Daniel Hope: “Escape to Paradise" is now released at Deutsche Grammophon
Daniel Hope is the creator with a never-ceasing stream of ideas, always willing to break new musical ground. Only recently Daniel Hope released his new album, Escape to Paradise, featuring among others Sting, Max Raabe, the Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra and members of the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin. It tells the story of the European composers who escaped the Nazis and ended up in Hollywood, helping to create the Hollywood Sound. It includes music by Kurt Weill and Korngold among others. The album includes several beloved film classics such as Casablanca, Ben Hur and Schindler’s List.
Question: “Escape to Paradise” is a very personal album for you. In what way?
Answer: Both Escape and Exile are central to my DNA: my grandparents escaped Hitler from Berlin and lived in exile in South Africa; my parents escaped South African apartheid and moved to Great Britain. I have long been fascinated by the Hollywood Sound, and where it came from. I decided to trace that journey, from its beginnings, which I believe to be fin de siècle Europe, through the music of the 20s and 30s and then into the birth of spoken film. But the album also looks at 3 composers of today, whom I believe have a strong connection to those émigré composers. The album examines the theme of escape, the first stage of exile. And Hollywood represented the quintessence of escape – on many levels.
Q: You have shown intense devotion to themes like escape, exile and persecution. One example of this is your tour with the concert programme “Theresienstadt” together with Ann-Sofie von Otter and Bengt Forsberg, playing music by composers who were killed in Nazi Germany’s concentration camps. Can you tell us about your big project “Tu was!”?
A: On November 9th 2008 I decided to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of "Kristallnacht" with a benefit concert in Berlin. We converted the former Tempelhof Airport into a concert hall and brought together friends and colleagues to make a stand against racism and promote tolerance, which we called "Tu was!" or “Do Something!”. Since then the project has lived on in different guises. On November 9 2013, Berlin sent a united message to the world from the Brandenburg Gate: “Never again!” Statements, short films, and mobile phone clips were projected onto the Brandenburg Gate for an audience of 12,000 people to see and hear. The ceremony recalled those years which destroyed diversity, remembering those who were excluded, persecuted, and had their livelihoods destroyed during the Nazi pogroms. The ceremony also emphasized what diversity means in today’s world, where exclusion and discrimination still exist.
Q: There seem to be no limits to your creativity when it comes to relating classical music to widely different fields such as history, drama, orientalism, philosophy. The album “Spheres” from 2013 contemplates aspects of time, astronomy and infinity. Where do you get all your ideas from? Please tell us also about upcoming projects.
A: I am someone who thinks a long time before actually realizing an idea. "Spheres" had been in my head since I was a child, sometimes it takes years of thought and research. Right now I am in Moscow where I will give the Russian première of Gabriel Prokofiev's Violin Concerto, entitled "1914". We premiered it at the PROMS in July, and now we are returning to Gabriel's grandfather's (Sergei Prokofiev) home, Vladimir Jurowski will conduct. I am also very excited about an evening I am producing for Carnegie Hall on October 28. Called "A Distant Drum" it will be a unique production of music-theatre, joining forces with my father, Christopher Hope, one of South African’s most eminent novelists. “A Distant Drum” tells the story of Nat Nakasa, a brilliant, irreverent spirit of his generation, who left behind South Africa’s Apartheid of the 1960s, for New York. Nakasa was a young writer who heard a different music and marched to a distant drum. German Jazz musician, Ralf Schmid composed the score and we are joined by an amazing group of musicians including drummer Jason Marsalis.
Last summer Daniel Hope was the first classical music artist to visit the festival Way out West in Gothenburg. He played Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons “Recomposed” by Max Richter with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra. After the concert the album immediately shot up to 10th place on the iTunes General Album Charts in Sweden! In 2007 Daniel Hope signed an exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon.
Photo Copyright: Margaret Malandruccolo / DG
Mats Rondin will visit Algeria as conductor, cello soloist and chamber musician at Festival Culturel International de Musique Symphonique Alger 12 – 19 Sept. This season Mats will lead the musical Dr Zjivago at Malmö Opera starting on 7 Sept.
Michael Weinius recently had a great success together with Ann Hallenberg, Miah Persson and Petri Lindroos in Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra and The Swedish Radio Choir under the baton of Kent Nagano.
After a busy summer with a premiere and performances of J. Offenbach's Opéra bouffe "La Vie Parisienne" at the Operetta Festival Langenlois/Austria, conductor Andreas Stoehr will return to Sweden, opening the new concert season of the Västerås Sinfonietta on the 11th of September. Together with violinist Karen Gomyo he will perform Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major, a work by Swedish composer Mats Larsson Gothe ("The Apotheosis of the Dance") and Beethoven's Symphony No.7.
Cornelia Beskow will sing the role of the maid Marianne Leitmetzer, as The Royal Danish Opera opens with Der Rosenkavalier on 12 Sept. Cornelia is currently holder of the Swedish Wagner Society’s Bayreuth scholarship.
Maria Fontosh is a soloist in Hector Berlioz’ languorous work Les nuits d’été, when Okko Kamu leads Norrbotten’s Chamber Orchestra on a tour of the very north of Sweden 18-21 Sept. After this Maria starts rehearsing the role of Dona Elvira, which she will sing at the Royal Opera in Stockholm in October and November.
Karolina Andersson will sing the Queen of the Night, when Komische Oper Berlin visits St. Pölten on 27 and 28 Sept.
Christian Juslin makes his first appearance in the role of the prisoner Florestan in Theater Bonn’s production of Beethoven’s opera Fidelio. Starting on 28 Sept., performances go on until 5 May 2015.
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.