Thursday, April 28, 2016

Paris--April 2016

Paris--April 2016

Philharmonie de Paris located in the 19ème

Inside the Grande Salle--Philharmonie de Paris

Monday, April 11--Philharmonie de Paris

 Only a few days before I was to leave for Paris a single ticket became available for a performance by Hélène Grimaud. I had only seconds to make the purchase. It is highly unusual for me to attend a performance on the day of arrival after an overnight flight. Little did I realize that I was going to have the experience of a life time: 

Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia 

Sir Antonio Pappano, direction
Hélène Grimaud, piano

Giacchino Rossini 
   Ouverture de La Cenerentola
Ludwig van Beethoven 
   Concerto pour piano No. 4

Camille Saint-Saëns
   Symphonie No. 3 Avec orgue [with organ]
   Daniele Rossi, organ 

Tuesday, April 12--Philharmonie de Paris

London Symphony Orchestra

Sir Simon Rattle, direction
Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Olivier Messiaen
  Couleurs de la Cité céleste


Anton Bruckner
  Symphonie No. 8  


Wednesday, April 13--Opéra Bastille

Roméo et Juliette  (Ballet de L'Opéra) after Shakespeare's play
Music--Sergei Prokofiev

Choreography--Rudolf Noureev
    Ballet created for the Paris Opera Ballet, first performed        October 19, 1984

In 1977 Rudolf Nureyev created a new version of Romeo and Juliet for the London Festival Ballet, today's English National Ballet. He performed the lead role of Romeo, with British ballerina Patricia Ruanne creating the role of Juliet. As a partnership, they toured the production internationally. It continues to be a popular ballet in the English National Ballet repertoire. 

Orchestra de l'Opéra national de Paris
Simon Hewett--Direction Musicale/Conductor

Roméo          Mathias Heymann
Juliette         Léonore Baulac

Place de Bastille

William Shakespeare's most performed play, along with Hamlet, was not adapted until the 20th century into a ballet. Sergei Prokofiev first had the idea of composing a score which was choreographed by Leonid Lavrosky in 1935. His magnificent Romeo & Juliette would go on to inspire numerous other versions, including that of Kenneth MacMillan, first performed in 1965 with Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn in the leading roles.

Rudolf Nureyev's version was added to the Paris Opera Ballet repertoire in 1984. His version uses much of the ballet he had premiered in London in 1977. He scrupulously followed Sergei Prokofiev's score, which is faithful to Shakespeare's play, expanding the role of Romeo, whom he described as a "young boy who becomes a man", opposite a passionate Juliette, who also finds herself tragically entering adulthood.

With Ezio Frigerio's sumptuous Italian-Renaissance-inspired sets and costumes, Nureyev succeeded in recreating the sophistication and sensuousness of the Elizabethan drama, but also all its cruelty.

Friday, April 15--Théâtre des Champs-Elysées 

Philharmonia Orchestra
Vladimir Ashkenazy---direction
Boris Berezvsky---piano

All Rachmaninov program

Vocalise op. 34
Piano Concerto No. 1 pour piano et orchestre en fa dièse (F sharp) mineur


Symphony No. 2 en mí (E) mineur op. 27

In this very concert hall in the autumn of 2010, the Philharmonia and Vladimir Ashkenazy performed a Rachmaninov cycle over three evenings, offering a thoughtful selection of works retracing the career of this composer who was the heir to the great tradition of the Russian school but also a visionary of the nascent musical forms of the 20th century. As a young man, pianist Vladimir Ashkenazy spent a long time exploring the twists and turns of this protean body of work. Now as a conductor, he continues to devote himself to Rachmaninov in the concert hall and on CD.

Ashkenazy has produced a wonderful recording of the complete Rachmaninov symphonies and piano concerti with the Concertgebouw. [I could not find these recordings on youtube.]

Vladimir Ashkenazy performs Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No. 1--London Symphony Orchestra, André Previn, conductor


I was surprised to see a gigantic Ferris wheel in the Place de la Concorde. The French call it Le Grand Rue.

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