentatonix have quickly developed a sound and style that is entirely unique and undeniably infectious. Pentatonix have ignited one of the biggest online and global followings.  The PTXofficial YouTube channel boasts over 500 million views, buoyed by more than 5.9 Million subscribers, and is one of the Top 100 most subscribed-to music channels.

The Grammy Award-winning Baltimore Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is internationally recognized as having achieved a preeminent place among the world’s most important orchestras. Acclaimed for its enduring pursuit of artistic excellence, the BSO has attracted a devoted national and international following while maintaining deep bonds throughout Maryland with innovative education and community outreach initiatives. The BSO made musical history in September 2007, when Maestra Marin Alsop led her inaugural concerts as the orchestra’s 12th music director, making her the first woman to head a major American orchestra. With her highly praised artistic vision, her dynamic musicianship and her commitment to accessibility in classical music, Maestra Alsop’s leadership has ushered in a new era for the BSO and its audiences.

About the Production

Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial Of Our National Anthem is a production of Maryland Public Television, dick clark productions and THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET with assistance from the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission and Star-Spangled 200, Inc. Executive Producer David Horn, Great Performances; Producer/Director Paul Miller; Assaf Blecher, Vice President of Programming and Development for dick clark productions; and Steven J. Schupak, Maryland Public Television.

For Great Performances, Bill O’Donnell is series producer and David Horn is executive producer.
Major corporate support for Star-Spangled Spectacular: Bicentennial of our National Anthem is provided by AT&T, Papa John’s Pizza, and Constellation Energy.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, Harold and Elise Danino Hirshberg, and PBS.

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About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21 and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature, Great Performances, American Masters, PBS NewsHour Weekend, Charlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series as Get the Math, Oh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTS, Reel 13, NJTV News with Mike Schneider and MetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.

About Star-Spangled 200
Star-Spangled 200 is a multi-year commemoration that celebrates the 200th anniversary of our national anthem. Star-Spangled Sailabration in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay launched the events in June 2012. Sailabration included a maritime festival with 45 vessels from a dozen nations and an airshow featuring the Blue Angels, and drew more than 1.5 million visitors. Star-Spangled 200 continued Spring 2013 through Summer 2014 with the Chesapeake Campaign, a series of more than a dozen festivals in waterfront communities around the Bay. Two conferences were held at the U.S. Naval Academy in 2013 – Cross Tech, June 10-11 and From Enemies to Allies, June 12-15 – bringing together leaders in cyber security and scholars from the U.K, Canada and the U.S. Events will culminate with Star-Spangled Spectacular, September 10-16, 2014, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the National Anthem. Star-Spangled 200 is supported by its Presenting Sponsor AT&T with Founding Partner support from Constellation and Papa John’s. For more information, please visit www.StarSpangled200.com or www.StarSpangled200.org.

About Maryland Public Television
Launched in 1969 and headquartered in Owings Mills, MD, Maryland Public Television is a nonprofit, state-licensed public television network and member of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS). MPT’s six transmitters cover Maryland plus portions of contiguous states and the District of Columbia. Frequent winner of regional Emmy® awards, MPT creates local, regional, and national television shows. Beyond broadcast, MPT’s commitment to professional educators, parents, caregivers, and learners of all ages is manifest in its year-round instructional events and super-website Thinkport which garners in excess of 19 million page views annually. MPT’s community engagement activities connect viewers with local resources on significant health, education, and public interest topics through year-round outreach events, viewer forums, program screenings, and phone bank call-in opportunities. For additional information, please visit www.mpt.org.

About dick clark productions
dick clark productions (dcp) is among the world’s largest producers and proprietors of televised live event programming. dcp produces perennial hits such as the “American Music Awards,” “Golden Globe Awards,” “Academy of Country Music Awards,” “Billboard Music Awards,” and “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” Weekly television programming, includes “So You Think You Can Dance” from 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group, and dick clark productions; and “Rising Star” from Keshet DCP, the joint venture between Keshet International (KI), the global distribution and production arm of Keshet Media Group, and DC Media, the parent company of dick clark productions (dcp).  In 2014, dcp will debut the “American Country Countdown Awards” (FOX), “Boom!” (FOX), “Hollywood Film Awards (CBS) and “The PEOPLE MAGAZINE Awards” (NBC).  Dcp also owns one of the world’s most unique and extensive entertainment archive libraries with more than 55 years of dcp’s award-winning shows, historic programs, specials, performances, and legendary programming.  For additional information, visit www.dickclark.com.

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Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at the Hollywood Bowl: Preview the Concert http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dudamel-conducts-the-verdi-requiem-at-the-hollywood-bowl/preview-the-concert/2227/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/dudamel-conducts-the-verdi-requiem-at-the-hollywood-bowl/preview-the-concert/2227/#comments Wed, 16 Jul 2014 21:48:18 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2227 View full post to see video)

The Los Angeles Philharmonic’s acclaimed performance under the stars in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the composer’s birth interspersed with archival footage.

In commemoration of the 2013 Giuseppe Verdi bicentennial, Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and the Los Angeles Philharmonic perform a stirring concert of Verdi’s towering Requiem Mass at the Hollywood Bowl in California. Before the performance, the maestro shares his enthusiasm for the iconic venue, the largest natural amphitheater in the country, and for Verdi’s passionate and highly theatrical work: a mass, yes, but “in an opera way,” as Dudamel explains.

The concert presentation features soloists Julianna Di Giacomo (soprano), Michelle DeYoung (mezzo-soprano), Vittorio Grigolo (tenor) and Ildebrando D’Arcangelo (bass). Dudamel Conducts the Verdi Requiem at The Hollywood Bowl on THIRTEEN’s Great Performances, airs Friday, August 1 at 9 p.m. on PBS. (Check local listings.)

The performance was recorded live last summer, and features the Los Angeles Master Chorale, currently in its 50th season, under the direction of Grant Gershon,

“Dudamel emphasized intimate, personal expression, this time defying the Bowl’s immensity,” said the Los Angeles Times about the Hollywood Bowl performance. “It was an important and exceptional evening. A page was turned and a new chapter begun in the maturation of a music director.”

Dudamel’s cast is internationally renowned: D´Arcangelo regularly performs at La Scala, the Wiener Staatsoper, London’s Royal Opera and the Salzburg Festival; Grigolo regularly guests at La Scala, Covent Garden and The Metropolitan Opera; DeYoung is known for performances with leading orchestras including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony and Chicago Symphony; and Di Giacomo regularly guests at The Metropolitan Opera and LA Opera, among other international opera houses.

On the site of what was always a local favorite picnicking spot, the Hollywood Bowl opened with a series of makeshift stages in 1922 – the permanent structure and its fabled shell not completed till 1929 – and has been referenced in numerous films, as clips of Tom & Jerry, Bugs Bunny, “I Love Lucy” and “The Beverly Hillbillies” amusingly illustrate. And all the greats from the classical and pop worlds have played here, as archival photos of The Beatles, Leonard Bernstein, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Placido Domingo, and Otto Klemperer, among many others, demonstrate.

Dudamel – who first conducted at the Bowl in 2005 — extols the “magic atmosphere of this place,” and asserts that “to play here as an artist in very special…I feel honored, I feel proud, I feel happy.”

“I always conduct with a baton,” he explains. “But with a chorus, I prefer to have connection with the hand,” so on this occasion, he eschews his stick, so his fingers can bring out the full expressiveness of his forces.

Dudamel is in his fifth season as Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where his contract has already been extended through 2018-19, the orchestra’s 100th season. He led this concert during his fourth summer season at the Hollywood Bowl.

Under his leadership, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, now in its 95th season, has expanded its diversified outreach through many projects, most notably Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA), influenced by Venezuela’s widely successful El Sistema. He is one of the most decorated conductors of his generation, examples of which include Musical America’s 2013 Musician of the Year, 2013 Gramophone Hall of Fame, 2010 Eugene McDermott Award in the Arts at MIT, 2009 l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres as a Chevalier and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people, and 2008 “Q Prize” from Harvard, along with several honorary doctorates.

The DVD and Blu-ray, released by C Major Entertainment, is distributed by Naxos of America.

Dudamel Conducts The Verdi Requiem at The Hollywood Bowl is a production of THIRTEEN PRODUCTIONS LLC for WNET, Los Angeles Philharmonic Association, Bernard Fleischer Moving Images, and C MAJOR Entertainment. It was directed for television by Michael Beyer, and produced by Bernhard Fleischer. For Great Performances, Richard R. Schilling and John Walker are producers; Bill O’Donnell is series producer; David Horn is executive producer.

Great Performances is funded by the Irene Diamond Fund, the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Arts Fund, The Agnes Varis Trust, The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust, The Starr Foundation, the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation, and PBS.

About WNET

As New York’s flagship public media provider and the parent company of THIRTEEN and WLIW21and operator of NJTV, WNET brings quality arts, education and public affairs programming to over 5 million viewers each week. WNET produces and presents such acclaimed PBS series as Nature,Great PerformancesAmerican MastersPBS NewsHour WeekendCharlie Rose and a range of documentaries, children’s programs, and local news and cultural offerings available on air and online. Pioneers in educational programming, WNET has created such groundbreaking series asGet the MathOh Noah! and Cyberchase and provides tools for educators that bring compelling content to life in the classroom and at home. WNET highlights the tri-state’s unique culture and diverse communities through NYC-ARTSReel 13NJTV News with Mike Schneider andMetroFocus, the multi-platform news magazine focusing on the New York region. WNET is also a leader in connecting with viewers on emerging platforms, including the THIRTEEN Explore iPad App where users can stream PBS content for free.

The Los Angeles Philharmonic Association

Under the vibrant leadership of Music Director Gustavo Dudamel, the LA Phil presents an inspiring array of music from all genres – orchestral, chamber and Baroque music, organ and celebrity recitals, new music, jazz, world music and pop – at two of L.A.’s iconic venues, Walt Disney Concert Hall (www.laphil.com) and the Hollywood Bowl (www.hollywoodbowl.com). The LA Phil’s season at Walt Disney Concert Hall extends from September through May, and throughout the summer at the Hollywood Bowl. With the preeminent Los Angeles Philharmonic at the foundation of its offerings, the LA Phil aims to enrich and transform lives through music, with a robust mix of artistic, education and community programs.

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GP at The Met: Werther: Sophie Koch Sings Charlotte’s Aria http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/sophie-koch-sings-charlottes-aria/2221/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/sophie-koch-sings-charlottes-aria/2221/#comments Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:30:11 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2221 View full post to see video)

French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch (Charlotte) sings Charlotte’s aria, “Va! Laisse couler mes larmes” from Act III of Massenet’s Werther. Also on stage is Lisette Oropesa (Sophie). Great Performances at the Met: Werther airs Sunday, July 20 at 12 pm on PBS. (In New York, THIRTEEN airs the opera at 12:30 pm).

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Lorin Maazel: In Memoriam (1930 – 2014) http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/announcements/lorin-maazel-in-memoriam-1930-2014/2216/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/announcements/lorin-maazel-in-memoriam-1930-2014/2216/#comments Mon, 14 Jul 2014 16:24:32 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2216 Maestro Lorin Maazel lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a New Year's Celebration Concert in 2005. Photo: Terry Linke

Maestro Lorin Maazel lead the Vienna Philharmonic in a New Year's Celebration Concert in 2005. Photo: Terry Linke

American conductor, composer and violinist Lorin Maazel (1930-2014) died July 13, 2014, at his home in Virginia from complications from pneumonia. The extraordinarily gifted maestro was a child prodigy who conducted his first concert at the age of nine. By 2013, he had worked with around 200 orchestras and in 2014, announced his retirement as music director of the Munich Philharmonic while still preparing for this year’s Castleton Festival, which he founded and still served as executive and artistic director.

He had a close relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic, and conducted the New Year’s Concert in the Golden Hall of the Vienna Musikverein (an annual tradition on Great Performances on PBS) no fewer than 11 times.

He served as New York Philharmonic Music Director from 2002 to 2009, and in February 2008, led the New York Philharmonic’s historic concert in Pyongyang, North Korea, which was broadcast on North Korean state television, internationally and on Great Performances.

A second-generation American, born in Paris, Mr. Maazel was raised and educated in the United States. He took his first violin lesson at age five and his first conducting lesson at seven. Between ages nine and 15 he conducted most of the major American orchestras. In 1953 he made his European conducting debut in Catania, Italy. Mr. Maazel was also an accomplished composer. His opera, “1984,” received its world premiere on May 3, 2005, at London’s Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

His last broadcast for Great Performances was the Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2013. That outdoors concert was recorded May 30 during a windy rainstorm. “Do I dare confess I loved every minute of this mad, fabulous evening?” wrote Maazel in a blog post afterwards.

Mr. Maazel also served as music director of the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra (1993-2002) and held positions as music director of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (1988-96); general manager and chief conductor of the Vienna Staatsoper (1982-84); music director of The Cleveland Orchestra (1972-82); and artistic director and chief conductor of the Deutsche Oper Berlin (1965-71). He was an honorary member of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra and an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic.

In addition to the programs mentioned above, Maestro Maazel was also featured on Great Performances in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Requiem (1985), Carnegie Hall Opening Night 1999, and most recently in 2013 with the Vienna Philharmonic Summer Night Concert 2013.

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GP at The Met: Werther: Jonas Kaufmann Sings “O Nature” http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/jonas-kaufmann-sings-o-nature/2209/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/jonas-kaufmann-sings-o-nature/2209/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 20:03:27 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2209 (View full post to see video)
In this final dress rehearsal excerpt of Act I of Jules Massenet’s Werther, tenor Jonas Kaufmann (Werther) sings “O nature.” Great Performances at the Met: Werther airs Sunday, July 20 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera beginning at 12:30 p.m.)

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GP at The Met: Werther: Photos: The Look of Unrequited Love in Werther http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/photos-the-look-of-unrequited-love-in-werther/2198/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/photos-the-look-of-unrequited-love-in-werther/2198/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2014 19:44:34 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2198 werther-photos-separate

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jules Massenet’s opera Werther is a tragic romance based on Goethe’s autobiographical novel The Sorrows of Young Werther, the epitome of the Sturm und Drang Romantic movement in German literature. These fine photos of the new Met production Werther show tenor Jonas Kaufmann (Werther) and mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch (Charlotte) expressing the throes of unrequited love. The star-crossed lovers Werther and Charlotte are doomed since Charlotte promised her dying mother she would marry Albert. Great Performances at the Met: Werther airs July 20 on PBS (check local listings).

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's "Werther." Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as the title character in Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Jonas Kaufmann as the title character in Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Charlotte (Sophie Koch) is engaged to Albert (David Bižić) in Massenet's Werther. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

Charlotte (Sophie Koch) is engaged to Albert (David Bižić) in Massenet's Werther. Photo by Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera

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Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as Werther and Sophie Koch as Charlotte in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as the title character in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

Jonas Kaufmann as the title character in Massenet's Werther. Photo: Ken Howard/Metropolitan Opera.

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GP at The Met: Werther: About the Opera http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/about-the-opera/2194/ http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/episodes/gp-at-the-met-werther/about-the-opera/2194/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 15:35:25 +0000 knightc http://www.pbs.org/wnet/gperf/?p=2194 (View full post to see video)
Tenor Jonas Kaufmann stars in the title role of the tortured poet in the Met’s new production of Jules Massenet’s Werther on Great Performances at the Met Sunday, July 20 at 12 p.m. on PBS. (In New York, THIRTEEN will air the opera beginning at 12:30 p.m.)

Richard Eyre, whose hit production of Bizet’s Carmen premiered at the Met in 2009, directs the new staging, which is conducted by Alain Altinoglu. French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch, in her Met debut is Charlotte, the object of Werther’s unrequited love, is part of the cast that includes Lisette Oropesa as Sophie, Serbian bass-baritone David Bižić in his Met debut as Albert, and Jonathan Summers as Le Bailli.

The production features sets and costumes by Tony Award winner Rob Howell, lighting design by Peter Mumford, video design by Wendall Harrington, and choreography by Sara Erde in her Met debut.

Jonas Kaufmann has sung the role of Werther to acclaim with Paris Opera in 2010 and with the Vienna State Opera in 2011, both times opposite Sophie Koch as Charlotte. Sophie Koch is one of the world’s leading interpreters of Charlotte, having sung the role with Paris Opera; the Vienna State Opera; Madrid’s Teatro Real; the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; and, last season, Lyric Opera of Chicago.

The Wall Street Journal praised “…Mr. Eyre’s fiercely precise directing and the riveting performances of tenor Jonas Kaufmann as the unhappy Werther and mezzo Sophie Koch—making her house debut—as Charlotte, the woman he loves.”

The New York Times concurred: “Kaufmann, currently the most in-demand, versatile and exciting tenor in opera… is ideal in the role. He sings with dark colorings, melting warmth, virile intensity and powerful top notes. French mezzo-soprano Sophie Koch… brings a plush, strong voice and aching vulnerability to Charlotte…Mr. Eyre deserves unreserved credit for the detailed and involving performances he draws from his cast.”

Soprano Patrice Racette hosts the broadcast.

Werther was originally seen live in movie theaters on March 15, 2014, as part of the groundbreaking The Met: Live in HD series, which transmits live performances to more than 2,000 movie theaters and performing arts centers in 66 countries around the world. The transmission reached a record-breaking 15 million viewers.

Great Performances at the Met is a presentation of THIRTEEN Productions LLC for WNET, one of America’s most prolific and respected public media providers.

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