George Frideric Handel - Teseo : Moscow State Philharmonic Society

Rachmaninov Concert Hall (Philharmonia-2)

Fifth Symphony

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    George Frideric Handel - Teseo

    April 25, 2017

    Tchaikovsky Concert Hall

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    Olivia Vermeulen (mezzo-soprano)
    Ann Hallenberg (mezzo-soprano)
    Kateryna Kasper (soprano, Ukraine-Germany)
    Owen Willetts (countertenor)
    Konstantin Derri (countertenor)
    Katharina Ruckgaber (soprano, Germany)
    Igor Podoplelov (baritone)
    State Chamber Orchestra of Russia
    Federico Maria Sardelli, conductor
    Teseo – the opera in concert performance


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    Opera Masterpieces

    Olivia Vermeulen

    Dutch mezzo-soprano Olivia Vermeulen has established herself in recent years as a versatile soloist of international standing. She made her much-acclaimed debut at the Berlin State Opera taking the lead role of Turno in Agostino Steffani's L’Amor vien dal Destino under René Jacobs. In addition, she has toured with the Budapest Festival Orchestra under Iván Fischer with Mozart's Die Zauberflöte to Budapest, Amsterdam, London and Berlin, further appearing in Schumann's Szenen aus Goethes Faust at Barbican Hall under Daniel Harding and the London Symphony Orchestra. She is equally in demand as a performer of contemporary music: in this capacity, she made her debut at the Ruhrtriennale in 2017 with the world premiere of Kein Licht by Philippe Manoury based on texts by Elfriede Jelinek. As part of the Musikfest Berlin, Olivia gave a guest performance with Musikfabrik Köln in the Berliner Philharmonie under Peter Eötvös, and is a regular guest at the renowned Kissinger Sommer where she has premiered songs by Wolfgang Rihm. Furthermore, she has been invited by the Bregenz Festival to perform the role of Saiko in the world premiere of Thomas Larcher’s The Hunting Gun.

    Engagements of the past seasons comprise her role debut as Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni as well as Cherubino in Le Nozze di Figaro, both on tour with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under René Jacobs. She appeared as a soloist in the frame of Salzburg’s Mozart Week along with Jörg Widmann, and sang Mozart’s Great Mass in C Minor under Masaaki Suzuki at the Théâtre du Champs-Elysées as well as at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw. Olivia made her debut at Opéra National de Paris singing the role of Abel in Alessandro Scarlatti’s Il Primo Omicidio under René Jacobs, and appeared as Fjodor in a concert performance of Modest Mussorgsky’s Boris Godunov at the Concertgebouw Amsterdam under the baton of Pablo Heras-Casado.

    Further highlights include Ramiro in Mozart’s La Finta Giardiniera with Andrew Parrott and the Munich Radio Orchestra, the title role in Handel’s Teseo under Federico Maria Sardelli in Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall, as well as the title role in Vivaldi’s Arsilda at the Grand Theatre Luxembourg, Opéra de Lille and Versailles’ Opéra Royal under Václav Luks. Olivia also sang Annio in Mozart’s La Clemenza di Tito under Stefano Montanari in Moscow, Cherubino in an Aix-en-Provence Festival production at the Opéra de Dijon under Jonathan Cohen, and gave a guest appearance in the same production under Andreas Spering in Bahrain. Further central roles of her operatic repertoire include Ariodante (Ariodante), Sesto (Giulio Cesare), Idamante (Idomeneo), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), Angelina (La Cenerentola), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel) and L'Enfant (L’enfant et les sortilèges).

    A passionate exponent of the Classical and Baroque repertoire, Olivia Vermeulen has performed in Bach’s St Matthew Passion and Mozart’s Great Mass in C minor under Masaaki Suzuki in Tokyo (the latter a Gramophone award-winning CD released by BIS Records), and has extensively toured with Bach’s Christmas Oratorio under Helmuth Rilling. In the frame of the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival, Olivia appeared as a soloist in Mendelssohn’s version (1841) of Bach’s St Matthew Passion in Lübeck, with Masaaki Suzuki conducting the NDR Chor and NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester. The collaboration with Masaaki Suzuki and his Bach Collegium Japan furthermore led her to Japan for a series of concerts with Handel’s Messiah. A concert presenting excerpts from Strauss' Ariadne auf Naxos under Iván Fischer in Budapest and Vicenza was one of the last highlights of the past season before the worldwide spreading of Covid-19 resulted in a great number of cancellations.

    A particular focus of the 2021/22 season lies on the concert and the Lied genre – the latter also as a continuation of her much-acclaimed solo album Dirty Minds which was awarded the Jahrespreis der Deutschen Schallplattenkritik and the Dutch Edison Klassiek Prize – with appearances at the Oxford Lieder Festival, the International Lied Festival Zeist, the Gesellschaftshaus Magdeburg, the International Art Center deSingel in Antwerp and the Brucknerhaus Linz. Olivia will furthermore appear as a soloist in Bach's St Matthew Passion with the Orchestra of the Eighteenth Century and the Residentie Orkest, whilst at the Internationale Barocktage Sift Melk she will explore “Nicolò Grimaldi's traces between South and North” along with flutist Max Volbers and his ensemble. In addition, after having toured as Cherubino in Le nozze di Figaro and Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, she will complete her personal Mozart-Da Ponte trilogy with her debut as Dorabella in Così fan tutte with the Freiburg Baroque Orchestra under the direction of René Jacobs.

    Olivia Vermeulen has appeared at festivals such as the Munich Opera Festival, the Rheingau Music Festival, the RheinVokal Festival, the Musikfest Stuttgart and the Handel Festival in Halle, working with conductors such as Philippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Iván Fischer, Markus Stenz, Marek Janowski, Andrea Marcon, Franz Brüggen, Reinhard Goebel, Michael Schønwandt, Alessandro de Marchi, Konrad Junghänel, Tomáš Netopil, Enoch zu Guttenberg and Lothar Zagrosek.

    Olivia Vermeulen studied singing in Detmold with Mechtild Böhme and in Berlin with Julie Kaufmann. She took part in various Lieder classes given by Wolfram Rieger and Axel Bauni, and participated in masterclasses with Andreas Scholl, Thomas Quasthoff, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Irwin Gage. She currently receives vocal coaching from Margreet Honig.

    Numerous radio and CD recordings document the output of this versatile singer. Her first solo album entitled Dirty Minds has been released with the Dutch label Challenge Records in February 2020. On that occasion, Olivia Vermeulen also gave her highly-acclaimed recital debut at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw.

    State Chamber Orchestra of Russia

    The orchestra was founded by Rudolf Barshai, a world-class violist and founding member of Borodin Quartet. Barshai engaged young music talents from Moscow and formed the first chamber orchestra in the USSR that fashioned the European tradition (specifically, Wilhelm Stross Chamber Orchestra from West Germany that had performed in Moscow in September 1955). Moscow Chamber Orchestra made its orchestral debut on 5 March, 1956 at Small Hall of Moscow Conservatory. The orchestra immediately won recognition from the public in Russia and abroad. Soon after this the Orchestra becomes integrated as part of Moscow Philharmonic Society.

    “The chamber orchestra presents an amazing perfection of music and performance. Unity of history and contemporaneity is distinctive for musicians of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra: without distorting the text and spirit of early music, musicians make it modern and full of youth for our patrons,” – wrote Dmitri Shostakovich, who called the orchestra “the best chamber orchestra in the world.” 

    In 1950–1960 the Orchestra featured such famous violin players as Boris Shulgin (MCO first violinist ), Lev Markiz, Vladimir Rabei, Andrei Abramenkov (violin), Heinrich Talalyan (viola), Alla Vasilieva and Boris Dobrohotov (cello), Leopold Andreyev (bass), Alexandr Korneyev and Naum Zaidel (flute), Albert Zajonc (oboe), Boris Afanasiev (French horn), Sergei Dijur (organ and harpsichord) who performed in the orchestra under the baton of Rudolf Barshai. 

    Aside from performing and recording numerous pieces of European Baroque music, Russian and Western classical music, works by international composers of the 20th century (some of compositions were first performed in the USSR), the Orchestra actively promoted music of contemporary Soviet composers: Nikolai Rakov, Yuri Levitin, Georgi Sviridov, Kara Karaev, Mieczysław Weinberg, Alexandr Lokshin, German Galynin, Revol Bunin, Boris Tchaikovsky, Edison Denisov, Vytautas Barkauskas, Jaan Rääts, Alfred Schnittke and others. Many of them composed music specifically for Moscow Chamber Orchestra. For example, Dmitri Shostakovich dedicated his 14th Symphony to MCO, its kickoff performed by the Orchestra lead by Rudolf Barshai on 29 September, 1969 in Leningrad. 

    Following Barshai's emigration in 1976 the Orchestra was successively lead and conducted by Igor Bezrodny (1977–1981), Eugeny Nepalo (1981–1983), Viktor Tretyakov (1983–1990), Andrey Korsakov (1990–1991) and Konstantin Orbelyan (1991– 2009). In 1983 MCO was rebranded as State Chamber Orchestra of the USSR; and since 1994 the ensemble has boasted the title of an “academic orchestra”. 

    Today SCO is one of the top chamber orchestras in Russia. Its extensive repertoire features pieces from all music periods and styles. The orchestra has performed in Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Switzerland, USA, Canada, Japan, Republic of South Africa, Scandinavia and Southeast Asia. MCO performed on prestigious stages such as Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Alte Oper in Frankfurt, Schauspielhaus in Berlin, Queen Elisabeth Hall in London, Salle Pleyel in Paris, Carnegie Hall in NYC, Davis Hall in San Francisco, and Suntori Hall in Tokyo. Musicians represented Russia at the landmark United Nations 50th Anniversary Celebration Concert in 1995 and at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 1998. 

    For over 60 years the Orchestra has performed with spectacular guest artists such as: Sviatoslav Richter, Emil Gilels, Lev Oborin, Maria Grinberg, Nikolai Petrov, Vladimir Krainev, Vladimir Viardo, Eliso Virsaladze, Mikhail Pletnev, Boris Berezovsky, Freddy Kempf, John Lill, Stefan Vladar, Christian Zacharias, Igor Chetuev, Lucas Debargue (piano); David Oistrakh, Igor Oistrakh, Yehudi Menuhin, Leonid Kogan, Oleg Kagan, Vladimir Spivakov, Viktor Tretyakov, Igor Gringoltz, Boris Garlitsky, Andres Mustonen and Jean-Christophe Spinosi (violin); Yuri Bashmet (viola); Mstislav Rostropovitch, Natalia Gutman, Boris Pergamenschikow, Gaspar Cassado, Antonio Meneses and Alexandr Kniazev (cello); Weites Land Olga Erdeli (harp); Nina Dorliak, Zara Dolukhanova, Irina Arkhipova, Eugeny Nesterenko, Galina Pisarenko, Alexandr Vedernikov, Makvala Kasrashvili, Nikolai Gedda, Renee Fleming, Inga Kalna, Sandrin Piau, Vivica Genaux, Roberto Alagna and Dmitri Hvorostovski (vocals); Jean-Pierre Rampal, Patrick Gallois and Sir James Galway (flute); Federico Mondelci (saxophone); Timofei Dokschitzer (trumpet) and numerous other top-notch soloists and conductors. 

    The Orchestra has released an impressive collection of radio and CD recordings covering a wide repertoire ranging from early music arias and Baroque music to works by Russian and international composers of the 20th century. The recordings were released under Melodia, Chandos, Philips, Delos and other leading world music labels. 

    In January 2010 Alexey Utkin, a world's renowned oboist and conductor, was appointed as SCO Art Director and Chief Conductor. Under his guidance and leadership the Orchestra has been significantly revamped and revitalized. Its style and genre range got drastically expanded. SCO poster billboards show a marriage of Bach's St Matthew Passion, masses by Haydn and Vivaldi, symphonies and concertos by Mozart and Boccherini, Led Zeppelin covers, world music hits and movie soundtracks. Orchestra and its leader's insights and creative exploits have metamorphosed into series of music projects in the recent years, which boldly mingle diverse music art periods, styles and trends. In 2011 and 2015 SCO lead by Mr. Utkin backed up the participants of the 2nd round of the International Tchaikovsky Competitions (piano category). 

    In 2021/22 season State Chamber Orchestra, in addition to customary performances and subscription concerts, takes part in “George Frederic Handel: Earthly World & Heavenly World” festival with the concert performances of Handel’s Rodelinda, Tamerlano and Giulio Cesare under Christopher Moulds’ baton. SCO's season performances feature Eliso Virsaladze, Dmitriy Masleyev, Yuri Favorin, Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Maxim Emelyanychev, Karol Mossakowski, Thomas Ospital, Konstantin Volostnov. SCO closes its season with the concert performance of Mozart’s Mitridate, re di Ponto.

    Federico Maria Sardelli

    The Italian conductor, composer, musicologist and flautist, Federico Maria Sardelli, studied philosophy at the Università di Pisa. In 1984 Federico Maria Sardelli founded the Baroque orchestra Modo Antiquo, with which he appears at major festivals and concert halls throughout Europe as both soloist and conductor. He is regularly invited to the most prestigious European concert halls. Since 2006 he has been principal guest conductor of the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra. He appears as a guest conductor with many symphony orchestras, including the Gewandhaus Leipzig, the Staatskapelle Halle, the Kammerakademie Potsdam, the Real Filarmonia de Galicia, the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, the Arena di Verona, the Orchestra da Camera di Mantova, etc.

    Federico Maria Sardelli records for Naïve and Deutsche Grammophon. He has made more than forty recordings as soloist and conductor, some of them in co-production with the German broadcast company Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WRD 3). He has twice been nominated for the Grammy Awards, the most prestigious recording prize, and he is one of the top artists of the Vivaldi Edition by Naïve. Federico Maria Sardelli has been a notable protagonist in the Vivaldi renaissance of the past few years: he conducted the world premiere recording and performance of the operas Arsilda Regina di Ponto, Tito Manlio, Motezuma, and Atenaide. 

    During the season 2014/15 he conducted the world premiere of a recently discovered version of Orlando Furioso by Vivaldi, wrote to be performed in Rome in 1714, with the Accademia Barocca of Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, George Frideric Handel's Alcina with the Moscow Chamber Orchestra at Tchaikovsky Hall in Moscow, Orfeo ed Euridice at Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence, the annual Gala concert of Deutschen Händel-Solisten at the Internationalen Händel-Festspiele in Karlsruhe, as well as many symphonic concerts on the podium of Russian National Orchestra and Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence. He opened the 2015/16 season with his debut on the podium of Teatro Regio di Torino leading, for the first time in Italy, Cécile Roussat and Julien Lubek's production of Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell, followed by his return on the podium of Orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino in Florence and of Accademia Barocca of Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome. 

    Alongside his career in the concert hall, he is also extremely active as a musicologist. He is a member of the musicological committee of the Istituto Italiano Antonio Vivaldi, and has published many musicological essays and critical editions (he is the author of the study Vivaldi's Music for Flute and Recorder, translated by Michael Talbot and published in the UK by Ashgate). He is general editor of the collection of facsimile editions Vivaldiana and of the Opere Incomplete (SPES, Florence). Peter Ryom has chosen him to be the person in charge of the continuing Vivaldi Catalogue (RV). For his artistic merits, on 28th November 2009, the Government of Tuscany decorated Federico Maria Sardelli with the Gonfalone d'Argento, the highest medal of honour. Federico Maria is also a painter, engraver and satirical writer.

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