Season Opener: Strauss & Mahler One

Fri 4 Oct 2019, 7.30PM
Usher Hall, Edinburgh

R. Strauss Don Juan
Berg Seven Early Songs
Interval
Mahler Symphony No1 Titan

Thomas Søndergård Conductor
Karen Cargill Mezzo-Soprano

A flurry of strings, a blast of trumpets: Richard Strauss’ Don Juan opens with one of the most dramatic flourishes in musical history. Gustav Mahler took a different approach and began his youthful First Symphony with the creation of the world itself. But they both knew how to make an orchestra sound sensational, and along with Berg’s seven lush songs – sung by the great Scottish mezzo Karen Cargill – Thomas Søndergård will make this an ear-tingling, heart-pounding start to our new Season.

Supported by the RSNO Conductors’ Circle

6.45PM: RSNO Music Director Thomas Søndergård in conversation with RSNO Director of Concerts and Engagement Bill Chandler in the Upper Circle Bar.

Tickets

£42, £32.50, £24.50, £19, £13

Discounts

Under 16s free (max 2 per paying adult); Under 26s / Mature Students £6 in advance, £8 after 5pm on the day; Unemployed £6; Disabled patrons and their carers 50% off; Group discounts available

Box Office

0131 228 1155

Featured Artists

Thomas Søndergård

Thomas Søndergård Conductor

Danish conductor Thomas Søndergård is Music Director of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, after six seasons as Principal Guest Conductor. He served as Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales (BBCNOW) from September 2012 – August 2018, and prior to this, as Principal Conductor and Musical Advisor of the Norwegian Radio Orchestra for three seasons.

Thomas has conducted many leading orchestras, including London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra, Göteborgs Symfoniker, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and Gewandhausorchester Leipzig, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Bamberger Symphoniker; leading tours with Junge Deutsche Philharmonie and European Union Youth Orchestra; Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Nederlands Philharmonisch Orkest, Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg, Brussels Philharmonic; Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National d’Ile de France; Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Houston Symphony and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

The 2018/19 season includes his debuts with Chicago Symphony Orchestra joined by Alexander Gavrylyuk, New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Orchestre National de France and Tapiola Sinfonietta. He makes return visits to Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Danish National Symphony Orchestra, the orchestra of the Royal Danish Academy Copenhagen, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot) and Deutsche Oper Berlin (Berlioz’s Romeo and Juliet). Plans with RSNO include tours to China and the United States, premieres of new commissions and Marsalis’ Violin Concerto with Nicola Benedetti.

Recent highlights include debuts with Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin, Bern Symphony Orchestra, Gurzenich-Orchester Köln, SWR Baden-Baden, Orchestre Philharmonique de Strasbourg and return visits to Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and the revival of The Magic Flute with Norwegian Opera.

A passionate supporter of the music of Carl Nielsen, his most recent programme with Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra (Symphony No. 5) received wide praise as “equal of the great pioneers of Nielsen interpretation… It’s harder to imagine a finer performance of this remarkable symphony” (Dagens Nyheter). As part of the 2015 anniversary celebrations of both Sibelius and Nielsen he conducted a wide variety of works by these two composers with many leading orchestras. In 2019 he will participate in a special concert to celebrate Nielsen’s work with the Royal Danish Academy of Music Copenhagen.

Thomas is also an experienced opera conductor at home in mainstream and contemporary repertoire. Previous opera includes Bayerische Staatsoper (Turandot), Norwegian Opera (Die Zauberflöte), Deutsche Oper Berlin (world premiere of Scartazzini’s Edward II) and Tosca, Turandot (Nina Stemme) and Les dialogues des Carmelites for Kungliga Operan (Royal Swedish Opera). He was described as “a sensation” at his debut with the Royal Danish Opera conducting Ruders' opera Kafka's Trial: "He is one of the best things that has happened to the art of opera for many years" and subsequent productions there have included Il barbiere di Siviglia, Le Nozze di Figaro, La bohème, Cunning Little Vixen and Il viaggio a Reims.

Releases with BBCNOW include Sibelius Symphonies 1, 2, 6 & 7 and most recently a disc which shines light on Sibelius’ tone poems and theatre music, featuring Finlandia and Valse Triste (Linn Records). Other noteworthy recordings include Vilde Frang's celebrated first recording for EMI, and Ruders’ Piano Concerto No. 2 on Bridge Records which was nominated for a Gramophone Award in 2011. In 2011 he was awarded the prestigious Queen Ingrid Foundation Prize for services to Music in Denmark. Due for release shortly are the Lutoslawski and Dutilleux cello concertos with Johannes Moser and Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin for Pentatone.

Karen  Cargill

Karen Cargill Mezzo-Soprano

Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was the winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award.

Forthcoming concert highlights include Gurrelieder with the Orquesta Nacional de Espana and David Afkham; Bruckner Mass in F minor with the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and Mariss Jansons; Mahler Symphony No2 with the Hong Kong Philarmonic and Jaap van Zweden and also with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla; Brangaene in concert for Montpellier Opera and Das Lied von der Erde and La Damnation de Faust for DSO Berlin and Robin Ticciati.

On the opera stage she will appear as Waltraute Götterdämmerung at the Royal Opera Covent Garden and has three return invitations to the Metropolitan Opera, New York with roles including Erda and Mere Marie.

Karen regularly sings with the Boston, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Chicago, Rotterdam and Berlin Philharmonic Orchestras, Dresden Staatskapelle, London Symphony and Philharmonic Orchestras and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra working with conductors including Donald Runnicles, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Bernard Haitink, Sir Simon Rattle, Daniele Gatti, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Harding, Robin Ticciati and Edward Gardner. Opera highlights have included appearances at the Royal Opera, Covent Garden; Metropolitan Opera, New York; Deutsche Opera, Berlin and Glyndebourne Festival with roles including Waltraute Götterdämmerung, Brangaene Tristan and Isolde; Mere Marie Dialogues of the Carmelites and Judith Bluebeard’s Castle. Karen appears regularly at the BBC Proms and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Highlights with her regular recital partner Simon Lepper include appearances at Wigmore Hall London, the Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Kennedy Centre Washington and Carnegie Hall, as well as regular recitals for BBC Radio 3. With Simon she recently recorded a critically acclaimed recital of lieder by Alma and Gustav Mahler for Linn Records for whom she has also recorded Berlioz Les nuits d’été and La mort de Cléopatre with Robin Ticciati and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

In July 2018 Karen was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. She is also Patron of the National Girls’ Choir of Scotland.

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