Renee Fleming, John Waters, Claire Bloom, and Wagner spice BSO's 2012-13 season
For her sixth season as BSO music director, Marin Alsop will zero in on several themes. Movie music is one, which explains why the season announcement was made Tuesday at the Charles Theater.
Alsop will conduct the orchestra in live soundtracks to three acclaimed films: Charlie Chaplin's "Modern Times" (post-"The Artist," this presentation of a silent movie may be a bigger event than expected); Sergei Eisenstein's "Alexander Nevsky," with its gripping score by Prokofiev; and "West Side Story," the brilliant Leonard Bernstein musical. Bernstein's contribution to the movies will also be acknowledged with his Symphonic Suite from "On the Waterfront."
In another nod to cinema, the 25th anniversary of the kinetic Waters hit, "Hairspray," will be celebrated with a concert version of the musical it inspired. This event, part of the BSO SuperPops series and led by principal pops conductor Jack Everly, will feature Waters as narrator.
American music has been a priority of Alsop's from the start, and next season will contain a fair share. The conductor will give particular attention to ...
Alsop will conduct back-to-back programs of American music to launch the subscription season. Repertoire includes Copland's Symphony No. 3 and Bernstein's response to President Kennedy's assassination, Symphony No. 3, "Kaddish," with the exceptional actress Claire Bloom as narrator.
The season will be dotted with contemporary works, among them John Adams' "Shaker Loops," which will be performed on a program with Jennifer Higdon's "Concerto 4-3" and Prokofiev's Symphony No. 4 that the BSO will also perform at Carnegie Hall. "Ansel Adams: America," a multimedia piece with music by Dave and Chris Brubeck, which the BSO commissioned in 2010, will be reprised.The orchestra will add its voice to the global commemoration of the Wagner bicentennial in 2013. In addition to an orchestral synthesis of the "Ring" (arranged by Henk de Vlieger) and excerpts from "Tristan" and "Die Meistersinger," Alsop will conduct the complete Act 1 from "Die Walkure," with a cast that includes the superb bass-baritone Eric Owens.
The nod to Wagner will also include a semi-staged play with music, in the tradition of "Analyze This: Mahler and Freud" from last season. "A Composer Fit for a King," by writer/director Didi Balle, looks at the curious relationship of Wagner and his patron, "mad" King Ludwig II.
Fleming, one of the most gifted and popular sopranos of our time, starts the season off with a gala concert Sept. 15, conducted by Alsop (program to be announced).
The guest soloist roster for the rest of 2012-13 includes: pianists Garrick Ohlsson (Rachmaninoff 3rd), Stephen Hough (Liszt 2nd), Benedetto Lupo (Bartok 3rd), Jean-Philippe Collard (Saint-Saens 3rd) and Simon Trpceski (Rachmaninoff 4th); violinists Midori (Bartok 2nd) and Gil Shaham (Barber); and organist Felix Hell (Poulenc).
Guests on the BSO podium include Hannu Lintu in a program featuring Sibelius' Second Symphony; Juano Mena with Tchaikovsky's Fourth; Yan Pascal Tortelier, with Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition" and Hindemith's Concert Music for Strings and Brass; Mario Venzago with Franck's D minor Symphony and Elgar's Cello Concerto (with Sol Gabetta); Ignat Solzhenitsyn with Mozart's Requiem and the BSO's first performance of "Tabula Rasa" by the mystic Estonian composer Arvo Part; and Carlos Kalmar, with Prokofiev's "Romeo and Juliet" and a work by young Thai composer Narong Prangcharoen.
Greatest hits are woven through the season. Alsop will, for example, lead Beethoven's Fifth, Dvorak's Eighth, Brahms' Piano Concertto No. 2 (with Denis Kozhukhin), Saint-Saen's "Organ" Symphony, and Orff's "Carmina Burana."
Mahler's Symphony No. 1 will be conducted by Christoph Konig in his BSO debut, Beethoven's "Eroica" by Markus Stenz, another BSO debut. Gilbert Varga will conduct Brahms' Symphony No. 1.
The season also offers several pieces that do not come around often, such as Schumann's Violin Concerto (with Kolja Blacher); Rachmaninoff's "Isle of the Dead" and some of his Etudes-Tableaux orchestrated by Respighi (Alsop conducting); and Silvestre Revueltas' "Sensemaya" (Alsop).
In addition to "Hairspray," the SuperPops lineup for 2012-13 includes a music from James Bond movies, salutes to Motown and 1950s TV, a Broadway potpourri, a holiday program, and a concert by the Canadian Tenors.
PHOTO: DECCA/ANDREW ECCLES