Lang Lang and Brian Cox lead star-studded MSO 2019 season
Two more of the orchestra’s popular film concerts bookend the season, starting with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in early February and ending with Star Wars: Return of the Jedi in November.
The Chinese New Year concert, East Meets West, now in its seventh year, is again led by composer and conductor Tan Dun, who brings with him Hanggai, a troupe of “traditional-meets-rock” musicians from Mongolia who employ such instruments as the horse-hair fiddle and two-stringed lute.
Among the exciting soloists joining the orchestra are violinists Viktoria Mullova, playing Sibelius in August; Vadim Gluzman, playing Tchaikovsky in July; expatriate Australian Ray Chen, playing Mendelssohn in October; and Lu Siqing, playing Bruch’s first concerto in the MSO season opener in March.
Davis concludes his half-decade pilgrimage through the Mahler symphonies with the 10th (completed by Deryck Cooke after the composer’s death), also in March, interspersed with readings from letters between Mahler and his wife, Alma.
The MSO Chorus is called into action for two of the greatest Requiems, both dramatic and sublime, by Verdi (April) and Mozart (June), as well as for Handel’s Messiah, reorchestrated by Davis in his final concert on December 7 and 8.
“My sole aim was to clothe the work with all the colours available from a modern orchestra,” Davis said, using such instruments as alto flute, oboe d’amore, harp, marimba and sleigh bells.
“I’m very proud of it, and I’m extremely happy that it will be the last thing we do together [with me] as chief conductor.”
The opera concert performance for 2019 is Engelbert Humperdinck’s charming Hansel and Gretel, conducted by Davis in late November with mezzo Elizabeth DeShong as Hansel and soprano Laura Wilde as Gretel.
Other intriguing offerings include a double bill of Stravinsky ballets, the anarchic Rite of Spring and Persephone, a collaboration with dancers from the Australian Ballet School, plus a double clarinet concert in which the great British soloist Michael Collins plays the much-loved Mozart concerto, then conducts MSO composer in residence Paul Dean in his own new clarinet concerto.