Throughout the history of the Castell de Peralada Festival, audiences have savoured countless nights where symphonic music has shone with its own star. The list of conductors and orchestras that have performed at the Alt Empordà festival is as long as it is surprising. This year, the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse and its acclaimed music director Tugan Sokhiev will be making their début at the Festival. Music director and conductor also of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre, Sokhiev is one of the conductors most in demand in opera houses and orchestras all over the world. His arrival ten years ago as conductor of the French orchestra responsible for the symphony season at the historic Halle aux Grains and for the opera and choreography season at the Théâtre du Capitole have led to the orchestra being regularly invited to appear at a great many festivals of recognised international acclaim. In Peralada, they will be performing Prèlude à l’Après-Midi d’un Faune by Claude Debussy, Pictures at an Exhibition (with orchestration by Maurice Ravel) by Modest Mussorgsky and Four Last Songs (Vier letzte Lieder) by Richard Strauss. For the occasion, acclaimed soprano of an intense musicality and vocal flexibility Iréne Theorin, who performed the leading role in Turandot last year in the festival's new opera production under the stage management of Mario Gas, is appearing to perform the German composer's songs for the first time in Peralada. An evening that will no doubt live on in the memory of music lovers.
Iréne THEORIN, soprano
ORCHESTRE NATIONAL DU CAPITOLE DE TOULOUSE
Tugan SOKHIEV, conductor
Claude DEBUSSY (1862-1918)
Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune
Richard STRAUSS (1864-1949)
Four Last Songs (Vier letzte Lieder)
1 – Frühling (Spring), from a poem by Hesse.
2 – September, from a poem by Hesse.
3 – Beim Schlafengehen (Going to Sleep), from a poem by
4 – Im Abendrot (At Sunset), from a poem by Einchendorff.
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839-1881)
Pictures at an Exhibition (with orchestration by Maurice Ravel)
"The introduction bears the name 'Promenade'.
I- The Gnome. A sketch showing a little gnome approaching, clumsily running on his short crooked legs.
II- The Old Castle. A medieval castle before which (sic) a troubadour sings his song.
III- Tuileries. Children's Quarrel after Games (sic). An avenue in the garden of the Tuileries, with a swarm of children and nurses.
IV- Cattle. A Polish cart on enormous wheels, drawn by oxen
V- Ballet of Unhatched Chicks. Hartmann's design for the theatre performance of a scene from the ballet Trilby.
VI- Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuÿle. Two young Polish Jews, one rich and the other poor.
VII- Limoges. The market. Women quarrelling violently in Limoges market.
VIII- Catacombs. In this sketch, Hartmann shows himself examining the interior of the Paris catacombs by the dim light of a lantern. [In the original manuscript, Mussorgsky had written, about the Andante in H minor (B minor): "The creative spirit of the dead Hartmann leads me towards the skulls, invokes them, the skulls begin to glow softly inside."]
IX- The Hut on Hen's Legs. Hartmann's sketch depicted a hut in the shape of a clock, where Baba Yaga the witch lived. The chicken's legs are used to attract anyone who approaches it (such as lost children). Mussorgsky added the witch's flight as she walks carrying a stone mortar in which to grind children's bones.
X- Kiev's Bogatyr Gates. Hartmann's sketch shows his building project for an entrance gate to the city of Kiev, in the ancient Russian massive style, with a cupola shaped like a Slavonic helmet." (in-Moussorgsky/ MD Calvocoressi. Felix Alcan ed., Paris 1908).