What to Listen For:
If opening night galas are typically longer on flash than substance, this program promises to balance virtuoso fireworks and glamour with a wide range of core classical and romantic repertoire. Twenty-one-year-old Chinese pianist Lang Lang will wield his phenomenal technique and mercurial warmth in Mendelssohn's Piano Concerto No. 1, a work he recently recorded for Deutsche Grammophon to favorable reviews. Stephanie Blythe, a young American mezzo who is often considered to be the successor to Marilyn Horne, will bring her burnished voice to Mozart's "Deh per questo istante solo" and "Ecco il punto, oh Vitelia...Non piu di fiori vaghe catene" from "La clemenza de Tito." And the venerable Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra will present two orchestral favorites: Mozart's Overture to Le nozze di Figaro, K. 492 and Beethoven's Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60.
Emerging Young Conductor:
Presiding over the program is the boyish, 42-year-old Frenchman Louis Langrée, who was named music director of the Mostly Mozart Festival last year. Langrée--who conducts five of the festival's 19 programs in 2003--was a surprise choice to follow Gerard Schwarz, who stepped down in 2001 after 18 years with the festival. Born in Alsace, Langrée is considered a French "outsider," hailing from a mixed German and French region and consciously avoiding the Paris-centric pull of the country's musical culture. An emerging opera conductor, he works regularly at Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England, where he has conducted Mozart's Don Giovanni, Marriage of Figaro, and Così fan tutte. He is also the music director of the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège, a post he assumed in 2001. Langrée has conducted the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra three times since 1998, and in 2002 appeared at the festival leading the period-instrument group, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
Programming Note: On July 28 at 2pm, Louis Langrée will be John Schaefer's guest on Soundcheck.
Lang Lang (piano) is one of the most exciting and moving pianists of our time. Since his astonishing and masterful last-minute substitution for an indisposed André Watts at the Ravinia Festival's Gala of the Century in August 1999, Lang Lang has performed with many of the world's leading orchestras. He made his sold-out Carnegie Hall debut in April 2001 to great critical acclaim with the Baltimore Symphony and Yuri Temirkanov. Most recently, Lang Lang joined the New York Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel for performances in New York. CNN recently aired profiles on Lang Lang, featuring him on three programs: NewsNight with Aaron Brown, American Morning with Paula Zahn, and Inside Asia. To coincide with the Mostly Mozart Festival Opening Night Gala, Deutsche Grammophone (DG) will release Lang Lang Plays Tchaikovsky and Mendelssohn on July 15.
Blythe (mezzo-soprano) is one of the finest artists of her generation. Ms.
Blythe's most recent operatic appearances include Cornelia in Guilio Cesare
at the Paris Opera, Mere Marie in Dialogues des Carmélites and Baba the
Turk in The Rake's Progress at the Metropolitan Opera (where she is an alumna
of the Lindemann Young Artists Program), Mistress Quickly in Falstaff and Ino/Juno
in Semele at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Malcolm in La donna del
lago with the Opera Orchestra of New York in Carnegie Hall. She has been presented
in recital by Lincoln Center's Great Performers series at Alice Tully Hall,
the Vocal Arts Society in Washington, DC, the Supreme Court at the invitation
of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsberg, the 92nd Street Y in New York, the Cleveland
Art Song Festival and the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
Avery Fisher Hall
Louis Langrée, conductor
Lang Lang, piano
Stephanie Blythe, mezzo-soprano
Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra
Please Note: This program will not be available for Online listening on WNYC.org.