Natalya Romaniw stars in The Bartered Bride at Garsington Opera
Natalya Romaniw stars as Mařenka in Paul Curran’s new production of Smetana The Bartered Bride at Garsington Opera, which opens on 29 May 2019. The production marks the start of Garsington Opera’s 30th anniversary season and features musical accompaniment from the Philharmonia Orchestra and conductor Jac van Steen.
Curran's production reimagines Smetana's comic opera into the heart of the English countryside, with Romaniw starring as the spirited heroine who must use every inch of her determination, charm and cunning to avoid the scheming of her ambitious parents and a conniving marriage broker and marry the man she loves.
Romaniw returns to Garsington after starring as Tatyana in Eugene Onegin in 2016, when she gave a performance that was “by turns vulnerable, imperious and thrilling” (Daily Telegraph). Later this summer she returns to Opera Holland Park to star in the title role of Tchaikovsky Iolanta, while other highlights this season have included starring turns at English National Opera as Mimi in La bohème and as Mary Kelly in the world premiere of Iain Bell Jack the Ripper. She also joined Kirill Karabits and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra to give the world premiere of Testament, Mark-Anthony Turnage's orchestral settings of Ukranian poetry.
Upcoming highlights include role debuts in the title role of Madama Butterfly with English National Opera and the title role of Tosca with Scottish Opera. On the concert platform she performs Rachmaninov The Bells at the BBC Proms with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Elgar The Kingdom with the Hallé Orchestra under the baton of Sir Mark Elder at the Edinburgh Festival.
Intermusica at the 125th BBC Proms
The BBC have announced the programme for the 125th BBC Proms, launching eight weeks of music-making of the highest quality, over 80 concerts and a host of world premieres. The festival also marks 150 years since the birth of Proms founder Sir Henry Wood and the 50th anniversary of the moon landings. As ever, Intermusica is well represented at the festival, with 24 artists taking part and our International Touring team bringing two world-class orchestras to the London stage. All concerts will be broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and several will be televised on BBC Four. See below for full details.
Mark Wigglesworth is joined by Nicola Benedetti and the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain on 25 July. Wigglesworth conducts the London premiere of Lera Auerbach Icarus (2011) followed by Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite. The concert will be televised on BBC Four on 28 July.
Simon Halsey and his numerous choirs feature throughout the Proms. On 29 July, the BBC Proms Youth Choir joins Omer Meir Wellber and the BBC Philharmonic for Haydn The Creation. Halsey then prepares the singers of the London Symphony Chorus and Orfeó Català as they join Sir Simon Rattle and the LSO to perform Walton Belshazzar’s Feast on 20 August. The concert will be shown on BBC Four on 23 August. Finally, more than 600 singers will unite for the European premiere of John Luther Adams In the Name of the Earth (2018) on 8 September.
On 2 August, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Thomas Dausgaard perform Sir James MacMillan The Confession of Isobel Gowdie, which premiered at the Proms nearly 30 years ago in 1990. The concert will be televised live on BBC Four. MacMillan is currently celebrating his 60th birthday with a year of special performances – visit jamesmacmillan.co.uk to see the full MacMillan at 60 calendar.
Ben Gernon and the BBC Philharmonic (where he is Principal Guest Conductor) give two performances. On 5 August, Gernon conducts a programme of Malcolm Arnold Peterloo Overture, Rachmaninov Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk and excerpts from Tchaikovsky Swan Lake. They repeat the concert the following morning in a Relaxed Prom, in which the concert environment is adapted to better suit audience members with autistic spectrum conditions, sensory, communication or learning difficulties.
On 10 August, Lise Davidsen reunites with Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra, with whom she recently recorded her highly anticipated debut album for Decca (out 31 May). She will sing Richard Strauss Op.27 Songs, which also feature on the album.
On 13 August, Martyn Brabbins conducts a special concert with personal significance: it features the world premiere of Pictured Within: Birthday Variations for M. C. B., a new take on Elgar Enigma Variations commissioned by the BBC to mark Brabbins’ 60th birthday. This unique work features a new set of variations by 14 living composers including Intermusica’s Brett Dean, Sally Beamish, Sir Harrison Birtwistle and Dai Fujikura – plus one distinguished mystery composer to write the theme. Brabbins also conducts Elgar’s original Variations as well as Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music and Brahms Song of Destiny, featuring the BBC Singers and English National Opera Chorus. The concert will be recorded for broadcast on BBC Four on 8 September.
Andreas Haefliger returns to the Proms on 19 August for the world premiere of a new Piano Concerto written especially for him by fellow Swiss musician Dieter Ammann. He is joined for the concert by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Sakari Oramo. This new work is co-commmissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Konzerthaus Wien, Lucerne Festival, Münchner Philharmoniker and Taipei Symphony Orchestra.
Singers Sofia Fomina, Marta Fontanals-Simmons and Thomas Atkins appear in Glyndebourne Festival Opera’s production of Mozart The Magic Flute on 27 August. Fomina stars in the concert staging as Pamina while Fontanals-Simmons sings Second Lady and Atkins takes the roles of Second Priest and First Man in Armour.
Richard Egarr returns to the Proms on 30 August to conduct the Scottish Chamber Orchestra (with whom he has a long association) Handel Jeptha, part of a cycle celebrating the composer’s works. The cast features Tim Mead as Hamor and Cody Quattlebaum as Zebul.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner completes his epic five-season Berlioz series on 2 September, conducting a performance of his opera Benvenuto Cellini with his Monteverdi Choir and Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique.
On 10 September, Intermusica brings the Czech Philharmonic and Semyon Bychkov to the Proms. The concert features Smetana The Bartered Bride, the Letter Scene from Eugene Onegin and Shostakovich Symphony No.8.
Nicholas Collon and his Aurora Orchestra return to the Proms on 12 September presenting another eagerly anticipated major symphony from memory. This year they present Berlioz Symphonie fantastique in an immersive theatrical staging. Collon and the orchestra will give a repeat performance in a late-night Prom that same evening and BBC Four will record the first performance for broadcast on 13 September.
As the festival draws to a close, Intermusica’s International Touring team brings a second orchestra to London: on 13 September, Andrew Manze returns with his NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover for Beethoven Night, in which Manze conducts extracts from Fidelio and Symphony No.5, as well as music by Handel and Bach.
Intermusica artists star in English National Opera’s 2019/20 season
English National Opera announced their 2019/20 season on 3 April, and as ever there is a strong Intermusica presence at the house alongside Music Director Martyn Brabbins.
Alongside three revivals, the season features seven new productions, the most for five years. For the first time, four of the new productions present different versions of the same story as ENO presents four takes on the Orpheus myth. In keeping with the season’s theme of the rise of the feminine, more than half of the new productions are directed by women, with Tatjana Gürbaca, Emma Rice, Barbora Horáková and Netia Jones all helming productions.
> Click here to see full details of ENO's 2019/20 season
Martyn Brabbins conducts two productions. On 18 October he opens Daniel Kramer’s production of Harrison Birtwistle The Mask of Orpheus. The production stars Marta Fontanals-Simmons as Eurydice the Woman and Susan Bickley as Eurydice the Myth and Persephone. Brabbins then returns on 26 February 2020 to conduct a revival of Anthony Minghella’s Olivier Award-winning production of Madam Butterfly, starring Natalya Romaniw in the title role. Brabbins will be assisted for the production by Adam Hickox.
Valentina Peleggi continues her Mackerras Fellowship with her first full production in the main house: a revival of Calixto Bieito’s production of Carmen from 29 January 2020, which features a cast starring David Butt Philip as Don José and Nardus Williams as Micaela. Earlier in the season she conducts three performances of Offenbach Orpheus in the Underworld on 1, 26 and 28 November. The new production from Emma Rice features Sir Willard White as Jupiter and Mary Bevan as Diana.
Geoffrey Paterson debuts on 15 November conducting a new production of Phillip Glass Orphée from Netia Jones. The cast features Anthony Gregory, who makes a return to ENO as Cégeste, and Simon Shibambu as the poet.
Susan Bickley appears in a second production when she returns in the role of Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro from 14 March 2020, in a new production directed by Joe Hill-Gibbons.
Antony Hermus makes his debut at ENO on 28 March 2020, conducting the premiere of Tatjana Gürbaca’s new production of Dvorák Rusalka, and taking it to Theatre du Luxembourg for additional performances after the London run. David Butt Philip takes the role of the Prince, while Patricia Bardon appears as Ježibaba.
Intermusica artists to appear at 2019 Edinburgh International Festival
The Edinburgh International Festival has announced its line-up for 2019 and Intermusica artists feature predominantly throughout the month-long event.
> Click here to see the full calendar and scroll down to watch the Festival trailer
Among the Festival’s highlights this year is ‘Sir James MacMillan at 60’ – a special series of concerts to mark the composer and conductor’s 60th birthday. The series features five concerts displaying MacMillan’s vocal and orchestral works beginning with The King’s Singers performing the premiere of a new version of MacMillan’s Quickening on 10 August with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Edward Gardner. MacMillan’s poignant oratorio All the Hills & Vales Along will be performed by the National Youth Choir of Scotland and Whitburn Brass Band and conducted by Christopher Bell on 16 August. MacMillan’s works feature across three concerts on 17 August: The Nash Ensemble perform Fourteen Little Pictures; the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and conductor Joana Carneiro perform A Scotch Bestiary and his concerto for orchestra, Woman of the Apocalypse; and the series culminates that evening with the world premiere performance of MacMillan's Fifth Symphony ‘Le grand Inconnu’, performed by The Sixteen, Genesis Sixteen, Scottish Chamber Orchestra and conductor Harry Christophers alongside MacMillan’s Symphony No.2, conducted by the composer.
On 4 August Yuja Wang will give the European premiere of John Adams’ new piano concerto Must the Devil Have All the Good Tunes?, a work written especially for her. She is joined by the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, with whom she has already performed the work to huge acclaim in the US and Asia. The day before, Wang launches The Queen’s Hall Series with clarinettist Andreas Ottensamer in a programme to include works by Weber, Brahms, Mendelssohn, Debussy, Chopin and Horowitz. Check out Wang and Ottensamer's recent duo disc on Deutsche Grammophon, Blue Hour, here.
Sir John Eliot Gardiner brings his trademark energy to Bernstein’s West Side Story with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra on 5 and 6 August. The score is an augmented Broadway theatre version, as Bernstein originally intended.
Richard Egarr performs twice. In the St Cecilia’s Hall Series on 20 August, he will play and conduct musicians from the Dunedin Consort in Bach Keyboard Concertos in E major BWV 1053 and D minor with fellow harpsichordist Diego Ares. On 22 August, he performs more works by Bach with the Dunedin Consort, this time alongside three other renowned harpsichordists. The repertoire includes Concertos for three and four harpsichords as well as Brandenburg Concerto No.5.
Wallis Giunta makes her debut at the Festival on 21 August as Dodo McNeill in the European premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s opera Breaking the Waves, a wrenching moral drama based on Lars von Trier’s controversial film. The opera won the 2017 Best New Opera Award at the Music Critics Association of North America and was shortlisted the same year for an International Opera Award.
Colin Currie Group perform the UK premiere of Sofia Gubaidulina's concerto for percussion quintet and orchestra, Glorious Percussion, on 8 August with BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard.
Martyn Brabbins conducts world premiere of Iain Bell's Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel at English National Opera starring Natalya Romaniw
Martyn Brabbins conducts the world premiere of Iain Bell Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel at English National Opera on 30 March 2019. Directed by Daniel Kramer, the story is told from a feminine perspective and provides a showcase for the doyennes of the British opera scene: Dame Josephine Barstow, Marie McLaughlin, Susan Bullock, Leslie Garrett and Intermusica’s Natalya Romaniw, who joins the cast fresh from her success as Mimi in ENO's recent production of La bohème.
In September Brabbins extended his tenure as Music Director of ENO to 2022 and Bell's new opera is his third production so far this season, following critically acclaimed productions of Britten War Requiem in November and Strauss Salome in September:
“it’s hard to imagine the music more stirringly performed, especially chorally, than by these massed forces… expertly conducted by Martyn Brabbins”
The Times, November 2018 (War Requiem)
"Martyn Brabbins conducts with great intensity, his interpretation gathering strength as it goes. The ENO Orchestra play outstandingly for him, with every shift in colour beautifully realised"
The Guardian, September 2018 (Salome)
Highlights this season for Romaniw include her highly anticipated returns to Garsington Opera as Mařenka in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, and to Opera Holland Park to take the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta, and Mark-Anthony Turnage Testament with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Kirill Karabits.
Jack the Ripper: The Women of Whitechapel runs until 12 April.
Host of Intermusica artists featured in international Best of 2018 press picks
2018 was another fantastic year for Intermusica artists, with many singled out by the world’s top publications and broadcasters in their end-of-year highlight features. Read a selection below:
Daniil Trifonov featured in a plethora of publications including The Guardian, Sunday Times, New York Times, The New Yorker, NPR, Arts Fuse, Seen & Heard and New York Classical Review. His recent release on Deutsche Grammophon, Destination Rachmaninov: Departure, with Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin, was widely praised, as was his ‘Decades’ recital at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall, which Alex Ross of The New Yorker called “playing of unreal beauty”. A recital with mentor Sergei Babayan was highlighted in Boston Classical Review, with Trifonov deemed “among the most sensational keyboard artists of his generation” and Babayan “second-to-none in his own right.”
Also popular amongst critics was Sir John Eliot Gardiner, whose Carnegie Hall appearance with his Orchestre Révolutionnaire et Romantique, as part of Carnegie’s Berlioz Festival, drew glowing commentary. Gardiner’s Berlioz and Schumann exploration with the LSO, including an appearance at the 2018 BBC Proms, was similarly lauded (Arts Desk: “I reeled from… [Gardiner’s]… contributions … He sold instantly the ideas that wind and brass as well as upper strings… should stand”), and memorably enhanced by Antoine Tamestit’s take on Harold in Italy, which saw the soloist use theatrics to better inhabit the wandering eponymous hero (Tamestit’s Harold also came in for praise from Arts Desk, Limelight and New York Classical Review). Gardiner’s Verdi Requiem at the Concertgebouw and other venues was also mentioned by NRC and Seen & Heard.
British music champion Martyn Brabbins was singled out by several publications including The Guardian and Sunday Times, who included his releases of Tippett Symphonies 1& 2 (BBC Scottish Orchestra, Hyperion) and Ferneyhough: La Terre est un Homme (BBC Symphony Orchestra, NMC) in their recordings of the year round-ups.
Matthew Aucoin was picked out by WQXR for his opera Second Nature (on the topic of climate change) and “[making] the [classical] tradition more alive and urgent than ever.” Aucoin’s conducting skills impressed The New York Times, who noted his “instinct for tension” when conducting Peter Sellars’ Santa Fe Opera production of Doctor Atomic.
Colin Currie Group’s release of Drumming, the first on the new Colin Currie Records label, enchanted listeners with Arts Fuse calling it “one of – no, the – greatest recording of the piece to date” and The Boston Globe terming it “an ecstatic rendition…[which]…absolutely transports.”
Andrew Manze’s Mendelssohn symphony cycle with NDR Radiophilharmonie, where he is Chief Conductor, garnered praise from Arts Fuse, as did his moving War Requiem with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic and NDR Radiophilharmonie at Liverpool Cathedral and in Hannover (one of Fiona Maddox at The Guardian’s Best of 2018), which saw British and German players unite to mark 100 years since the end of World War I.
Mark Wigglesworth was roundly praised by Seen & Heard (“typically first-rate conducting”), The Stage (“an exceptional musical performance”) and Arts Desk for his House of the Dead at the Royal Opera House; while over at English National Opera, Porgy and Bess, conducted by John Wilson, was a highlight for The Stage, The Guardian and Evening Standard.
Other notable recordings included Marin Alsop and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s “eminently accessible” rendition of Prokofiev’s Romeo & Juliet (WQXR); Nora Fischer’s Hush – “radically unorthodox yet utterly gorgeous” (WQXR), Boris Giltburg’s Rachmaninov Piano Concerto No 2 with Royal Scottish National (Politiken); and Marek Janowksi’s “sumptuous Hindemith collection” on Pentatone (Arts Desk). Recordings by Francesco Piemontesi and Renaud Capuçon (Liszt Années de pèlerinage, Orfeo, and Bartok Violin Concertos Nos 1 & 2 with LSO, Hyperion) featured in The Sunday Times’ Classical Albums of the Year.
Lahav Shani’s new position as Chief Conductor of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra was noted as a special moment by Seen & Heard and NRC, while Giancarlo Guerrero’s performances with Boston Symphony Orchestra (“a spectacular, kinetic reading”) and Curtis Symphony Orchestra (“at once authoritative and at the same time warmly collaborative") were noted by Arts Fuse and Seen & Heard. Mischa Maisky’s Jansen/Maisky/Argerich Trio performance at the Barbican was deemed “chamber music writ large” and “opulent” by Arts Desk.
Singers singled out by cultural commentators included Lise Davidsen for her “superlative” performance in the title role in a “long overdue feminist reassessment” of Ariadne auf Naxos at Festival d’Aix en Provence (Seen & Heard), as well as for her involvement in the Royal Opera House and Antonio Pappano’s Verdi Requiem – “the classiest perfection imaginable, crowned by the phenomenal Lise Davidsen” (Arts Desk).
Fellow dramatic soprano Iréne Theorin was noted in Seen & Heard as a “commanding Isolde” in Staatsoper Berlin and Daniel Barenboim’s Tristan und Isolde, as was Natalya Romaniw, who sang "with grace and conviction” in the world premiere of Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Testament alongside the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and Kirill Karabits.
David Alden’s “fine Lohengrin” at the Royal Opera House was singled out by The Stage, as was Garsington’s first full-scale commission, The Skating Rink, featuring Susan Bickley creating the role of Carmen.
2018 ended well for Sir James MacMillan, whose Cumnock Tryst took the number one spot in Fiona Maddox’s Best Classical Music of 2018 list for its unique role in “revitalising a local community with world-class performances”. The Scotsman, looking ahead to 2019, noted “it’s going to be a big year for Scotland’s most high-profile composer” as MacMillan turns 60, celebrating with a host of concerts and new works.
Natalya Romaniw & Alexander Joel make debut at English National Opera in La bohème
Natalya Romaniw makes her house and role debut as Mimi in Puccini’s La bohème on 26 November 2018 with English National Opera. The production is directed by Jonathan Miller and conducted by Intermusica’s Alexander Joel, who also makes his house debut with the production.
Highlights this season include her highly anticipated returns to Garsington Opera as Mařenka in Smetana’s The Bartered Bride, and to Opera Holland Park to take the title role in Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta. She gave the world premiere of Mark Anthony Turnage’s Testament with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra where she received critical acclaim:
“Natalya Romaniw… Last week she was an electrifying soloist in the world premiere of Testament by Mark-Anthony Turnage”
Guardian, November 2018
Other highlights include her European debut as Suzel in L’amico Fritz for Den Jyske Opera, Lisa in Pique Dame with Opera Holland Park and National Theatre Brno, title role in Janacek’s Jenůfa with Grange Park Opera, and Beethoven Symphony No.9 with the Hallé orchestra under the baton of Sir Mark Elder.
Performances of La bohème run until 8 December 2018. For further information, please click here.
Intermusica signs soprano Natalya Romaniw
Intermusica is delighted to welcome Welsh soprano Natalya Romaniw to the roster for worldwide representation. Romaniw is one of Europe’s most promising young stars and is a recent winner of the 2017 Critic’s Choice Award for Music, for her "big toned, generous, gut-wrenching performances" (Sunday Times) and her "glowing voice capable of astonishing power" (FT).
Romaniw was a member of the Houston Grand Opera Studio, from which she graduated in 2014 and where her roles there included Mimi La Bohème, Ines Il Trovatore, Rosalinde Die Fledermaus, Micaela Carmen and Krystina The Passenger, with performances at the Lincoln Center in New York. She has since returned to Houston Grand Opera as Ortlinde in Die Walküre. Romaniw has appeared at Opera Holland Park as Maliella I Gioielli della Madonna and Fiora in Montemezzi’s L’amore dei tre re, and more recently as Lisa in Pique Dame. She received unanimous critical acclaim for her outstanding portrayal of Tatyana in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin for Garsington Opera in 2016 and the following summer made her debut in the title role of Jenufa for Grange Park Opera, during the inaugural season of their new Theatre in the Woods at West Horsley Place. She stepped in to sing Cio cio San in a performance of Madama Butterfly in her company debut for Welsh National Opera, followed by Tatyana in Eugene Onegin. Further appearances include Governess The Turn of the Screw for Glyndebourne on Tour, Suzel L’amico Fritz in concert, the Foreign Princess in Rusalka and Tatyana in Oliver Mears new production of Eugene Onegin for Scottish Opera. Natalya made her European debut as Suzel in L’amico Fritz for Den Jyske Opera, followed by performances of Lisa Pique Dame at the National Theatre Brno.