Mastodon Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, James Morris and Meistersingers - The Wagnerian

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos, James Morris and Meistersingers

Written By The Wagnerian on Monday 10 October 2011 | 6:36:00 pm

Press Release:

 Performances to take place Thursday, November 3, and Saturday, November 5, at 8 p.m.,
and Friday, November 4, at 1:30 p.m., with an Open Rehearsal Thursday, November 3, at 7:30 p.m.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos returns for a second consecutive week November 3-5 to conduct a program of Haydn and Wagner. The prolific Classical master is featured on the first half of the program as Maestro Frühbeck de Burgos leads the BSO in the Symphony No. 1—which, composed in 1759, may or may not actually be the first symphony Haydn wrote—and the Symphony No. 100, one of the famous London symphonies written some 35 years later when Haydn was one of Europe’s most well-respected composers. After intermission, the Tanglewood Festival Chorus, John Oliver, conductor, joins the orchestra for excerpts from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, composed (like Tristan und Isolde) during a hiatus in the midst of his thirty plus years toiling on Der Ring des Nibelungen.

The program opens with the rarely heard Haydn symphony designated as “No. 1.” This ten-minute, three-movement work comes very early in the history of the symphony, when the genre was just beginning to evolve from merely an instrumental interlude in a larger work to a significant, multi-movement stand-alone form. By contrast, Haydn’s Military Symphony—in four movements and more than twice as long as the Symphony No. 1—dates from the zenith of the Classical symphony and demonstrates how far the genre had come since Haydn’s early years. The Military is one of the dozen symphonies Haydn wrote for his London concerts in the early 1790s. The nickname, already attached to the symphony in its early days, refers to the presence of triangle, cymbals and bass drum in the orchestra.

Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg is set in 16th-century Nuremburg, and its story concerns the real-life guild of “Master Singers”—middle-class amateur singers and poets who created a complex set of rules and suggestions for writing and singing songs. The work is Wagner’s only comedy, his only completely original story, and his only opera to be set in a tangible historical context and to not include magic or the supernatural. Characterized by memorable melody, philosophical subtext, a relatively simple plot, and the seamless blend of music, text, and drama that Wagner prized above all, Die Meistersinger is both one of the composer’s greatest works and one of his most approachable.

Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos appeared at Tanglewood four times last summer, concluding with an all-Brahms program on August 14. He last appeared at Symphony Hall August 28-30, 2011, leading the BSO in a program of Reger, Liszt, and Ravel.

A regular guest with North America’s top orchestras, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos conducted the Philadelphia, Boston, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Houston, Montreal, Cincinnati and Houston orchestras in the 2010-11 season, and returns to the New York Philharmonic for the third time since 2005. He appears annually at the Tanglewood Music Festival and regularly with the National, Chicago and Toronto symphonies. Born in Burgos, Spain in 1933, Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos studied violin, piano, music theory and composition at the conservatories in Bilbao and Madrid, and conducting at Munich’s Hochschule für Musik, where he graduated summa cum laude and was awarded the Richard Strauss Prize. From 2004 to 2011, he was Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Dresden Philharmonic, and in the 2012-13 season begins his post as Chief Conductor of the Danish National Orchestra. Maestro Frühbeck has made extensive tours with such ensembles as the Philharmonia of London, the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of Madrid, and the Swedish Radio Orchestra. He toured North America with the Vienna Symphony, the Spanish National Orchestra and the Dresden Philharmonic. Named Conductor of the Year by Musical America in 2011, other numerous honors and distinctions he has been awarded include the Gold Medal of the City of Vienna, the Bundesverdienstkreutz of the Republic of Austria and Germany, the Gold Medal from the Gustav Mahler International Society, and the Jacinto Guerrero Prize, Spain’s most important musical award, conferred in 1997 by the Queen of Spain.

James Morris last appeared with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood to open the 2011 season on July 8, 2011. His last appearance with the orchestra at Symphony Hall took place on January 29, 2009, as Fiesco in a concert performance of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra.

Legendary bass-baritone James Morris is world famous for his performances in opera, concert, recital, and recording. With a repertoire including works by Wagner, Verdi, Puccini, Offenbach, Stravinsky, Mussorgsky, Mozart, Gounod and Britten, Mr. Morris has performed in virtually every international opera house and has appeared with the major orchestras of Europe and the United States. Considered one of the greatest interpreters of the role of Wotan in Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen, Mr. Morris has appeared in this role at the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Bavarian State Opera, Munich, Deutsche Oper, Berlin, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and many others. He is also considered the world’s leading interpreter of the title role in Wagner’s Der fliegende Holländer and has appeared as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg in the major houses of the United States and Europe. In the 2011 – 2012 season, Mr. Morris returns to the Lyric Opera of Chicago for the Four Villains inLes contes d’Hoffmann. He will also return to the Metropolitan Opera as Scarpia in Tosca, Ramfis, in Aida, the Commendatore in the new production of Don Giovanni, and will reprise the role of John Claggart in Billy Budd, the same role he sang in its Metropolitan Opera premiere. For the 2010-11 season, James Morris sang the Dutchman in Der fliegende Holländer at Opéra National de Paris and then went to Bilbao for Reverend Olin Blitch in Floyd’s Susannah. He was also seen as the title role in The Mikado at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, his role debut in the title role of Don Pasquale at Washington National Opera, Frère Laurent inRoméo et Juliette at the Metropolitan Opera and Mahler’s 8th Symphony under Daniele Gatti with Orchestra National de France. He also performed his signature role of Scarpia in Tosca in the MET’s new Luc Bondy production.

Subscriptions for the BSO’s 2011-2012 season are available by calling the BSO Subscription Office at 888-266-7575 or online through the BSO’s website ( Single tickets are priced from $20 to $120, with Open Rehearsals priced at $20 each (general admission). Regular-season Boston Symphony Orchestra concerts on Tuesday and Thursday evenings are priced from $30 to $110; Friday afternoons are priced from $30 to $105; concerts on Friday and Saturday evenings are priced from $32 to $120. Tickets may be purchased by phone through SymphonyCharge (617-266-1200 or 888-266-1200), online through the BSO’s website (, or in person at the Symphony Hall Box Office (301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston). There is a $6.25 service fee for all tickets purchased online or by phone through SymphonyCharge.