“The fireworks have ended. They did not last long.” http://www.youtube.com
These are the last words of Rufus Wainwright’s opera “Prima Donna”. The premiere is this afternoon at the Kodály Center in Pecs (Southern Hungary), second performance on June 28 in Budapest with a live HD broadcast on Arte Concert. Check out the cast here: http://www.armelfestival.org
Watch out for the broadcast details on FaceBook and on Twitter! Until then here is a concert video from Paris with the fully orchestrated version of the song. http://www.youtube.com
I have spent a lot of time this past month with wonderful “prima donnas” and talented singers in productions of the following operas:
Kamillo Lendvay: The respectable Prostitute
Gyorgy Ligeti: Le grand macabre
Mate Bella: Spring Awakening
Gabor Peter Mezei: By the Catafalque
Arpad Solti: La Violetta
After “MagyarFeszt” (a festival of Hungarian operas organized by the State Opera), I was invited to teach a conducting master class with Peter Eötvös at his Contemporary Music Institute. It was a great week with the Danubia Orchestra and the music of Wolfgang Rihm and Zoltan Kodály. Next week, with the June 28 performance of “Prima Donna” opens the 10th Armel Opera Festival and Competition. I will also conduct the final gala concert of the Armel Festival with award winning singers from France and Hungary. It’s going to be a nice change of pace with music by Mozart, Donizetti, Bizet, Gounod and others.
I am about to take another brief break from Eötvös and Bartók, and take a short trip to London to conduct Mozart’s Magic Flute with the staging of Róbert Alföldi http://alfoldirobert.eu
as part of the Armel Opera Festival Days at the Hackney Empire Theater.
This is going to be my London debut.
The director has placed Mozart’s magical opera-characters between the walls of a mental institution, where everybody has his or her own mental issue. Magically (pun intended) this idea works really well and highlights some of the more interesting twists and turns of the original story. Just think about it for a second: who is the bad guy here? Is it really the Queen of the Night or is it Sarastro? Is everything black and white like we would like it to be?
Check out the full Armel program at the Hackney Empire here including the ‘In Memory of 1956’ concert program on October 23 conducted by Adam Fischer http://hackneyempire.co.uk
On July 9, after about 8 years, I conducted the Lanaudière Festival Orchestra again. It was great to return to conduct these amazing musicians, to collaborate with Alain Lefèvre on the piano http://wikipedia.org
and to enjoy the ambiance of the amphitheater in Joliette, Quebec. Our program was the opening performance of the Lanaudière Festival 2016, an exciting mix of pieces by Tchaikovsky and Respighi. http://lanaudiere.org
The rehearsals were held downtown Montréal, which gave me a chance to enjoy the Montréal Jazz Festival programs every evening and also to revisit some of my favorite places in one of my favorite cities ever.
After enjoying a brief family vacation my summer season continues with free park concerts in Portland Oregon. Lajos Balogh and I share the concerts this year starting today at Cathedral Park. Tomorrow (Sunday) there will be an all brass program presented at Laurelhurst Park. More symphonic and string concerts to come next weekend and the weekend after. Check out this year’s programs! http://portlandfestivalsymphony.org
Based on popular demand Armel Opera Festival is presenting a fun 2 hour program every day at the famous Sziget Festival again this year. Scenes from Mozart’s The Magic Flute (staging by Róbert Alföldi), contemporary music improvisation with audience participation, symphonic world music with Hungarian stars, and a live crash course in orchestra conducting will be on the menu. Come and join us in August! http://szigetfestival.com
I feel really fortunate that I got to spend the last 10+ days in the U.S. It is always amazing to witness historic changes real time. No matter what your opinion is on the three decisions made by SCOTUS, I am sure you all agree that they qualify most definitely for a historic event.
When not following history in the making I spent my time writing Clarinet Symphony for the Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra and making sketches for a libretto for a possible new opera.
This week I am back in Hungary. I am honored to be on the Jury of the Final Competition of Armel Festival. http://armelfestival.org/en/
Five performances from five countries with five you singers in competition roles. The festival starts with The Magic Flute directed by Robert Alfoldi. http://wikipedia.org
The performance is officially sold out. You can all watch it live on MEZZO TV http://concert.arte.tv/fr
and you can also vote on your favorite performance after watching all of them. You might be able to catch an interview with me in one of the intermissions.
Stay tuned for more posts on Armel 2015!