John Axelrod






January 4-5, 2019
La Belleza del Bel Canto
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: Donizetti, Bellini, Puccini, Rossini, J. Strauss

The 2019 year begins as it always does with a New Year’s Concert in Seville, this time featuring the debut of my dear friend, soprano Teodora Gheorghiu, who performs arias from Donizetti and Bellini in a program called The Beauty of Bel Canto,   I discovered Teodora in Luzern while I was Music Director at the Theater.   She went on to become the leading soprano at the Wiener Staatsoper.  Her grace and poise and her explosive voice reminded me of Callas and so many other greats.  She is special and the Seville audiences and anyone who comes will have an unforgettable musical experience.  And to further celebrate this extraordinary woman, after this extraordinary year of women, this program continues is the homage to Women,  With Strauss Waltzes and Polkas in dedication to the women of the world.  To Thee…..



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January 18-19, 2019
Fairy Tales and Fantasy
Location: Aichi Prefectural Arts Theater, the Concert Hall
Program: Works by Ravel, Zemlinsky Sakai

Japan is the sanctuary of my spirit and imagination, and I am thrilled to return so quickly to debut with the Nagoya Philharmonic in a delicious program of fairytales and fantasy.  The Ma Mere l’Oye complete ballet is among my favorites, which I also recorded for Naxos.  Zemlinsky’s Die Seejungfrau, The Little Mermaid, is a tour de force of color and texture.  And the violin concerto (in place of the piano concerto) of Japanese composer Sakai completes this virtuosic and virtual performance.



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January 24-25, 2019
Schiller as Inspiration
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Rossini, R. Strauss, Tchaikovsky

The Literature Theme continues with the words of Schiller and the sacred Alps.  Rossini’s William Tell Overture recounts the legend of the Swiss hero.  And Strauss’ Eine Alpensinfonie, among his biggest orchestral tone poems as part of our Tone Poem cycle, is the archetype of the alpine portrait.  Even among these milestones, the highlight will be the superstar violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja, my long time friend with whom I recorded the Fazil Say 10001 Nights in a Harem Violin Concert, who brings her unique and authentic interpretation of Tchaikovsky’s beloved Violin Concerto to the ROSS.  Most do not know that Tchaikovsky spent many years in Switzerland, near where I live, connecting this Russian giant to the mountainous landscape of the Alps.



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February 1-3, 2019
Amadeus in Concert
Location: Teatro Lope de Vega, Sevilla
Program: Adaptation of Amadeus for orchestra, chorus, soloists and actors

Amadeus in Concert.  My interactive music drama adaptation of Peter Shaffer’s historic play (and the Milos Forman movie) recounting the fabled history of Mozart and his nemesis Salieri, featuring the actor Roberto Quintana, will be a spellbinding spectacular scenario in the plush old theater venue of Lope de Vega.  The ROSS, the Coro de Amigos de Teatro de la Maestranza, actors, singers and more.  Amadeus in Concert is always a great pleasure to bring to the concert stage.



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February 10-15, 2019
Romantic Rachmaninov
Location: Liège, Metz, Brussels
Program: Works by Rachmaninov, Bernstein, Puccini

A small tour returning to the Orchestre Philharmonique Royal de Liège in a program to celebrate Valentine’s Day with Love, Romance and Devotion.  Rachmaninov’s Variations Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini is the lover’s delight, his Variation 18, the music forever embedded in my heart.  Our son was born to this music and it is a theme of our family which even inspired a song for Max.  Bernstein’s Jeremiah is an expression of faith and devotion, Puccini’s Crisantemi is a beautiful homage and Rachmaninov’s 2nd piano concerto is considered the popular favorite.   Music is truth.  And music is love.   There’s no greater joy in life than the joy of love.




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March 1-2, 2019
From the Old World to the New
Location: Palace Theater, Columbus Ohio
Program: Works by Turina, De Falla, Dvorak

Columbus is, predictably, the sister city to Seville, from where Columbus sailed to discover the New World.  How a propos then to perform Dvorak’s famous Symphony 9, “From the New World”, with a souvenir of the native son of Sevilla, Turina and his Danzas Fantasticas, and De Falla’s Danse Espagnole from La Vida Breve.  This program as part of a Flamenco Festival, will bring some sevillano sisterly sunshine to the people of Columbus.




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March 6, 2019
Romero y la ROSS
Location: Cartuja Cité Center, Sevilla
Program: Works by Rodrigo, Bizet, Moreno Torroba

The legendary Pepe Romero turns 75 and the ROSS celebrates his birthday with the immortal Concierto de Aranjuez and the Arlessienne Suites of Bizet. History in the making in the stunning new Cartuja Cité Center.




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March 9-16, 2019
Romero y la ROSS
Location: Germany Tour 2019
Program: Works by Rodrigo, Bizet, Moreno TorrobaThe legendary Pepe Romero turns 75 and the ROSS celebrates his birthday with the immortal Concierto de Aranjuez and the Arlessienne Suites of Bizet. This program will be repeated on our return to international touring of the ROSS since 10 years, starting with the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf, to the Glocke in the city of musicians, Bremen, sold out at the new ElbePhilharmonie in Hamburg, to the Philharmonie of Köln, at the Universität of Regensburg, and the Alte Oper of Frankfurt. Seville may be the #1 tourist destination in 2019 according to Lonely Planet, and particularly among German tourists, but this time Seville returns the favor and brings its sound and style to Germany. GEORGE BIZET: La arlesiana, Suite nº 1 FEDERICO MORENO TORROBA/JOSÉ ROMERO: Concierto en Flamenco para guitarra y orquesta * JOAQUIN RODRIGO: Concierto de Aranjuez GEORGE BIZET: La arlesiana, Suite nº 2 * Primera vez por la ROSS Sábado 9 - Marzo 2019 Tonhalle Düsseldorf, 20:00h Düsseldorf Lunes 11 – Marzo 2019 Die Glocke, 20:00h Bremen Martes 12 – Marzo 2019 Teatro Elbphilarmonie, 20:00h Hamburgo Miércoles 13 – Marzo 2019 Kölner Philharmonie, 20:00h Colonia Jueves 14 – Marzo 2019 Audimax de la Universidad de Rastibona, 20:00h Rastibona Sábado 16 – Marzo 2019 Alte Oper, 20:00h Frankfurt Director: John Axelrod Guitarra: Pepe Romero

 

The legendary Pepe Romero turns 75 and the ROSS celebrates his birthday with the immortal Concierto de Aranjuez and the Arlessienne Suites of Bizet.  This program will be repeated on our return to international touring of the ROSS since 10 years, starting with the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf, to the Glocke in the city of musicians, Bremen, sold out at the new ElbePhilharmonie in Hamburg, to the Philharmonie of Köln, at the Universität of Regensburg, and the Alte Oper of Frankfurt.  Seville may be the #1 tourist destination in 2019 according to Lonely Planet, and particularly among German tourists, but this time Seville returns the favor and brings its sound and style to Germany.

 

GEORGE BIZET: La arlesiana,  Suite nº 1

FEDERICO MORENO TORROBA/JOSÉ ROMERO:

Concierto en Flamenco para guitarra y orquesta *

JOAQUIN RODRIGO: Concierto de Aranjuez

GEORGE BIZET: La arlesiana, Suite nº 2

*      Primera vez por la ROSS

Sábado 9 - Marzo 2019

Tonhalle Düsseldorf, 20:00h

Düsseldorf

Lunes 11 – Marzo 2019

Die Glocke, 20:00h

Bremen

Martes 12 – Marzo 2019

Teatro Elbphilarmonie, 20:00h

Hamburgo

Miércoles 13 – Marzo 2019

Kölner Philharmonie, 20:00h

Colonia

Jueves 14 – Marzo 2019

Audimax de la Universidad de Rastibona, 20:00h

Rastibona

Sábado 16 – Marzo 2019

Alte  Oper, 20:00h

Frankfurt

Director: John Axelrod

Guitarra: Pepe Romero



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April 11-12, 2019
Transfiguration
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Works by Strauss, Schoenberg, Rachmaninov

The theme of transfiguration has been a source of inspiration for writers and composers and painters for millennia.  Schoenberg seeks transformation through love and forgiveness between people.  Strauss’ Death and Transfiguration see the light of love from Heaven above.  And the Mt. Everest of piano concerti, requiring mastery over mind and body, Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto 3, with my dear friend, Sasha Ghindin, evolves both musicians and audience into an englightened mind.



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April 24-25, 2019
FAUST
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Works by Wagner, Strauss and Schumann

The unquiet mind is the theme of the next program, with Faust as the source, featuring Wagner’s early overture to Faust, written under the influence of French Grand Opera, but already suggesting the themes and leitmotivs that would appear in his great operas.  Mary Ann Hunstman, a young virtuoso, continues the Rachmaninov piano concerto cycle, with the all time favorite Concerto 2, the work itself the result of a cathartic overcoming of obstacles for Rachmaninov after his psycho-analysis following the failure of his 1st Symphony.  And Schumann’s Symphony 2, as part of our Schumann symphony cycle, is considered a manifestation of the psychic bi-polar condition of the composer, which led to his early death.  Despite his debilitating depression, his music is an expressive celebration of life.



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May 2-3, 2019
El Viaje de Wallis Giunta
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: Works by De Falla, Lieberson, Piazzolla, Rachmaninov and more

On the weekend of Féria in Sevilla, that annual ritual of flamenco, sevillanos, Manzanilla, bullfights and long nights, my dear friend, star Mezzo soprano, returns to the ROSS on the heels of her recent triumphs with Weill and the ROSS, as Young Opera Artist of the Year and Carmen in Leipzig.  This program, The Voyage of Wallis Giunta, is an homage to the 2019 500th anniversary of the circumnavigation of the globe by Magellan and Sevilla native son El Cano (who was the one who survived the journey).   We hope to also not only survive but be rewarded by her unique program of Spanish language songs from Piazzolla, Montsalvatge, Pieberson, Chapi, de Falla and Mompou.  Rachmaninov’s romantic and voluptuous Symphony 2 is the Traje in sonic form while the songs sing sweetly into the warm, spring, Sevilla celebrations.

MANUEL DE FALLA: La vida breve: Danza española

RUPERTO CHAPÍ: Las hijas del Zebedeo: Carceleras

MANUEL DE FALLA: Siete canciones populares españolas: El paño moruno, Seguidilla murciana, Nana y Polo

PETER LIEBERSON: Canciones de Neruda: Amor, amor mío *

ASTOR PIAZOLLA: Oblivion

FEDERICO MOMPOU: Combat del somni: Jo et pressentia com la mar *

ASTOR PIAZOLLA: María de Buenos Aires: Yo soy María *

XAVIER MONTSALVATGE: Cinco canciones negras *

SERGUÉI RACHMÁNINOV: Sinfonía nº 2, en Mi menor, Op. 27



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June 27-28, 2019
El Sueño de Shakespeare
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza, Sevilla
Program: Works by Mendelssohn and Schumann

The ROSS season ends with Mendelssohn’s marvelous A Midsummer Night’s Dream, featuring soloists from the Coro de Amigos de Teatro de la Maestranza and the full choir.  We complete the Schumann symphony cycle with his 3rd Symphony, the Rheinishe, paying tribute to both the Rhine, the city of Dusseldorf where both Mendelssohn and Schumann were music directors, and to the joy of musical friendship and the romantic ideal said best in the last lines of Puck’s Epilogue of this magical work:

So, good night unto you all.

Give me your hands, if we be friends….




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September 18-19, 2019
The Joyous Islands
Location: Teatro Dal Verme, Milano/Auditorium RAI Arturo Toscanini, Torino
Program: Debussy: L’isle joyeuse (orchestrazione di Bernardino Molinari approvata dall’autore) (10’) Quigang Chen: Joie eternelle, per tromba e orchestra con Tine Thing Helseth Mahler: Sinfonia n. 4 (55’), sol. Rachel Harnish

The Joy of Music, from Debussy to Mahler.  We all have our illusions and expectations about heaven, about joy, about paradise.  Religions  find it in righteousness.  Composers found it in chromaticism. color and chords.  From Debussy and the solistic flair of his L’Isle Joyeuse to the soloist’s song of Quigang Chen to Mahler’s chamber ode to angels and demons, the idea of Joy as a concrete absolute finds its manifestation in abstract sound.  The MITO (Milano/Torino) festival is one of Italy’s most important musical events, which I am honored to return to with my long time friends of the RAI.  Tune in to the Broadcast on RAI5!



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October 24-25, 2019
Noche de Amor de Wagner
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program:  SIEGFRIED WAGNER: Concierto para violín y orquesta*  RICHARD WAGNER: Idilio de Sigfrido RICHARD WAGNER: Tristán e Isolda, Preludio y Muerte de amor

Let the season in Sevilla begin.  Genios - Genius is the theme.  And Wagner is a good place to start.  Wagner has a special place in my musical heart, particularly Tristan and Isolde, the prelude of which changed the course of my life and inspired me to pursue conducting.  I am fortunate to have conducted the Opera and this Prelude and lLebestod, which stand for me as the summit of musical Genius.  In Lucerne, where I was Music Director from 2004-2009, I often visited the Wagner’s home in Tribschen where he composed his Siegfried Idyll as a birthday present for his wife Cosima, in celebration of the birth of their son, Siegfried.  That son, composed his own violin concerto, which our long time friend in Sevilla, Alexandre Da Costa, returns to make the first performance in Seville of this romantic concerto.



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November 7-8, 2019
Romeo and Juliet
Location: Teatro Monumental, Madrid
Program: BERLIOZ Roméo et Juliette op. 17 [150th anniversary of Berlioz’s death)

While the world awaits the 250th anniversary of Beethoven, Berlioz, that other romantic genius, took the influence of Beethoven and preceded Wagner with his own choral masterwork, Roméo et Juliette.  This monumental music redefined the choral symphony in the way the Ode to Joy revolutionized the form.  Instead of character’s singing the roles made famous by Shakespeare, the vocal soloists act as narrators, reciting the story, preparing the listener for the music to unfold.  The chorus acts as the Bard’s conscience.  Another genius helped ensure its premiere:  Paganini, who loaned Berlioz the money to finish the work, hailed Berlioz the heir to Beethoven.  Berlioz himself said of this work: "If you now ask me which of my pieces I prefer, my answer will be that I share the view of most artists: I prefer the adagio (the Love Scene) in Romeo and Juliet."  Come fall in love again…..



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November 22-23-24, 2019
Un romano a Marte
Location: Teatro Costanzi, Opera di Roma
Program: Un romano a Marte Music by Vittorio Montalti Teatro dell’Opera di Roma composing-award winner Libretto by Giuliano Compagno

What a privilege it is to premiere a new opera in Rome, one by my friend and Italy’s music voice of the future, Vittorio Montalti.  After making Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny at Rome Opera, it is of particular interest to me and to the public to witness this new creation by Vittorio, who won the Concorso per Giovani Compositori.   Rome has always been the scene of ancient and biblical history in the making.  Don’t miss this modern moment of immortal modernity in the making.




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December 3-4, 2019
Classicism, Character and Content
Location: Bolzano Konzerthaus, Trento Auditorium
Program: S. Prokof'ev Sinfonia n. 1 in re mag., op. 25 "Classica" A. Fuentes "Infinito" Double Concerto for Cello, Piano and orchestra (première) Pausa L.v. Beethoven Sinfonia n. 4, op. 60

I have always enjoyed returning often to the Orchester Haydn of Bolzano and Trento, a marvelous ensemble of refined musicianship in a location on the map that is somewhere close to Paradise itself.  Not far from Venice, close to Austria and Switzerland,  this area reflects the influence of the Tyrolian tempo combined with Italian passion.   And Beethoven, in anticipation of Beethoven 2020, is a perfect balance of Allegro ma non troppo.  Beethoven 4 and Profkoeiv’s Classical Symphony are among my favorite works, and I am pleased to make the premiere of Arturo Fuentes’ Infinito Double Concerto.



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December 10-11, 2019
When the Old is New Again
Location: Teatro Alla Scala
Program: L. Bernstein Candide, Overture L. Bernstein West Side Story, Symphonic Dances intervallo A.Dvorak Sinfonia n° 9 From the New World

America is celebrated as New World and Old, with Bernstein’s favorites, Candide and West Side Story, with Dvorak’s Symphony 9, From the New World.   While the music may be popular, it never gets boring and the musical challenges always make the music fresh again, even if I have conducted these works more than any others.  What a marvelous treat to share them in the one opera house Bernstein himself adored, where he conducted Callas to great success.  This is a special sponsor concert after the opening of the opera season.   The concert is not yet posted online, but here is a summary of my recent performance of same Bernstein Dances last season, all in good company.



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December 19-20, 2019
El Vals de Floristán
Location: Teatro de la Maestranza
Program: PIOTR ILICH CHAIKÓVSKI: Hamlet, Obertura-Fantasía, en Fa menor, Op. 67* PIOTR ILICH CHAIKÓVSKI: Concierto para piano y orquesta nº 1, en Si bemol menor, Op. 23 PIOTR ILICH CHAIKÓVSKI: Sinfonía nº 4, en Fa menor, Op.36

My 2019 concert season ends with a floral bouquet- the Waltz of Floristan.  My good friend, pianist  Juan Pérez Floristán returns to the ROSS as the protagonist in this all Tchaikovsky program.  Opening with the masterpiece of the Shakespeare inspired Hamlet Overture, and anchored by the «Fate» Symphony 4,  this program presents the genius of Tchaikovsky as both impetuous firebrand and old world noble musical ambassador.  Despite all the challenges in Tchaikovsky’s life, he survived the modernists and remains among the most popular composers of all time, and in particular, would be considered, if public domain did not exist, among the wealthiest for the volume of performances on any given night anywhere on the planet.  Sevilla will ring in the holiday season, not with a nutcracker or a cannon blast, but with the gift of virtuosity and the blessing of all that Tchaikovsky’s genius brings to the world:  Poetry and passion and a purpose for why we make music.



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