Two of the Big Ones... Europe - Summer Festivals Part V

Undoubtedly two of the biggest summer festivals in Europe are the BBC Proms in London and the Salzburg Festival - normally I am trying to somehow get to some of the performances at both places as both have a very special but quite different atmosphere and approach, i.e. the perfect mix for my festival summer!
This year I would probably have to divide myself in half as both have so many HELLO STAGErs at the beginning of their programs. One PROM I really really wanted to go and see, I have already missed: The concert performance of the Royal Opera House production of Boris Godunov at the Proms. Not only is Bryn Terfel my hero (I know…) but I so wished to go and see Vlada Borovko shine. She is a HELLO STAGE veteran and it was fantastic to follow her journey from being a finalist of the 2014 Eva Marton Opera Singing competition at the Liszt Academie in Budapest and her roles at the Kazan Opera Theatre to moving to London last summer - and of course this amazing first year at the Young Artist Programme at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden! It would have been lovely to hear her at the Albert Hall - and I am sure, I would have agreed with the critic who wrote “ … and Vlada Borovko’s Xenia, the only female role in this version, whose warm soprano was given too little to sing.“ (Source: Bachtrack.com)

Our founding member Gabriela Montero is coming with the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra as part of the Prom’s focus on Latin America in the year of the Olympic Games. However, she has prepared a piece from the northern hemisphere and will perform the Grieg piano concerto with them under the baton of Marin Alsop. A day prior to this performance you can join Gabi in the Elgar Room of the Royal Albert Hall to explore her wonderful world of improvisations.

Guy Johnston is appearing twice at the PROMS as well - he is creating a cello feast in the Cadogan Hall, gathering 11 distinguished colleagues around him (plus the soprano Golda Schutz for Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5) next week. The multi-Cello theme continues when he invited all cellists from age 14-21 onwards to join him at an open session at the Elgar Room on Aug 9th (first come first serve!)

A few years back the Salzburg Festival started the Overture spirituelle adding another week to the festival schedule. This is year HELLO STAGE members are coming out in force in that week. The Chamber Orchestra of Europe is performing Haydn’s Creation to open the festivities - the performance is lead by no other than Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Two days later the RIAS Kammerchor is presenting Händel’s Belshazzar together with the Academia Byzantine and a wonderful cast of singers.

After a very busy season founding member Tenor Steve Davislim is joining „the cast“ of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony in memoriam of Nikolaus Harnoncourt with Andrés Orozco-Estrada conducting the Concentus Musicus Wien.

The Camerata Salzburg is of course part of the Overture spirituelle and is performing Mozart's c minor Mass in the Stiftskirche St Peter. Like every summer, both local orchestras play a vibrant and important role in the festival. The Camerata too can be heard with Lionel Bringer, Yuja Wang and Roger Norrington. The Mozarteum Orchestra is not only performing their traditional series of Mozart Matinees but also the rarely heard Schrattenbach Requiem by Johann Michael Haydn!

Certainly a highlight for us is three founding members coming together for some very special chamber music: Martin Grubinger is joint by Ferhan & Ferzan Önder, Martin Grubinger senior and Alexander Georgiev. They will also be performing the Sonata for two pianos and Percussion by Bartok as well as music by Steve Reich, Tan Du and Fazil Say. They are also taking this summer programme to the festivals in Montepellier, Bremen and Schloss Elmau. After that Martin is off to Beijing, Lucerne, Berlin, Zürich, Munich and Lahti - so Salzburg must feel like a very welcome break as he lives just round the corner.

In the first summer festival blog we covered programs for young singers, but I left out Salzburg’s Young Singer’s Project to save it for today as it certainly is one of the Rolls-Royces of programs. I have been trying to go every year and always the audience is stacked with colleagues from opera houses, concert halls and managements. This year the Neue Stimmen prize winner Miriam Albano and Hungarian Mezzo Silvia Vörös are part of the gang; like a few years ago when Valda Wilson was a big part of the program. Valda, who is back to her homeland Australia, will be a very active part of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music this summer.

Bettina Mehne manages the relationships with Artists, Ensembles, their Managements as well as Promoters on HELLO STAGE. She toured Orchestras around the world, worked for London and Germany based Managements, took care of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen as their Artistic Manager and headed the Artistic Planning at the Wiener Konzerthaus for six seasons. Follow Bettina on Twitter - you can also always reach out to her at bettina [at] hellostage.com

Foto of the Proms courtesy of Robert Garbolinski (the heart and soul of the LSO Choir in London)
Author: Bettina Mehne
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