Early music specialist Laurence Cummings leads the Gothenburg Opera in Orpheus & Eurydice
The British conductor and harpsichordist Laurence Cummings is back in Sweden – During this spring he will be leading the Gothenburg Opera in a new and rarely performed production of Christoph Willibald Gluck’s Orpheus & Eurydice with opening on 8 February. On 13 February Laurence Cummings will also be visiting the Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra where he is going to lead Handel’s 4th Concerto for Organ from the organ!
Laurence Cummings has emerged as one of his generation's leading baroque-era experts, at home in both opera house and concert halls. He has been Artistic Director of the London Handel Festival since 1999 and of the Internationale Händel-Festpiele Göttingen since 2012.
Question: The Gothenburg Opera will be the first opera house in the world to use the new source-evaluation edition of the Parma version of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Tell us something about it!
Answer: It is very exciting to be performing the new Bärenreiter critical edition of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. It is a very beautiful and interesting version. The main difference is that the main role of Orfeo is transposed into soprano range (originally a castrato). This means the famous aria 'Che farò' is in E flat major ending on high A flats really showing Orfeo's emotional state. It is also written as one act which makes for a very intense and condensed operatic experience.
Q: You have been visiting the Gothenburg Opera before, with the Handel operas Julius Caesar and Alcina. When you work with baroque opera at the established opera houses, to what extent do you have the opportunity to lead the work to an authentic performance?
A: I don't like the term 'authentic' as it implies a historical authority that is not possible for mere mortals to achieve! However I love working with the opera orchestra in Gothenburg. They are so open to exploring historical ideas; phrasing, bowing, early tunings and rhetorical principles. I find modern orchestras very receptive in general but the orchestra it Gothenburg Opera are particularly enthusiastic.
Q: Which are the main differences in working with classically trained musicians and baroque musicians?
A: Whilst there are obvious differences in the training we are all musicians when it comes down to performing. The old treatises tell us that our duty is to move the soul of the listener. Whether using baroque or modern bows, single keyed or Bohm system oboes we must reach out to the audience and allow them to appreciate this beautiful music.
While leading the Gothenburg Opera’s Orpheus & Eurydice Laurence Cummings will this season also be conducting Arianna in Creta at the London Handel Festival. He will conduct the English Concert in March, and is returning to Casa da Musica in April before starting at the Goettingen Festival, where he conducts Faramondo and Joshua amongst other repertoire.
Photo by Sheila Rock
Christian Juslin is having great success in the title-role of Verdi’s Don Carlos in a new production at Theater Chemnitz. The opening was held on Feb 1 and further performances will take place on Feb 16, March 2, March 9, March 21, April 3, April 13, April 20 and May 4.
Michael Weinius is guest soloist in the Swedish classical music festival Vinterfest in Dalecarlia (Feb 6-9) - according to BBC Music Magazine ”One of Europe’s most enjoyable festivals”. On February 19 Michael can also be heard in a recital at the Stockholm Concert Hall together with soprano Ida Falk Winland.
Maria Fontosh is Tatiana in the NorrlandsOperan Symphony Orchestra’s semi-staged production of Eugen Onegin. The title role is sung by Peter Mattei and Johan Christensson is Triquet. The production is produced in collaboration with the Royal Swedish Opera and will be conducted by Okko Kamu. Performances take place Feb 8-15.
Daniel Hällström is the soloist in the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra's world premiere of Daniel Börtz Sinfonia nr 12. The concert will be conducted by Daniel Blendulf. Stockholm, The Berwald Hall, Feb 15
The Stenhammar Quartet
The Stenhammar Quartet which has been nominated for the Swedish Grammis Award for the cd, STENHAMMAR: STRING QUARTETS, VOLUME 1, will perform at the Stockholm Concert Hall on Feb 15
On February 20 Daniel Hope will be the soloist in Max Bruch’s Violin Concerto nr 1 together with the Danish National Symphony Orchestra. Daniel Hope’s cd "Spheres" is one of the 6 Nominees for the "P2 Prize" (Danish National Radio's Annual Record Prize.) The 6 CDs of the Year have been selected by the Danish Radio. The winner is selected by the public.
Mika and Agneta Eichenholz
Mika Eichenholz will conduct the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra (Finland) in a program with material from Händel Operas on February 20. Agneta Eichenholz is the soprano soloist.
Svenska Konsertbyrån AB (The Swedish Concert Bureau) in Stockholm is one of northern Europe's leading artist management agencies within the field of classical music.