Three Orchestras from London

Musikfest Berlin

Press release from 10 December 2018

The 2019 Musikfest Berlin will feature the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, conducted by Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the London Symphony Orchestra with its Music Director Sir Simon Rattle and the BBC Symphony Orchestra with its Chief Conductor Sakari Orama, each presenting premieres of a different kind. The international orchestra festival is organised by Berliner Festspiele in cooperation with the Foundation Berliner Philharmoniker.

Sir John Eliot Gardiner, the Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, founded by the conductor, and the Monteverdi Choir will present a semi-staged performance of “Benvenuto Cellini”, Hector Berlioz’ first opera, at the start of the 2019 Musikfest Berlin on 31 August at the Berlin Philharmonie. Berlioz died in Paris on 8 March 1869. On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the composer’s death, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, a renowned Berlioz-expert, chose this special work, which underwent a difficult history of adaptation and production, to bring it back to the stage in a version of his own. Berlioz’ first stage work is significant for his reception, both because of its composition and its dramaturgy, since the scenes from the life of sculptor Benvenuto Cellini may well be regarded as a biographical mirror of the composer’s own life. “Benvenuto Cellini” (1834-1837) was premiered on 10 September 1838 in Paris, the first performance in Berlin took place in 1896 at Königliche Hofoper Unter den Linden, today’s Staatsoper, and the work has only rarely been featured in operatic repertoires since then. Thus, the performance of “Benvenuto Cellini” at the 2019 Musikfest Berlin promises to be a premiere for the 21st century audience.

The concert of the London Symphony Orchestra at the 2019 Musikfest Berlin will be a kind of premiere as well: For the first time, the orchestra will perform at the Philharmonie with its Music Director Sir Simon Rattle since he left the Spree for the Themes. Rattle combines the song cycle “let me tell you” for soprano and orchestra by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen with the orchestra work “Éclairs sur l’Au-Delà” (“Lightning-Flashes over the Beyond”) by Olivier Messiaen. This composition orchestration of 128 instruments transcends all limits and was premiered as a comissioned work for the 125th jubilee of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra on 5 November 1992 after the death of Messiaen. This work stands for a sounding legacy and monument by this great French composer, whose oeuvre shaped the music of his time and of the following generation.

The BBC Symphony Orchestra is going to perform at Musikfest Berlin for the third time, but his year, the orchestra and its Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo will bring a world premiere to Berlin: a new work for voice and orchestra by Louis Andriessen. The Musikfest Berlin 2019 will focus on this leading composer from the Netherlands, who will celebrate his 80th birthday on 6 June 2019. In addition Håkan Hardenberger, renowned expert performer of contemporary music, will play the trumpet concerto “…miramondo multiplo…” by Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth (*4 August 1968). The BBC Symphony Orchestra has been celebrated twice before for its interpretations of 20th century musical works at Musikfest Berlin: In 2009 at the festival’s opening with it performance of Iannis Xenakis’ “Nommos Gamma” and “Aïs” and in 2012 for its concertante performance of John Adams’ opera “Nixon in China”.

31 August 2019, 19:00
Philharmonie Berlin

Hector Berlioz “Benvenuto Cellini”
Opéra Comique – semi-staged performance
in French with German surtitles

Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique & Monteverdi Choir
Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Conductor
and Soloists

5 September 2019, 20:00
Philharmonie Berlin

Modest Mussorgsky “Night on Bald Mountain”
Louis Andriessen New Work for Voice and Orchestra, World Premiere
Olga Neuwirth “miramondo multiplo…” for Solo Trumpet and Orchestra
Jean Sibelius Symphony Nr. 5 in E-flat Major, op. 82

Nora Fischer, Singing
Håkan Hardenberger, Trumpet
BBC Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo, Conductor

11 September 2019, 20:00
Philharmonie Berlin

Hans Abrahamsen “let me tell you”
Lied cycle for Soprano and Orchestra, based on texts by Paul Griffith
Olivier Messiaen “Èclairs sur L’Au-delà” for large Orchestra

Barbara Hannigan, Soprano
London Symphony Orchestra
Sir Simon Rattle, Conductor

Ticket information

Ticket sales from 6 December 2018, 14:00
Individual ticket prices from € 15 to € 120
20% ticket price discount on all three events together / +49 30 254 89 100

The 2019 Musikfest Berlin will take place from 30 August to 19 September; the full programme will be published in April 2019, ticket sales will also begin in April 2019.

Press photos are available for download on our website.
Further information:

Press contact: Patricia Hofmann

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